New Honoree Named for Legal Aid Bureau Awards Luncheon

The Honorable David Coar (Ret.) is the new honoree for the Legal Aid Bureau’s Equal Access to Justice Awards Luncheon, taking place Thursday, Oct. 6, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., at the Palmer House in Chicago.

The original nominee, Judge Ann Claire Williams, is supportive of the work of the Legal Aid Bureau of Metropolitan Family Services and other legal aid organizations, but as a sitting Federal Judge, she does not participate in, or have any involvement with fund raising for any organization. For that reason, Judge Williams will be unable to be the LAB honoree.

Judge Coar started his career in 1970 as a Carnegie Foundation Intern with the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund in Alabama where he later practiced for several years. He has traveled extensively to consult on judicial and economic issues and participated in educational programs for foreign judges in the United States and overseas. He was appointed to the U.S. Northern District Court of Illinois in 1994 where his ability to handle complex legal issues and excellent judicial demeanor were highly praised by the bar. Judge Coar has also served on the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, and was an Associate Dean and professor at DePaul University College of Law. He currently serves as a resolution expert with JAMS Arbitration, Mediation and ADR Services and is active in a number of civic and community groups, including the Boys & Girls Clubs where he serves on the Board of Directors.

The Legal Aid Bureau of Metropolitan Family Services, which helped pioneer the movement for equal access to justice, is celebrating 125 years of helping victims of domestic violence, the poor, immigrants and the elderly with vital legal services. The organization will celebrate this historic milestone at this year’s luncheon.

As the second oldest agency of its kind in the nation, the Legal Aid Bureau became a model for legal assistance organizations that exist across the country to this day. With a rich and storied history that includes notable figures such as Clarence Darrow, Jane Addams, John G. Shedd, and others, the Legal Aid Bureau has been pivotal in Chicago’s legal reform history:

  • Created the first law school clinic program at the Northwestern School of Law with Jane Addams and United Charities (former name of Metropolitan Family Services)
  • Helped pass the first child protection laws in Illinois
  • Helped found the Chicago Municipal Court system
  • Established the Mandel Clinic at the University of Chicago Law School
  • Helped draft and pass the Illinois Domestic Violence Act
  • Last year, the Legal Aid Bureau aided more than 7,000 low-income clients in Cook County. The staff of 21, along with 143 pro bono attorneys and interns, provided more than 6,000 hours of legal assistance.
  • The Legal Aid Bureau would like to extend a special thank you to all the generous sponsors of this year’s Awards Luncheon.

To purchase tickets for the luncheon or for additional information about the Legal Aid Bureau, click here.

About Metropolitan Family Services
Metropolitan Family Services is a human services agency with a passion for strengthening families by providing them with expert guidance and a broad array of problem-solving tools to help them overcome the challenges they face.

With seven centers throughout Chicago and the suburbs, Metropolitan is one of the area’s most established and experienced human-services providers. We are recognized as a collaborative partner in each of our communities and as a leader in our use of metrics to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of our programs.