Alan Alop has spent all 39 years of his legal career representing the most vulnerable and disadvantaged in our community. After graduating from the University of Chicago Law School in 1971, he left Chicago. But six years later, the draw of his beloved Cubs was too great, and he returned to run the Pilsen office of the Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago (LAF). Later, Alan went to LAF’s main office to head the Consumer Law Team. In addition to becoming a nationally known consumer law guru, Alan assumed a leadership role at LAF in 1995 when he became one of LAF’s Deputy Directors.
Alan sees a problem, develops a plan, collaborates with others and implements a solution. Then, he shares that knowledge freely. For example, on the issue of not-for–profit hospitals charging indigent patients two to three times what they charged insured patients, Alan forged alliances, used the media, developed a strategy for bringing claims, and brought suit. With a grant from the CBF, he then developed LAF’s Medical Debt Relief Project, staffed by law students, and in the Project’s first year, persuaded hospitals to write-off a million dollars in hospital charges. Then he wrote the definitive primer on hospital collection cases, which is used by legal aid attorneys nationwide. His consumer law expertise also extends to payday loans, used car sales and many other issues impacting low-income people.
With his low key collegial style, Alan has shared his way of working and legal knowledge with the LAF attorneys he has mentored as well as the broader Chicago legal aid community who feel free to seek out his expertise. Alan's dedication to his clients, the attorneys he mentors and his lifelong commitment to ensuring equal access to justice make him a most deserving recipient of the 2008 Thomas H. Morsch Public Service Award.