Elizabeth Berrones-Rotchford was awarded the inaugural Kimball R. and Karen Gatsis Anderson Public Interest Law Fellowship at the 2003 Chicago Bar Foundation Pro Bono and Public Service Awards Luncheon.
Berrones-Rotchford was a Dean’s List graduate of DePaul University College of Law. As an academically successful attorney Berrones-Rotchford could have easily chosen to pursue offers from large high-paying law firms that would have ensured a very comfortable life for her and her son. Instead, this single mother chose the long hours, full caseloads and low salary of a public interest position. “I was raised to become a public interest lawyer,” says Berrones-Rotchford, “growing up in a largely blue collar Chicago suburb I saw people being taken advantage of because they were ignorant of the law, or could not speak English. I saw a need for a strong voice and found that the law is powerful instrument in seeking justice.”
At the time she received the Anderson Fellowship, Berrones-Rotchford was the Director of the Cabrini Green Legal Aid Clinic’s (CGLA) Family Law Program, and handled over 100 family law cases every year. The cases ranged from divorce proceedings to custody disputes, and often were difficult legal battles. In the fall of 2004, she began employment at DuPage Bar Legal Aid Service. Following the Anderson Fellowship she joined a small family practice law where she remains and regularly engages in pro bono work.