To kick off The Chicago Bar Foundation’s new major gifts and planned giving program, in 2003, CBF President-Elect Kimball Anderson and his wife Karen set an extraordinary precedent for others in the legal community with a $100,000 gift, which they doubled in 2005. Their donation created a 10-year public interest law fellowship to honor and assist one outstanding law school graduate per year who has elected to work in the field of public interest law.
The annual award assists dedicated law school graduates with repayment of their law school debts, which month-to-month often exceed their rent or mortgage payments. In recent years, the combination of skyrocketing debt and very modest public interest and legal aid salaries has created an untenable dynamic where an alarming number of law school students cannot even consider a career in public interest law.
The couple saw this difficulty as an opportunity to give back to the community in a way that attacks the problem while inspiring others. The CBF first awarded the fellowship in 2003 and now awards a single $50,000 fellowship each year to an individual who demonstrates the following:
1) A commitment to public interest work,
2) Academic excellence in law school, and
3) Outstanding character and integrity.
Fellowship funds are awarded in ten installments of $5,000 over five years contingent on continued compliance with the terms of the fellowship.