Margaret (Meg) Benson is the Executive Director of CVLS (Chicago Volunteer Legal Services). Meg joined CVLS in 1982, became Deputy Directory in 1983 and Executive Director in 2003. In addition to overseeing program management and fundraising, she coordinates bench, bar association and law firm relations, writes a bimonthly column on pro bono for the Chicago Lawyer and continues to represent CVLS clients with contested family, minor guardianship and guardian ad litem cases. Contemporaries describe her as “half sales representative, half First Sergeant, half mentor (three halves are possible for one who gives one hundred and fifty percent).”
After receiving the 2001 Morsch award, Meg did not rest on her laurels. In 2005, she served as the Chair of the inaugural CBA/CBF Pro Bono Week and continues to serve on that committee. More recently in 2010, in response to the increased number of unemployed new attorneys and unmet legal needs of many, Meg led CVLS to undertake “Thunderdome,” a cooperative venture with CARPLS and the CBF. The “Thunderdome Clinics” provide training and supervision to newly admitted and inexperienced attorneys and divorce assistance to low income individuals who otherwise would not receive help with their divorces. Additionally, with her extensive background in family law, Meg frequently speaks on minor guardianship and pro bono issues for continuing legal education programs, locally and nationally.
Additional honors include the Illinois State Bar Association's Board of Governors Award (2007), Lawyers Trust Fund of Illinois Esther Rothstein Award (1999), and Loyola University School of Law's Public Service Award (1994).