At Novack and Macey, pro bono work and social responsibility are essential aspects of our legal practice. In the past three years, Novack and Macey attorneys have logged nearly 7,500 hours of pro bono time– over 90 hours per full-time attorney per year. Thus, the firm substantially exceeds the guidelines of ABA Model Rule 6.1: “A lawyer should aspire to render at least (50) hours of pro bono publico legal services per year.”
Throughout our 30-plus year history, we have dedicated countless hours to pro bono work. As attorneys, we have the unique ability to give more than just donations; we can share our time and professional know-how.
Recent examples are pro bono referrals we have accepted from LAF (formerly the Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago), such as representation of students in special education cases, by attorneys including Pro Bono Coordinator Steve Siegel, Courtney Tedrowe, Shelby Drury, Julie Johnston-Ahlen, Rebekah Parker and Pro Bono Co-Coordinator Alex Berg. Shelby was honored in 2014 and 2015 as a “Volunteer of the Year” by the LAF Education Pro Bono Project for her ongoing representation of two students, third and fifth grade siblings, fighting to get special education services at a Chicago Public School.
Tim Miller worked on a pro bono matter for a mental health patient. Attorneys including Steve Novack, Steve Siegel, Michael Weinberg, Mitch Marinello, Josh Liebman, Julie Johnston-Ahlen, Rebekah Parker and Elizabeth Wolicki have represented former prisoners in civil rights lawsuits in federal court.
Novack and Macey attorneys strive to make a difference in the community in the following areas:
Courtney Tedrowe is Chairman of the Lawndale Christian Legal Center’s Advisory Board. The Center provides legal services to low-income youth from Chicago’s Lawndale neighborhood. Chris Moore has supported the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. Eric Macey is a member of the Chicago Bar Foundation (CBF) Abraham Lincoln Circle of Justice, a prestigious group of lawyers, judges and other legal professionals who support the long-term sustainability of the CBF’s mission.
The firm also supports efforts to improve the justice system. Steve Siegel serves in the leadership of the ABA Section of Litigation and is a chair of the Section of Litigation’s Commercial and Business Litigation Committee. Steve also serves on the Administration of Justice and Tort Reform Advisory Committee of the Chicago Council of Lawyers, a bar association dedicated to legal reform.
Mitch Marinello supports The News Literacy Project, an innovative national education program that equips middle school and high school students with the tools to be smart, active consumers of news and information and engaged, informed citizens. He also volunteers for the Vis International Moot Competition at Loyola University (Chicago) Law School, judging practice rounds and moot court arguments involving international law. He is on the Board of Resolution Systems Institute which strives to strengthen justice by enhancing court alternative dispute resolution systems.
Alex Berg is a member of the Tufts University Alumni Interview Association. He interviews Chicago-area students who have applied to Tufts’s undergraduate program. Alex then prepares reports for the university’s admissions office to use in the student selection process. Mitch Marinello volunteers in a similar capacity for Weslyan University and is his class secretary. Michael Weinberg is a member of the Board of the University of Michigan Club of Greater Chicago and co-chairman of its Scholarship Committee.
Eric Macey has long been active with The Posse Foundation in Chicago, having served as its Chairman and as a member of its National Board. The Posse Foundation identifies public high school students with extraordinary academic and leadership potential who may be overlooked by traditional college selection processes, placing them in supportive teams — “Posses”–of ten students. The Foundation’s partner universities award Posse Scholars four-year, full-tuition leadership scholarships.
Don Tarkington has served as a member of the Board of Education for the Evanston/Skokie Consolidated School District 65 where he chaired the finance committee. He was co-chairman of the District 65 Referendum Committee and is a Past President of the District 65 Educational Foundation.
HUNGER, HOMELESSNESS AND HEALTH CARE
To help combat hunger in our community, Eric Macey and Steve Siegel volunteer at A Just Harvest, a food pantry and community development organization located in Rogers Park. Andrew Campbell volunteers at The Greater Chicago Food Depository and has been a Director of Sarah’s Circle, a not-for-profit drop-in shelter for homeless women in Chicago.
P. Andrew Fleming is a member of The Order of Malta, a humanitarian organization founded in 1113 as a lay religious order of the Roman Catholic Church. The Order is dedicated to the care of the sick and the poor. Andrew volunteers every month at a soup kitchen the Order operates at a church in Chicago’s Uptown area. He also devotes significant time to Mission Outreach, a warehouse facility near Midway Airport that sorts and packs medical supplies donated by local hospitals and distributes them worldwide to those in need.
The well-being of residents in our city and surrounding communities is important at Novack and Macey. Don Tarkington serves on the Board of Directors for the McGaw YMCA in Evanston. Josh Liebman volunteers for the Jewish Community Centers of Chicago (JCC) as a member of the organization’s Camp Chi Alumni Committee. Josh also was a member of the Jewish Council for Youth Services’ (JCYS) Board of Directors. John Shonkwiler has served on the Board of Directors of Chicago Lights, a community outreach organization that serves children, youth and adults through tutoring, arts education, job training, basic assistance and health care.
Brian Cohen is a member of the Evanston School Children’s Clothing Association, an all-volunteer organization where he serves as the Director of Grants. Eileen Boyle is a tutor with Heartland Alliance’s Refugee and Immigrant Community Services.
The firm also supports the community’s cultural life. Mitch Marinello is a volunteer for the Canzonetta Youth String Chamber Orchestra in Evanston and supports the American Blues Theatre. Monte Mann has served on the Board of Directors of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Evening Associates which is committed to raising awareness of the art and resources of the Art Institute and raising funds for audience development.
Rebekah Parker is a Board member of the Next Generation Society and a member of the Lawyers’ Committee, both of which support the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. She is also a member of the Harvard Law School Women’s Alliance of Chicago and the Chicago Council of Lawyers, a public interest bar association.
As a firm, Novack and Macey gives to various legal and community nonprofits. The American Cancer Society, Inc., Urban Initiatives, Illinois Legal Aid Online, LAF (Legal Assistance Foundation), Chicago Lights, CJE SeniorLife, The Chicago Bar Foundation, the Jewish United Fund, and Women Employed are just a few of the organizations that Novack and Macey regularly supports. Novack and Macey also has joined the Jeans for Wishes Campaign, inviting employees to wear jeans in exchange for a donation to Make-A-Wish Illinois. The donations are used to make dreams come true for Illinois children living with life-threatening medical conditions. The firm has been a sponsor of the Music of the Baroque.
Novack and Macey supports the annual Investing in Justice Campaign of the Chicago Bar Foundation (CBF). The CBF awarded 100% of the campaign proceeds in grants to 40 pro bono and legal aid organizations in the Chicago area. In addition, the firm contributes to the Judicial Internship Opportunity Program of the American Bar Association Section of Litigation. This program allows students to work with judges, gain practical experience in our judicial system and enhance their professional and writing skills.
For more information about the firm and current pro bono, charitable and community endeavors, please call Steve Siegel or Alex Berg at (312) 419-6900.