Community Outreach


On November 19, 2019 American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers  presented CVLS executive director Margaret Benson, and Deputy Director Phil Mohr with a check from the AAML’s National Foundation to further support our Child Representative Program.

Tens of thousands of pro bono attorneys have provided high quality free legal services to low-income Chicagoans through CVLS since 1964. Last year alone, CVLS volunteer attorneys handled more than 3,000 cases for Chicago area clients for free. More than 2/3 of those cases involved litigation in the Circuit Court of Cook County.

Included in those numbers are 300 children that had attorneys for their custody cases, thanks to CVLS’ Child Representative Program. Domestic Relations judges appoint CVLS to serve as Child Reps in nearly two hundred cases every year. Thanks to this program, children from poor families have their own attorneys to advocate for their best interests in court and with their families. This program gives these children a voice.

Illinois Chapter President Thomas J. Kasper presented Pam Kostecki, Executive  Director of the Crisis Center for South Suburbia, with a $5,000 donation on behalf of the Illinois Fellows on November 29, 2018.

Their contribution supports the Crisis Center’s mission to provide emergency shelter and other essential services for individuals and families victimized by domestic violence and to address the societal issues that contribute to domestic violence.

Joining them was the Center’s Grants Coordinator  Laura Parker, Board President Tom McCarty  and Director of Development Lorri Nagle.

The AAML Foundation awarded a $5,000 grant to SHALVA, the oldest Jewish domestic abuse agency in the United States. 

An integral part of the Illinois Chapter’s mission is supporting not-for-profit organizations and initiatives by professional associations which build bridges between family lawyers and the public. The Chapter is committed to increasing understanding of—and access to—family law.

Charitable support

The Illinois Chapter has contributed tens of thousands of dollars to the AAML Foundation and other charitable groups.  Organizations benefitting from these donations include:

  • The Association of Family and Conciliation Courts
  • Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center
  • Chicago Volunteer Legal Services
  • Crisis Center for South Suburbia
  • Food for the Poor
  • WINGS Program, Inc.

Timely advocacy

The Illinois Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers recently opposed Illinois HB 4113 by stating the bill takes away the court’s ability to judge what is appropriate for each family on an individual basis.

If passed, HB 4113 would create an equal parenting time presumption in all Illinois cases for the dissolution of marriage and parentage. The bill would be particularly devastating for children in homes with domestic violence and other forms of abuse. It also makes it more difficult for poor parents, who are concerned about protecting their children from an abusive parent, because they cannot afford the cost of legal representation.