Through a generous $2 million cy pres
award from a case involving the Chicago Sun-Times, The Chicago Bar Foundation (CBF) created The Chicago Bar Foundation Sun-Times Public Interest Law Fellowship Program. First awarded in 2007, the CBF awards five annual fellowships of up to $50,000 payable over five years per fellowship to individual legal aid or public interest law attorneys who meet the eligibility criteria and demonstrate the following:
1) A commitment to public interest work,
2) Academic achievement in law school, and
3) Outstanding character and integrity.
The Sun-Times Fellowship addresses a crisis facing lawyers in our community who are finding that a career in legal aid and public interest law is simply untenable from an economic standpoint. Lawyers graduating today have an average of more than $100,000 in law school debt, while starting salaries in the legal aid and public interest law field average only $43,000. (For additional information on this issue, see the study, Investing in Justice: A Framework for Effective Recruitment and Retention of Legal Aid Attorneys in Illinois
These fellowships will ultimately provide significant loan repayment assistance to at least 50 outstanding recent law school graduates who have chosen to pursue careers in legal aid or public interest law at a CBF-funded organization or at a qualifying legal organization serving other parts of Illinois.