Illinois Legal Aid Online has chosen Nada Abu-Isa of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom to be its May 2011 Pro Bono Volunteer of the Month. The Law Project nominated her for this honor. Nada is an exceptional volunteer because she has represented clients in nearly every program of The Law Project, and she actively mentors junior associates in nonprofit pro bono matters placed by The Law Project at her firm. To see the video, visit www.illinoisprobono.org.
Chicago, Illinois, April 28, 2011-- The Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Inc. welcomed Debra Walker Johnson to its team as Director of Development and External Affairs on April 11, 2011.
“Debra brings exceptional experience with a long career in program leadership, development and fundraising, events, publicity and media relations. She brings a complete skill set that should significantly bolster our work here at the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee”, said Executive Director Jay Readey.
With more than 20 years of experience in marketing, communications, coalition building and nonprofit fundraising and management, Ms. Walker Johnson has successfully designed and implemented programs to serve disenfranchised individuals, as well as secured funding to support them. Most recently, she served as the Vice President of Marketing and Development for National Able Network, Inc., where she was responsible for the development and growth of the organization’s private and public sector fundraising programs and all marketing, media relations and advocacy efforts. From 2002-2005 she served as Executive Director of CTCNet Chicago. Under her leadership, the organization advocated for and won passage of the IL Digital Literacy Act, to provide funding for digital literacy and tech access for Illinois’ underserved communities. She has also served as the Director of Community Initiatives for Women Employed and prior to that as the Director of the Employment & Training Program for Southwest Women Working Together.
Ms. Walker Johnson is currently a member of the Chicago Jobs Council Board and is the past president of Illinois Women Work! She has also been a member of the City of Chicago’s Community Development Advisory Committee and the Economic Development subcommittee, the Governor’s Commission on the Status of Women in Illinois, the Statewide Non-traditional Leadership Team, Daley College’s Advisory Board, the Beverly Area Planning Association’s Public Education Committee, and Leadership Illinois.
Debra Walker Johnson received her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Roosevelt University and a Certificate from John Marshall Law School’s Community Law Program for Social Workers.
About the Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Inc.
The Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Inc. is the public interest law consortium of Chicago's leading law firms. From nineteen firms in 1969, the Committee has grown to forty-five member firms today. Throughout its 41-year history, Chicago Lawyers’ Committee has championed civil rights and equal opportunity for poor, disadvantaged, minority and other marginalized populations. The principal mission of the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice under law, particularly in the areas of fair housing and fair lending, community development, employment discrimination, hate crimes, voting, education and environmental justice.
Chicago, Illinois, April 28, 2011-- The Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Inc., announces the addition of J. Cunyon Gordon to its team as Director of the Pro Se Litigants’ Settlement Assistance Program on April 12, 2011. Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Inc. is the public interest law consortium of Chicago's leading law firms. From nineteen firms in 1969, the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee has grown to forty-five member firms today. Throughout its 41-year history, Chicago Lawyers’ Committee has championed civil rights and equal opportunity for poor, disadvantaged, minority and other marginalized populations. Through its Pro Se Litigants’ Settlement Assistance Program (SAP), which began in 2006, Chicago Lawyers’ Committee provides volunteer attorneys to help pro se litigants settle discrimination and prisoner civil rights cases filed in the Federal District Court in Chicago. If the cases do not settle, the District Court allows the volunteer to withdraw from representation. Since its inception, SAP volunteers have settled nearly 75% of about 200 cases.
Ms. Gordon was an early volunteer with SAP, taking two cases in 2007, while Of Counsel at Eimer Stahl Klevorn & Solberg LLP, a member firm. As SAP Director, she will now evaluate cases and potential clients, recruit volunteer attorneys, match them to cases, and represent litigants in cases in which she is unable to find a match.
“We are excited that Cunyon has joined the team”, said Jay Readey, Chicago Lawyers’ Committee Executive Director. “Her extensive legal experience and relationship with private practice will prove to be a significant asset in her civil rights litigation work at Chicago Lawyers’ Committee.”
The addition of Ms. Gordon will increase the Committee’s capacity to handle a greater volume of cases. Ms. Gordon hopes to increase the case capacity of the Settlement Assistance Program by training more lawyers in settlement of civil rights cases and by offering lawyers from mid-size and smaller law firms the opportunity to participate, a benefit heretofore enjoyed primarily by the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee member firms. “I believed in this Program from the start,” said Cunyon. “It works on many levels: relieving the burden on the federal courts by early settlement of what could be protracted litigation; assisting the litigants to vindicate their rights in a system that confuses and intimidates many of them; and adding to the ability of the private bar to serve the public in a meaningful way.”
An accomplished attorney and experienced litigator, Ms. Gordon’s legal career spans 25 years. In addition to Eimer Stahl, Ms. Gordon was a civil litigator at member firm Jenner & Block LLP for ten years, where she earned the distinction of being the first black woman to make partner at the then 75-year old firm. Cunyon has also served as an attorney with the U. S. Navy JAG office, and was a Distinguished Visiting Professor for the Boston University School of Law and Visiting Professor for Seattle University School of Law. She is deeply familiar with pro bono culture, and has working relationships with many of Chicago’s large law firm pro bono partners and managers.
Cunyon Gordon has been a board member of Access Living for over fifteen years, and served as the CLE chair for the Chicago Bar Association for two years. Cunyon attended Yale College and earned her JD from Yale Law School.
Civil Rights Fellow Jessica Schneider has been hired as a Staff Attorney and Intake Specialist at the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee. She will work with the Fair Housing Program, where she will counsel with volunteer attorneys on housing discrimination cases both in court and at administration agencies. She will assist in fighting housing discrimination and securing housing for the clients. Jessica joined CLC as a Civil Rights Fellow on January 1, 2011.