Frances B. Corwin was one of the most trusted and treasured members of Chicago's pro bono and legal aid community. In a career spanning more than six decades, she devoted her life to providing legal assistance to clients through her work at the Legal Aid Bureau of Metropolitan Family Services. Corwin joined the legal field when women were having a hard enough time trying to break into the business world as assistants and secretaries. Where others saw obstacles, Corwin saw opportunity. She graduated from the University of Chicago Law School in 1940 as one of only three women in her class. To quote one of her admirers, "the most extraordinary thing about Frances Corwin is the fact that she believes she is ordinary."
A lifetime member of The Chicago Bar Association and the Women's Bar Foundation, this pioneering spirit worked with the Cook County Circuit Court to establish its mediation service. In 1991 she was awarded the Lawyer's Trust Fund Annual Award for 27 years of tireless representation on behalf of the poor, and in 2005 she was awarded the Samuel S. Berger Award by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, which is given to attorneys and judges who "exemplify the highest standards of integrity, courtesy, knowledge of family law and an extraordinary ability to solve human problems." Then she continued to handle custody and visitation issues until the tender age of 93. Corwin was an exceptional lawyer who chose to dedicate her career to public interest and helping the most vulnerable in our community.
Ms. Corwin died on February 1, 2011. She was a remarkable attorney, a wonderful colleague and a valued friend to many.