In February 2020, the Illinois Supreme Court instituted a pro bono initiative to significantly reduce the statewide backlog of criminal appeals pending with the Office of the State Appellate Defender (OSAD). The Court recognizes that the expeditious resolution of criminal appeals is vital to an equitable justice system. “People vs. Smith” is not just a case, but a human being who is awaiting their day to be heard in court. The result of lingering appeals disproportionally affects people of color and indigent defendants, and the impact is profound – it comes at a tremendous cost to incarcerated individuals, their families, and communities. This pro bono program was created because the Illinois Supreme Court fundamentally believes that the administration of justice must not be delayed due to backlogs in the system.
The Illinois Supreme Court needs your assistance in making an impact. They are asking for your firm to participate in the Illinois Supreme Court’s Volunteer Pro Bono Program for Criminal Appeals. Attorneys can volunteer if they meet the following eligibility requirements:
- Admitted to practice law in Illinois or admitted pro hac vice for at least five years
- No ARDC disciplinary action
- Up-to-date malpractice insurance, and
- Have at least two prior appearances as appellate counsel or have clerked for a reviewing court judge.
Attorneys who do not meet eligibility requirements can still participate under the supervision of an eligible attorney or by completing a 5-week training course.
Additional information about the program, eligibility criteria, the program application and a link to the online training course is available on the Illinois Supreme Court’s Website here.