Making a Difference

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At Chapman and Cutler, we believe that making a difference also means doing our part to give back to the communities to which we belong. Through our ongoing commitment to pro bono and diversity, new training and mentoring programs, enhanced environmental initiatives, and continued community involvement, we are proud to do our part as involved corporate citizens.

Our Communities

Many of our attorneys volunteer their time, resources, and experience to nonprofit organizations and foundations, from serving on boards to volunteering their time and providing financial support. The types of organizations range widely and include family and child welfare charities, universities, museums, faith-based organizations, international aid organizations, and the arts. In addition, the firm supports a number of organizations, including:

Gads Hill:  The firm has been involved with Gads Hill since 1922 when founding partner Theodore S. Chapman first started supporting the organization. Today, Chapman continues to be a regular supporter of Gads Hill through sponsorship, pro bono, and board activities, as well as the annual holiday gift drive. Chapman partner Dave Crossett serves on the Gads Hill board of directors, and Chapman attorneys also work with Gads Hill on a pro bono basis. In 2011, Gads Hill honored the firm with its Corproate Partner Award. The award is presented each year to a private sector champion that has made a significant impact on the mission and work of Gads Hill Center through funding and volunteerism.

Gilda’s Club: Chapman supports Gilda’s Club Chicago, part of a national organization created in honor of Saturday Night Live cast member Gilda Radner, who died of cancer in 1989. The organization provides free information and support services for adults and children diagnosed with cancer, as well as for their family and friends.  Chapman attorneys and staff volunteer at several events held at the club each year.

Dreams For Kids: Each year, Dreams For Kids organizes activities for disabled children and their families across the US. Chapman attorneys and staff actively participate throughout the year, including the summer recess program which provides opportunities for these children to enjoy water sports, in many cases, for the first time in their lives.

Edgewood Center: The Edgewood Center for Children and Families is one of the oldest charities in the western US, and currently serves more than 5,000 children and families in the San Francisco Bay Area by actively working to mitigate the effects of abuse, neglect, mental illness, and family crises. Our attorneys participate in on-site activities and provide needed supplies for those children in residence. 

Pro Bono

At Chapman and Cutler, we believe that pro bono legal service provides an effective way for lawyers to broaden their legal skills while also supporting the many and varied communities to which we belong. Chapman strongly encourages its attorneys to honor the legal profession’s commitment to justice for all people by volunteering their legal know-how to organizations that serve the public interest and to disadvantaged individuals. We value our relationships with not-for-profit groups, communities, charities, and civic institutions, and we actively seek out and promote opportunities for involvement.


Our attorneys have volunteered with dozens of organizations, fought for many different causes, and helped countless individuals around the world, from neighborhoods across the US to villages in Tanzania. We are currently supporting a variety of organizations and individuals with pro bono legal service, including:

Ladder-Up: Since 2005, Chapman attorneys have volunteered with Ladder-Up to assist working families to prepare their income tax returns and claim tax credits to which they were entitled.  Each Spring, Chapman attorneys volunteer in large numbers for Ladder-Up, and it is one of the fundamental programs in our Pro Bono practice.

Cabrini Green Legal Aid (CGLA): CGLA provides free legal services to low-income Chicagoans in four areas of law: family, housing, criminal records, and criminal defense. Specifically, Chapman has filed numerous clemency petitions with the Illinois Prison Review Board to expunge the criminal records of CGLA clients.

Guardian ad Litem: Under its Guardian ad Litem (GAL) program, Chicago Volunteer Legal Services arranges for the appointment of GALs to minors in guardianship proceedings. As GALs, Chapman attorneys work to ensure that the best interests of the children are represented. They interview all of the parties involved, meet with the children, and investigate the claims of each side through background checks and conferences with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. Once the investigation is complete, attorneys file reports that include their findings and a recommendation to the judge on the disposition of the case.

Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago (NHS): Under the NHS program low-income working families can purchase low-interest mortgage loans, and Chapman has documented and closed many of these transactions in the past few years.

Chicago Community Loan Fund (CCLF): CCLF provides low-cost, flexible financing and hands-on assistance to community development organizations for affordable housing, economic / commercial development, and social service / nonprofit facility initiatives. Chapman attorneys support CCLF with transactional pro bono legal services.

Community Economic Development Law Project (CEDLP): The CEDLP’s Nonprofit Support, Nonprofit Legal Assessment, and Small Business Support programs assist nonprofit organizations and small businesses that stimulate local economic and commercial development, housing development, the delivery of social services, and activities that generally improve the quality of life for people living in poor communities. Chapman attorneys provide general corporate pro bono legal services for CEDLP.

