Blog Archive


Chris Furuya posted a blog on Dec 12, 2011

CLC Wins Case Against Background Check Company


The Chicago Lawyers’ Committee recently won a Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) case against a background check company, Infotrack Information Services, Inc.  The suit charged that Infotrack recklessly reported criminal background information without checking basic information – without checking whether birthdates, race information, or middle initials matched – and as a consequence falsely reported that individuals had heinous records as sex offenders.  Rather than contest the suit, Infotrack immediately paid $35,000 to settle the case, satisfying all relief the individual plaintiff could possibly recover under FCRA.  Attorney Chris Wilmes of Hughes Socol Piers Resnick & Dym led the case.

Chris Furuya posted a blog on Dec 9, 2011

CLC to Represent Students at Expulsion Hearings : TRAINING ON JANUARY 11, 2012


The Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights is starting a new pro bono program to represent students at school expulsion hearings.  On January 11, 2012, from 9:30 a.m. to noon, the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee will offer an orientation and training session for lawyers who may be interested in representing students at these hearings.

Work on these cases offers excellent litigation experience, presenting the opportunity to interview and develop a working relationship with the client, investigate and develop the case, and conduct a trial-type administrative hearing with an independent hearing officer, presenting direct testimony, cross-examination of  witnesses, and opening and closing statements.  This is excellent litigation opportunity for lawyers who do not routinely get courtroom trial experience. 

These are short term commitments, typically requiring between 15 and 25 hours of work, completed over a period of three to six weeks. Pro bono lawyers who take on these cases will receive continuing assistance from the Lawyers’ Committee, form documents, and instruction materials. 

Representation of students at expulsion hearings will meet a crucial public need.  Expulsions in the Chicago Public School system are high and increasing at an alarming rate.  There were 775 expulsions in 2008, up from 172 eleven years earlier, in 1997.  Being expelled will often have devastating effects. Once expelled, students are likely to drop out. Without a high school diploma, in this economy, they have almost no chance of finding a job – they risk a ruined life of poverty.  Expelled students are at high risk for gang activity and future incarceration.  Representation at expulsion hearings is an important effort that can be made to break the school-to-prison pipeline.

In addition, school expulsion data show a problem of significant racial disparities.  In 2006, African-American students made up 48.5% of CPS’s students without disabilities, but they received 80.5% of the student expulsions.  The African-American expulsion rate was six times the rate of expulsions for whites.  These disparities are increasing.  According to Catalyst, more than 60% of expelled students in 2008 were black boys, up from 53% five years ago.  Representation of African-American students at expulsion hearings is likely to produce more equitable outcomes, reducing the level of racial disparity. 

To find out about representing students in these hearings and receive training, lawyers are invited to the orientation and training session on:

Wednesday, January 11, 2012  9:30 a.m. – noon

Held at:  Schiff Hardin, LLP

66th Fl. Conference room

233 South Wacker Dr.

The Lawyers’ Committee expects to be able to provide CLE credit for attendance.

If you plan to attend, please notify Paul Strauss at the Lawyers’ Committee by sending an e-mail to or by phoning (312) 630-9744 ext. 229.  Questions should also be directed to Paul Strauss.

Chris Furuya posted a blog on Dec 8, 2011

355th Choose to Own Closing

On Thursday, December 8 The Law Project's Home Ownership Program celebrated its 355th Choose to Own closing. With this closing, we have exceeded our 2011 goal of 30 CHA closing, marking our 31st closing this year. The purchase price on this home was $192,000 for 5 bedrooms, and the home is located in zip code 60651, which has a 16.27% poverty rate.

Special thanks to Marlene Corral from the Spanish Coalition, Cheryl Wiesneth of PNC Mortgage, and Mark Graham, volunteer attorney, for helping this happen.

Clara Kent posted a blog on Dec 1, 2011

Welcome Adama Wiltshire to CLC Staff!


CLC welcomes Adama Wiltshire, who will be the Development Associate and Executive Assistant. Prior to attending the University of Chicago, Adama interned at the Trinidad and Tobago National Commission for UNESCO, where she initiated the first major fundraising and development program for UNESCO clubs in the Caribbean country. She previously worked at CLC as a Civil Rights Intern.

Chris Furuya posted a blog on Dec 1, 2011

CLC welcomes Adama Wiltshire

Adama Wiltshire begins her volunteer work at the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee as a Civil Rights Intern.


