Each year, the Chicago Bar Foundation awards the Thomas H. Morsch Public Service Award, an honor given to longtime legal aid and public interest attorneys. The Award was established to recognize and reward exemplary lawyers who choose public service work as a career. CARPLS' own Pat Wrona is the 2022 recipient of this prestigious Chicago Bar Foundation annual award.
As CARPLS Director of Legal Services, Pat supports our 50 person staff in thirteen practice areas, through CARPLS’ hotlines, advice desks, and statewide projects, providing over 80,000 legal consultations a year. Over the past 15 years, with Pat’s guidance, CARPLS has become a national leader in legal service delivery innovation.
Pat is an expert in employment law, so when the pandemic created the largest number of unemployed workers in Illinois history, Pat monitored the ever-changing unemployment landscape and assisted many clients facing job insecurity. Pat created BennyFits Illinois, an unemployment virtual assistant which has helped thousands navigate the unemployment process.
As the “front door” of legal aid, Pat ensured that CARPLS transitioned seamlessly to a virtual model, finding creative ways to provide needed services. With Pat’s leadership, CARPLS has expanded services further, with the CCLAHD/ERP, COVID HELP Illinois and New Leaf Illinois projects, bringing critical help to many. Pat manifests CARPLS’ core mission: that no one should face a legal problem alone.
Pat is the embodiment of helping others; someone who shows commitment and understanding with her diligence, resourcefulness, humility, and good humor. Congrats to Pat!