Goodcity: Grassroots neighborhood programs often lack the managerial expertise to run their groups efficiently and productively. Goodcity is a Chicago organization that provides technical assistance and training to local community programs to help them become accountable and sustainable for the long term. Under the guidance of Goodcity, Chapman attorneys provide pro bono legal advice to neighborhood organizations, including assisting those organizations in obtaining 501(c)(3) status.

Gads Hill: A family resource center established in 1898, the Gads Hill Center develops programs that support and empower the economically and educationally disadvantaged residents of Chicago’s Pilsen, Little Village, Back of the Yards, and North Lawndale neighborhoods. Gads Hill offers a wide range of school, children’s, and community services.

TMC Working Development Solutions (TMC): TMC is a nonprofit organization committed to serving start-up and existing businesses through the nine San Francisco Bay Area counties, particularly those businesses owned by low income individuals, women and minorities. TMC provides business loans of between $5,000 and $50,000, business coaching, advising, education and mentoring, referrals to free and low-cost business resources and presentations on access to capital. Chapman attorneys assist TMC in documenting loans to a wide range of micro entrepreneurs - including a gourmet food truck, custom tailor and maker of reusable bamboo utensils.

Lawyers for the Creative Arts (LCA): LCA provides a wide range of legal advice and counsel to artists in a wide range of areas: corporate and general business matters; copyright, trademark, and patents; rights clearance and fair use; contract drafting, review, and negotiation; dispute resolution and litigation; nonprofit formation and tax exemption; and rights of privacy and publicity. Chapman attorneys provide legal counsel in these areas and others for LCA

Global Alliance for Africa (GAA): GAA’s mission is to address the negative impact of the HIV/AIDS pandemic in sub-Saharan Africa, primarily through programs and partnerships designed to economically strengthen families and communities in urban slums and remote rural areas impacted by the virus. These programs enable families whose husbands/fathers have died as a result of HIV/AIDS to be able to support themselves in a sustainable manner. Chapman has provided general counsel legal services to GAA, and advised GAA on its tax exempt status, affiliation with other not-for-profits in the US and Africa, and ownership of real property in Tanzania and Kenya.

Hague Convention on Protection of Children: Steve Frost, a Chapman partner, was appointed as a member of the Uniform Law Commission Drafting Committee on Implementation of the Hague Convention on Protection of Children. This committee focuses on uniform state legislation that will implement the recognition and enforcement provisions of the Hague Convention on Protection of Children. This particular committee was appointed upon confirmation that the US Secretary of State authorized the United States’ signature on the Convention, which happened in October 2010. 

Dreams for Kids: Dreams for Kids empowers at-risk youth and children with disabilities through leadership and community activities. Chapman attorneys not only provide general corporate pro bono services for Dreams for Kids, but also donate time as volunteers for many of their most successful programs.

Practice Green

Chapman is committed to environmental sustainability and champions everyday environmental efforts, including lighting and energy conservation, recycling, low-emitting materials, water use reduction, and green purchasing. Our accomplishments include: 

Sustainability Volunteering. Adopt-a-BeachTM and Friends of the Chicago River Events: For several years, volunteers from Chapman's Chicago office have volunteered their time to clean up 12th Street Beach in partnership with the Alliance for the Great Lakes. The Adopt-a-BeachTM stewardship program promotes a collective responsibility to keep beaches around the Great Lakes clean and safe. In 2016, volunteers participated in a River Action Day in partnership with the Friends of the Chicago River, an advocacy group that has been working to improve the conservation and health of the river for almost 30 years.

Blue Jeans Go Green Recycling Program. In 2015, Chapman held a denim recycling event and collected over 100 pairs of jeans and other denim items. The Blue Jeans Go GreenTM program collects denim throughout the country and recycles it into UltraTouch™ denim insulation. A portion of the insulation is distributed to not-for-profit organizations such as Habitat for Humanity® to build homes in communities in need.

Law Office Climate Challenge. Chapman was recognized from 2010 through 2016 as a partner in the ABA-EPA Law Office Climate Challenge Waste Wise Program after adopting best practices in office paper management, which includes recycling all discarded paper, promoting double-sided printing and successfully transitioning all office paper to 30 percent postconsumer waste recycled paper.

Green Power. Chapman is a 100% Green Power Purchaser with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. We earned the recognition by making green power purchases in renewable energy certificates, which offset the environmental impact associated with the conventional electricity that is generated in our offices. 

Green Office Challenge. Chapman has participated in the Chicago Green Office Challenge, a citywide competition that engages businesses to reduce their environmental impact and ranks them according to Energy Star and LEED criteria. The Challenge is a collaboration between the City of Chicago and ICLEI — Local Governments for Sustainability. In 2012, we became one of only four law firms in the city to achieve Tier 1 status, the highest ranking.