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Attorneys Address Legal Needs of Low-Income Chicagoans at Legal Prep Community Law Clinic
October 17, 2017

CHICAGO—Attorneys at intellectual property law firm Brinks Gilson & Lione spend much of their day parsing complex technology in patents, examining the nuances of trademark infringement, or helping authors, publishers, and even artists with their copyrights. But on October 17, 2017, six of Brinks Gilson & Lione's more than 100 attorneys in Chicago helped people in the local community address landlord/tenant disputes, wrangles over contracts, and family law issues.

The six attorneys—Erik M. Bokar, Judy K. He, Brad Lane, Daniel Parrish, Andrea L. Shoffstall, and Theresa L. Starck—were volunteers for the Legal Prep Community Law Clinic, a monthly pro bono event hosted by the Public Interest Law Initiative’s (PILI) Alumni Network in conjunction with Chicago Volunteer Legal Services (CVLS).

The CVLS program refers to volunteer lawyers at Brinks those individuals who it believes eligible for pro bono representation. The Brinks attorneys interviewed five potential clients to learn what legal issues they faced and consider whether they had viable cases.

“This is the third year Brinks Gilson & Lione has been engaged with the Community Law Clinic, with the goal of helping people of lesser means in Chicago access legal services that otherwise would not be affordable," said Brinks shareholder Brad Lane, who is vice chair of the firm’s pro bono committee and currently serves as president of PILI’s board.

"But Brinks has a long tradition of helping individuals, families, and communities in need receive legal assistance here in Chicago," adds Lane, "as we do in all the communities across the US where we have offices, and it's gratifying to see our younger attorneys continuing to uphold that tradition.”

Along with its office in Chicago—the firm's largest, Brinks has offices in Ann Arbor, Mich.; Indianapolis, Ind.; Research Triangle Park, N.C.; Salt Lake City; Tampa, Fla., and Washington, D.C.

Every year for more than a decade, Lane notes, PILI has named Brinks to its annual Pro Bono Recognition Roster, recognizing the firm’s ongoing efforts to make a difference in the lives of low-income and underrepresented Illinoisans by offering them legal assistance for free. PILI’s mission is to cultivate a lifelong commitment to public interest law, and to increase the number of law students and lawyers working to make equal access to justice a reality.

Brinks’ participation in the Legal Prep Community Law Clinic took place a week before the Chicago Bar Association and the Chicago Bar Foundation’s 13th Annual Pro Bono Week and the American Bar Association’s 8th Annual National Celebration of Pro Bono.

The Legal Prep Community Law Clinic was held at Legal Prep Charter Academy, an open-enrollment, legal-themed charter high school in Chicago’s West Garfield Park neighborhood. Brinks is also a sponsor of Legal Prep Charter Academy. More information is at http://pili.org/alumni/legal-prep-community-law-clinic.

Brinks Gilson & Lione

Celebrating its centennial year in 2017, Brinks Gilson & Lione is one of the largest intellectual property law firms in the US, and helps clients around the world to protect and enforce their intellectual property rights. Brinks Gilson & Lione’s more than 140 lawyers, patent agents and scientific advisors assist clients in all aspects of patent, trademark, unfair competition, trade secret, and copyright law. Brinks attorneys provide informed counsel with respect to innovations in a range of complex and valuable technologies, including pharmaceuticals, chemicals, bioengineering, industrial manufacturing, electronics and software, and medical devices. More information is at www.brinksgilson.com.