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In-House Pro Bono Partnerships: Civil Asset Forfeiture Defense Project



Content Partner:  Pro Bono Institute
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Description: This program will feature an in-depth look at the pro bono partnership between United Airlines’ Legal Department, Cabrini Green Legal Aid (CGLA), and Seyfarth Shaw LLP, to help low-income individuals recover vehicles and other assets wrongfully seized by the police. As in a number of U.S. jurisdictions, police in Chicago are authorized to seize property that they suspect has been used in connection with criminal activity.  People seeking to recover their vehicles were not only required to prove their innocence but also to prove that the property was exempt from seizure. Due to the advocacy efforts of this partnership project, the law was changed in July 2018 to place the burden on the government to show that the property is subject to seizure. United Airlines, CGLA, and Seyfarth Shaw’s project exemplifies a pro bono partnership that has made a holistic impact on the Chicago community, from directly providing pro bono representation, to helping reform civil asset forfeiture laws, to crafting statewide standardized forms to improve the process of recovering seized property.
 
Speakers:
 
Cynthia Cornelius, Assistant Director of Legal Programs, Cabrini Green Legal Aid
 
Cynthia Cornelius serves as the Assistant Director of Legal Programs at Cabrini Green Legal Aid (CGLA), where she assists individuals who are experiencing direct and collateral consequences of their involvement in the criminal justice system.  She has worked at CGLA in some capacity since law school, first as an intern, then as an Equal Justice Works Fellow, later as Director of Client and Community Services, and now in her current role, through which she supervises attorneys in the oversight and management of the Criminal Records Unit and supports all CGLA legal programs.  Over the years, Cynthia has helped countless individuals expunge or seal their criminal records or otherwise obtain the certificates necessary to remove barriers to employment and other basic rights so they can get a second chance and move forward in their lives.  In addition, through her fellowship, Cynthia designed and implemented Criminal Records Corps, a project providing criminal records services to individuals who are homeless or at risk of homelessness through social service agencies in Chicago.  This innovative partnership model of service delivery was so successful that CGLA has integrated it into its general intake process, which has resulted in an increased number of clients served.   
 
Prior to joining CGLA, Cynthia worked at the Georgia Public Service Commission, where she had her first taste of being a public servant and first exposure to the practice of law.  This motivated her to return to law school in her fifties with the goal of becoming a public interest attorney. Cynthia attended Loyola University Chicago School of Law, where she received a public interest certificate and numerous awards.  In recognition of her accomplishments, she was selected to receive Loyola’s prestigious Norman C. Amaker Award of Excellence. As a result of her extraordinary efforts and accomplishments advocating for low-income individuals, Cynthia was awarded a Chicago Bar Foundation Sun-Times Public Interest Fellowship in 2015.
 
Steven Fus, Associate General Counsel, United Airlines, Inc.
 
Steve Fus is Associate General Counsel at United Airlines, Inc. Steve has served as in-house counsel for United Airlines since 1997, where he currently manages and practices in the areas of Environmental, Health & Safety, International, Alliances and Regulatory.  Steve is the founding chair of United Airlines’ Legal Department pro bono and community service program and is very active in all of the department’s pro bono activities.
 
Steve serves as Chairman of the governing board of Cabrini Green Legal Aid and as the Treasurer of the Chicago Bar Foundation.  In 2012, he received the Chicago Bar Association and Chicago Bar Foundation Exelon Outstanding Corporate Counsel Award in recognition for his pro bono work.
 
Steve received his JD from Golden Gate University School of Law and his BS from Florida International University.
 
Allegra Nethery, Partner, Seyfarth Shaw LLP
 
Allegra is a partner with Seyfarth Shaw LLP. As the firm’s full-time Pro Bono and Philanthropy Partner, Allegra directs Seyfarth Shaw’s global pro bono program, identifying opportunities for the firm’s attorneys to volunteer their legal services, working with legal aid organizations to address legal needs of low-income individuals and community groups, and partnering with corporate clients on joint pro bono projects. In addition, Allegra oversees the firm’s community service activities and manages the Seyfarth Shaw Charitable Foundation, through which attorneys and staff can request donations to qualified organizations on behalf of the firm. She works closely with the firm’s attorneys and staff to identify regional and national community service and charitable giving opportunities in order to provide the greatest possible benefit to the communities in which Seyfarth does business and the greatest possible support of the volunteer efforts of the firm’s attorneys and staff.
 
Allegra is a graduate of University of Virginia School of Law and the University of Chicago.

NOT AVAILABLE FOR CLE


Practice Areas:
Online Media Type: Audio
Production Date: 01/24/2019
Level: Intermediate
Category: Standard
Duration: 1 Hours, 4 Minutes
Online Format: On Demand

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Speakers:
Cynthia Cornelius - Assistant Director of Legal Programs, Cabrini Green Legal Aid
Steven Fus - Associate General Counsel, United Airlines, Inc
Allegra Nethery - Partner, Seyfarth Shaw LLP
This product is designed to provide information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is sold with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional service. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought.


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