Young Leaders' Network

The Young Leaders’ Network (YLN) launched in the aftermath of the alarming rhetoric of the November 2016 election cycle. Capitalizing on the increased interest in protecting and promoting civil rights, Chicago Lawyers’ Committee formed YLN to help young lawyers and young leaders in other fields connect, learn, and act.


YLN is an interdisciplinary space for young leaders across fields and sectors to network, build relationships, and nurture shared values underlying civil rights, including fairness, race equity, economic opportunity, dignity, respect, and community empowerment.


YLN provides opportunities to learn about the history of the U.S. civil rights movement and how it links to contemporary civil rights issues in our city, state, and nation. Through interactions with Chicago Lawyers’ Committee staff, board, and partner organizations, YLN members gain a deeper understanding of civil rights laws and the current threats to roll them back in education, housing, voting rights, criminal justice, and community economic development.


Self-organized by its members, YLN supports the mission of Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights by creating opportunities for young leaders to act through pro bono legal work to assist the organization’s clients and fundraising events to support Chicago Lawyers’ Committee. YLN also hosts public educational events that include community activists and leaders from a broad range of disciplines, and develops concrete resources to support communities most impacted by poverty and racial inequity.

YLN Public Events

YLN’s first activity was hosting an On the Table event on May 16, 2017 at Currency Café on the South Side of Chicago. Nearly 30 individuals – including community organizers, lawyers, bankers, architects, public health professionals, and educators – gathered to discuss The Racialization of Violence. To build on this event, YLN will host a quarterly series of Crucial Conversations over the next year that explores Big Questions related to root causes of violence, and develops concrete resources to support community-based leaders that are working on solutions.