Chris Furuya posted a blog on Nov 17, 2011

DRW Trading Company grants $10,000 to CLC

On October 3, 2011, the DRW Trading Group Foundation made a grant of $10,000 to the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law to support the Hate Crimes Project. The Hate Crimes Project, previously the Project to Combat Bias Violence, is the only comprehensive resource center on hate crime prevention and response in the Midwestern United States.

The DRW Trading Group had been interested in making a donation to support an anti-hate crime organization, and was impressed by the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee’s work. In January of 2011, we successfully won $1.44 million in damages on behalf of three African-American men who were brutally beaten by a mob of white men in a racially motivated and unprovoked attack. Two other cases are currently in process. In one, college students racially taunted and showed a noose to their African-American schoolmates. In another, neighbors targeted an African-American family for harassment, including painting threatening racial messages on their garage door.

The Chicago Lawyers’ Committee is grateful to the DRW Trading Group Foundation for their generous gift, and looks forward to working with them in the upcoming year.

Chris Furuya posted a blog on Oct 19, 2011

GOODS FOR THE GOOD: Annual Fundraiser for TLP


Save the Date for TLP’s Annual Fundraiser

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Newberry Library
60 W. Walton St. – Chicago, IL  60610

directions/parking info


This year, we are kicking off TLP’s Goods For The Good! Please join us and get an early start on your holiday shopping! We will be in a new location with great company, great food and shopping! Celebrating our volunteers’ and clients’ good work, TLP’s Goods For The Good will feature a holiday bazaar showcasing products made by our clients and other nonprofits with social enterprises and small businesses.


Chris Furuya posted a blog on Oct 14, 2011

Kyle Palazzolo, Winner of Albert Jenner Pro Bono Award, Presents CLCCRUL with $5,000 Gift

On October 13, 2011, Kyle A. Palazzolo, a 3rd year attorney at Jenner and Block, presented the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law with a $5,000 check, awarded in conjunction with his receipt of the Albert Jenner Pro Bono Award. This Award annually recognizes those attorneys at the Firm who have been nominated by their peers as having demonstrated an exemplary commitment to pro bono or public service work, particularly those who do an exceptional amount of pro bono work on top of their full billable load.


At a lunch with CLC Executive Director Jay Readey, Mr. Palazzolo mentioned that he wished to honor the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee because of Albert Jenner’s ties with the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee. Jenner was a member and a co-chair of the national Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, an affiliate of the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee. Jenner became a Board member for the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee in 1969, our founding year.


Kyle A. Palazzolo is a member of Jenner and Block’s Litigation Department. In 2007, he graduated cum laude from the University of Michigan Law School, where he  served as an Executive Editor for the Journal of Race & Law, and as a student attorney with the clinical law program.  Mr. Palazzolo has previous experience with the ACLU of Southern California, and has completed a PILI fellowship with the Roger Baldwin Foundation/ACLU of Illinois.

Chris Furuya posted a blog on Sep 26, 2011

Civil Rights for Job Applicants Denied Employment Because of Old Criminal Record

The Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights is concerned about employers' refusal to hire job applicants because of criminal convictions from long in the past and the harsh impact that practice may have on African-American and Latino job applicants.  People who have convictions that are at least seven years old and who have been denied employment because of their criminal record in the last 300 days should contact the Lawyers' Committee to discuss the possibility of bringing a civil rights lawsuit challenging the practice. Contact Paul Strauss, via phone (312) 630-9744 ext. 229, or e-mail

Chris Furuya posted a blog on Sep 9, 2011

Hiring steps for firefighter applicants in Lewis v. Chicago case.

The next steps in hiring class members in the Lewis v. Chicago firefighters case are going forward.  Lewis is a race discrimination case involving the discriminatory use of an unjustified cut-off score in a test given in 1995 for hiring Chicago firefighters.  As a result of the case, 111 African-American class members will be hired as firefighters.  To move forward in hiring those class members, the City will mail notice to class members, asking them if they want to be considered for the firefighter job.  That mailing is expected to go out on September 12, 2011.  Class members who are interested in the job will be asked to return postcards stating that they want a chance to be selected for the job.


Class members who are not hired will receive a share of the damages awarded in the case.  The amount of those damages has not yet been calculated.


Further information about the case is available at the website or by calling Paul Strauss at the Lawyers’ Committee at (312) 630-9744 ext. 229.