Hotline Number 312-738-9200
August 2019 Newsletter
A 12% increase over FY18!
It's thanks to you...
...that we are closer to reaching our vision of One Justice Chicago , to provide anyone with a legal need access to an attorney consultation through CARPLS. Remember that:

  • 85 cents of every dollar we raise goes to client services
  • We handle 25% of legal aid cases in Cook County
  • 2/3 of our clients had never spoken to an attorney prior to calling us
  • 93% of our clients would refer us to a friend


If you would like to receive a print copy of our 2018 annual report , please email nnesmith@carpls.org .
Our Client Lettera Shares Her Story
"CARPLS gives you the right and proper tools, but it's up to you to use those tools to better your situation."

For more on Lettera's inspirational story,


< Lettera speaking at our annual Golden Gavel Celebration gala
What's Coming Next for CARPLS?
Everything we do at CARPLS is for our clients, each and every one. For fiscal year 2020, we have made a commitment to big data, and we want to make sure that we never lose the critical, personal relationship between attorney and client.

What does this mean?

By leveraging technology, we free up our lawyers to work more closely with clients all while increasing the efficiency of our services.

This year, we are embarking on an exciting new project with data scientists to harness our immense data base from the last 26 years. With this analysis, CARPLS will be able to better help clients with their current problems, prevent legal problems before they happen, predict legal needs, address gaps in service resources, and further help underserved communities.

If we can treat issues early, the entire legal aid system will benefit. At the end of the day, this helps our clients and their communities, and that's why we do what we do.
Everyday Justice Blog:
Sexual Assault Crisis Advocacy
by Mary Flynn, Staff Attorney at CARPLS

I became a sexual assault crisis advocate five years ago as a way to utilize my social work skills directly on behalf of survivors. Because I have learned so much from doing this work, I want to share the impact you can have on survivors, as well as the complexities of this often challenging, but fulfilling volunteer opportunity.

As a volunteer first responder with a local rape crisis center, I have spent many evenings and overnight sessions counseling and assisting sexual assault victims at any of the eight various hospitals in the western suburbs as often as four night shifts a month. Since I’m meeting people on what is often the worst day of their life, I try to help them overcome any feelings of guilt or shame, as no one deserves to experience this trauma. The 40-hours of volunteer training I received in this area has proven invaluable as I guide victims through the challenges they face at that moment in the hospital and beyond.

In Her Shoes

As part of the training, we play a game called  In Her Shoes . You role play as a sexual assault survivor and randomly choose a card that describes the survivor’s personal situation—all of which are based upon real circumstances. You quickly understand that survivors come from every walk of life.

The survivor has to make choices: get help, do nothing, or do something more specific. As the game progresses, the choices become more difficult. The cards reveal setbacks survivors suffer, such as the hospital being short staffed or (in my character’s case) needing to leave to pick up one’s children.
By the end of the exercise, I had a very good understanding of the complicated nature of the decisions that survivors face, and the deficiencies in the current medical and legal systems.
My Typical Shift

I usually begin my weekly shifts at 5 p.m. on Friday evenings until 9 a.m. on Saturday mornings. I am on call for any of the eight hospitals within a 15-mile radius. Some nights no survivors come to the hospitals, and other nights I may be out at a hospital on one call with a seriously injured survivor when another call comes in at a different hospital several miles away.


A Referral For A Client In Need
A client was experiencing domestic violence and needed help . The client had been in the U.S. for over five years on a student visa, but it expired. In the last year, her husband started threatening to take away their U.S.-born daughter, and frequently brought up her precarious immigration status.

After he became violent with her one night, she decided to obtain an order of protection and called CARPLS. Our attorneys advised her in safeguarding herself and her daughter, and referred her to a trusted community partner for representation in her petition for citizenship.
The Consumer Fairness Act Signed!
We are so proud to have stood alongside Governor J.B. Pritzker as he signed the Consumer Fairness Act, a bipartisan effort which will reduce the post-judgment interest rate from 9% to 5% on consumer debt under $25,000.

CARPLS Supervising Attorney Ashlee Highland, who runs our Consumer Collection Desk, was instrumental In working on the bill, and spent many hours trying to improve this consumer law. 

“I am extremely proud of my work on the Consumer Fairness Act, because I have seen numerous clients struggling to pay back consumer judgments at an extremely high interest rate. It was an honor to work on the solution to that problem with a coalition of talented individuals.”

-Ashlee Highland, CARPLS Supervising Attorney
CARPLS | 17 N. State Street | Suite 1850 | Chicago | Illinois | 60602 | www.carpls.org

CARPLS Hotline: 312-738-9200 IL-AFLAN Hotline : 855-452-3526