Former U.S. Attorneys Patrick Fitzgerald and Scott R. Lassar Share Insights on Current Legal Issues

Event raises more than $203,000 for legal services benefiting low-income Chicago-area families.

Two of Illinois’ greatest prosecutors – former U.S. Attorneys Pat Fitzgerald and Scott Lassar – shared insights and perspective with more than 350 members of Chicago’s legal community at the Equal Access to Justice Luncheon, presented by the Legal Aid Society (LAS) of Metropolitan Family Services on Wed., October 16, 2013 and held at the Palmer House in Chicago.

Fitzgerald and Lassar – in a conversation moderated by Pat Collins, former Assistant U.S. Attorney and current LAS Board Member, touched on their transition to private practice, the impact of the sequester on the criminal justice system, and the murder rate/gang violence in Chicago. Comments ranged from Fitzgerald touching on the lack of hope and educational opportunities that help fuel violence – and the need for long-term solutions – to Lassar commenting that it’s “easy to avoid politics at the U.S. Attorney’s office” – an interesting note in light of how drastically political differences have affected the country in recent times.

More than $203,000 was raised at the event, which will help fund legal services provided to thousands of low-income families and individuals by Metropolitan’s Legal Aid Society.

Event honorees included Kelly McNamara Corley, Executive Vice President, General Counsel at Discover Financial Services, who received the William H. Avery Equal Access to Justice Award. Corley heads a legal department of nearly 100 attorneys, paralegals and staff which maintains a 65 percent participation rate in its pro bono program.

The Avery Award was established by the Legal Aid Society in 1985 in memory of William H. Avery, former partner of Sidley Austin LLP, who served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of both the Legal Aid Society Board and of Metropolitan Family Services, and chair of the Legal Services Committee of the Chicago Bar Association. The award recognizes attorneys who have made outstanding contributions to the legal aid community and to providing legal serves to those who can’t afford an attorney.

About the Legal Aid Society of Metropolitan Family Services
The Legal Aid Society of Metropolitan Family Services (LAS) pioneered the concept of equal access to justice more than 125 years ago. LAS provides critical legal services to low-income families in the Chicago area, protecting them in cases of domestic violence, elder abuse, housing and consumer issues. Today LAS serves more than 7,000 families and individuals each year.

LAS is part of Metropolitan Family Services, which has been empowering Chicago-area families to reach their greatest potential and positively impact their communities since 1857.

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