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One Justice Chicago
Leonard J. Schrager: A Lifetime of Achievement
Leonard (left) accepts the CARPLS 2011 Ralph A. Gabric Lifetime Achievement Award from Lester Munson.
As a last nod to our 25th anniversary, we wanted to feature one of Al Schwartz’s (CARPLS Executive Director) heroes and mentors—Leonard Schrager.

Leonard’s incomparable legal career spans over 50 years as a practicing lawyer, law professor, law school dean, mediator, arbitrator, and active participant in the legal profession. For the last 20+ years, he has been a luminary in legal aid for his empathy and kindness to others.
Striving to do good and well

As far back as he could remember, Leonard always wanted to be a lawyer. “I just thought they were great people,” he said.

Despite this, he initially studied business at Northwestern University and became a Certified Public Accountant. He practiced accounting for a short while, and in 1956 enrolled in the Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law. When Leonard graduated, he served in the military for six months, worked as an accountant again, and eventually joined a law firm.

In 1963, he became partner, the same year Lowell Sachnoff joined the firm that came to be known as Sachnoff Schrager Jones and Weaver, which after several additional name changes merged into Reed Smith LLP.

“[When I met him], Leonard said a law firm should not be just a money-making machine,” said Lowell, senior counsel at Reed Smith. “It should strive to do both good and well. Well in order to be financially stable. Good because law is a profession. [Leonard believed] that lawyers should use their skills and experience to do good in the community besides doing well for our clients. When I graduated from law school, our Dean said the same thing to us. To hear that from a young lawyer like Leonard gave me a comfort level that this was the right firm for me.”

Open Doors

Austin Hirsch, a partner in Reed Smith’s Global Corporate Group, had a similar experience. Nearly 50 years after he was hired by Leonard as a summer associate, he remains at the same firm.

Leonard always had a knack for seeing open doors, and he extended that to others. When Austin was still a summer associate, Leonard encouraged him to go on a date with a friend’s daughter. “And he ended up introducing me to my wife Beth. Leonard and his wife Joyce have always been a special part of our lives. So Leonard is not only responsible for my professional career, he is also responsible for my personal happiness.”

This closeness extended into their work life as well. “One of the reasons I accepted the position was because I observed a bridge game that was going on at five in the afternoon with some eventual colleagues,” said Austin. “It was a culture that took time to get to know each other, respected each other, and that had a lot to do with Leonard.”


For the full story, read our Everyday Justice Blog post.
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EVERYDAY JUSTICE BLOG
In-Depth Series: Joye Williams
The CARPLS IN-DEPTH SERIES will explore dedicated people within the Chicago-area legal
aid community. This inaugural post takes a look
at someone who lives her life in service to others.
Joye is a woman with a vision to better the lives
of female veterans, senior citizens, and people in need of mental health services. 


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Joye Williams is a force to be reckoned with—though she cringes at any grandiose description of herself.

A Waukegan resident, Joye works as an ombudsman in the Public Benefits Practice Group of the Legal Assistance Foundation (LAF), where she protects the rights of residents in assisted living and long-term residential care facilities. She loves helping others and always knew she would be an advocate and community leader.

Her passion for public service stems from a long family tradition of serving others. Joye’s uncle, Rev. Dr. Samuel Woodrow Williams, marched with Martin Luther King, Jr. and was his professor of religion and philosophy at Morehouse College.

“The Bible tells us that ‘to whom much is given much is required.’ [My family] actively live that creed as educators, doctors, lawyers, social workers, nurses, and everyday laborers, and are all active in church and social and civic organizations, including labor unions, fraternal organizations, etc.,” said Joye.
Courtesy of the Atlanta Journal Constitution newspaper. From left in front row: Coretta Scott King, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rev. Dr. Samuel Woodrow Williams, and U.S. Congressman John Lewis. Samuel Woodrow Williams is Joye’s uncle and taught Martin Luther King, Jr. at Morehouse College.

Joye graduated in summer 2018, at the age of 64, with a master’s in legal studies from the University of Illinois-Springfield. Rose Marie Roach, her scholarship donor, and her mother, were by her side.  
Joye established the LAW Scholarship at the College of Lake County, named after her three youngest grandchildren: Legend Arman, Legacy Arsean, and Loyal Andre Williams (each has the initials LAW).
Client Success Story
"Mark" had a legal question regarding parental custody rights, but he wasn't sure who he could talk to. A friend told him to call CARPLS. One of our attorneys answered his question with patience, and when he got off the phone, he felt more confident and assured.

He said, " I feel that you really take care of me and my kids ." 
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CARPLS Hotline: 312-738-9200 IL-AFLAN Hotline : 855-452-3526