For the past decade, Coordinated Advice & Referral Program for Legal Services (CARPLS) has played the role of “superman” to those in desperate need of legal help in the Chicago area. As Cook County’s legal assistance Hotline, CARPLS staff and volunteers have come to the rescue of millions of low-income families that have nowhere else to turn for legal advice. It is hard to believe that just ten years ago, CARPLS original staff huddled around one phone to observe its very first hotline call! In honor of its 10th Anniversary, CARPLS will host a Silent Auction and Golden Gavel Awards ceremony for all of its “superheroes”, those who have greatly impacted the CARPLS cause, while raising funds for the continuing growth of CARPLS services.
CARPLS was created in response to the findings of the Illinois Legal Needs Study conducted in 1989, which stressed the need for a streamlining of the legal aid delivery system. The CARPLS hotline provides a fast, cost-effective way for low-income individuals to find the best legal help possible in what can be a confusing and frustrating maze of legal services. In the past ten years, CARPLS has provided 130,523 legal advice and referral services to 88,388 low-income clients in Cook County, handling situations ranging from domestic violence and child support to consumer fraud and employment discrimination.
The 10th Anniversary Silent Auction and Awards ceremony will take place on Tuesday, May 13, 2003 at the Northern Trust Building, 50 South LaSalle St. in Chicago, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The CARPLS superheroes will be unveiled in time for the highly anticipated event, at which 250-300 attendees are expected. CARPLS hopes to raise around $80,000, and the night will include hors d’oeuvres, beverages, entertainment, a silent auction and the Golden Gavel Awards ceremony.
Two special awards will also be given at this years’ anniversary celebration. The first is the "Ralph A.Gabric Award" to recognize lifetime achievement. This award is being given in memory of past board member Gabric, a great friend of CARPLS and one of its biggest supporters over the years. The committee has decided to honor Ruth Ann Schmitt, the Executive Director of the Lawyers Trust Fund. Also, CARPLS Executive Director Leslie Corbett, who has dedicated herself to the CARPLS mission from the very beginning, will be leaving to pursue a position at the Chicago Bar Association. In honor of her tireless work, she will be presented with a Golden Gavel Award.
The Golden Gavel Awards are presented each year to individuals, law firms or corporations that make significant contributions to further the mission of CARPLS. The event committee and Board of Directors select honorees for their dedication to providing legal services to those in critical need of but unable to afford legal representation. Honorees have committed their time and energy to CARPLS and its clients. Last years’ recipients were Thomas Clancy of Sidley Austin Brown and Wood, and Exelon Company. This year, as in previous years, the event seeks to give Golden Gavel Award recipients the public recognition they deserve for their generous efforts, and to celebrate CARPLS success over the past 10 years.
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