A Chicago Law Firm with Human Interests
Clifford Law Offices upholds numerous community involvement initiatives both in the legal forum as well as with the places and people that resonate with our team. While our foundation as a Chicago law firm has led us to many endeavors in the Midwest, there are circumstances where our resources have served great purpose elsewhere.
Marist High School
Robert A. Clifford, who graduated from Marist High School in 1969, is still very connected to his school. He was named honorary chair of the Mock Trial Club, which aims to provide an educational experience to those interested in pursuing a career in the legal profession. He also sponsors the Marist Law Association’s annual Christmas social and golf outing. Recently, with Bob’s assistance, the group organized a virtual golf outing to benefit current school families, who are experiencing financial hardship related to the pandemic. In addition, Bob and his wife Joan invested in the school’s Faith and the Future campaign, which transformed the Marist Brothers’ Monastery into a 28,000-square-foot science center and planetarium. The forensics crime lab is named in their honor.
RAND Institute for Civil Justice
Robert A. Clifford is one of the Board of Overseers at the RAND Institute for Civil Justice.
According to the RAND website, “[The Board of Overseers] advises the staff on the development of new research projects, consults researchers on issues of impartiality and autonomy in reporting results, and helps to build support for the Institute and its mission.”
The RAND Institute for Civil Justice is focused in making the civil justice system more efficient and more equitable through objective, empirically based, analytic research.
To learn more about the institute, click here.
Lawyers at Clifford Law Offices Meet with Editor/Publisher of Law Bulletin
Robert Clifford speaks to Pat Milhizer, Editor in Chief of the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin and the Chicago Lawyer, and Mike Kramer, publisher of the Law Bulletin Publishing Company, along with a number of lawyers at the firm to discuss issues impacting the reporting of cases and legal events.
Run/Walk To Remember
Clifford Law Offices participates annually in the Run/Walk To Remember hosted by the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation. This annual event raises money for the Mission Beyond the Memorial, which provides assistance to the families of our fallen and catastrophically injured officers.
ABA Day at Illinois Law Schools
Bob Clifford created the notion of ABA (American Bar Association) Day at Illinois law schools as part of the ABA legal community involvement initiative, encouraging law students to join the Association. The first annual ABA Day was held at Northern Illinois University College of Law on Wednesday, April 8th, 2009.
ABA Section of Litigation
Just days after the September 11th tragedy, the then-ABA President Robert Hirshon (2001-2002) appointed Bob Clifford as Chair of the newly-formed Task Force on Terrorism and the Law. During the one-year assignment, Bob commanded the largest section of the ABA, which numbered some 65,000 attorneys from across the country. He advised members of Congress, the Department of Justice, and the Executive Branch of the legal ramifications of the regulations that would impact thousands.
Outside of his duties at his own Chicago law firm, Bob also led a year of critical meetings where these issues were discussed and debated, including a Town Hall Meeting at Faneuil Hall in Boston where the best and the brightest from around the country gathered with moderator Bill Kurtis. The focus was on the sagging public perception of lawyers, a cause that was taken on by the then-President of the ABA, A.P. Carlton (2002-2003). The second part of the Town Hall Meeting was a give-and-take on this issue, which focused on the year-long study Bob personally commissioned on the public perception of lawyers. Leo J. Shapiro & Associates, a national research group based in Chicago, conducted the study.
Cristo Rey High School Student Work Program
For over a decade, Clifford Law Offices sponsors a student and also hires five students each semester part-time and, later as full-time employees at the firm. The academic sponsorship level is the equivalent to the cost of educating one student at a private school for a year. Cristo Rey boasts a 100 percent acceptance rate of its seniors into college. Total enrollment at the school is 400, allowing young people from a struggling community to be able to get a quality education for families who otherwise would not be able to afford it.
CBA Letters to Santa Program
Each Christmas season, Clifford Law Offices participates in the Chicago Bar Association’s Letters to Santa Program, which serves the city’s underprivileged children and families. The staff at the Chicago law firm adopts a classroom, answers letters written to Santa by the boys and girls, and delivers gifts before Christmas so the children can put them under their trees at home. If you would like to “adopt” a family or help distribute letters at your firm, call (312) 554-2032 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
CBA’s Young Lawyers Section Book Donation Drive
The CBA Young Lawyers Section holds an annual book donation drive to help incarcerated children and teenagers. Thousands of children’s paperback books are generously donated for the Nancy B. Jefferson Alternative School Library located at the Cook County Juvenile Detention Center. As part of our commitment to community-wide involvement, the staff at Clifford Law Offices contributes time and several books to this worthy cause.
Lawyers Lend-a-Hand to Youth
As a Board Member of Lawyers Lend-a-Hand to Youth, an attorney from our Chicago law firm helps in deciding where grants are awarded to Chicago-area youth tutoring programs.
Chicago Bar Foundation Reception
In recent years, Joan and Bob Clifford hosted a reception to help raise money for the Chicago Bar Foundation (CBF), the charitable arm of the CBA. The CBF helps low-income and disadvantaged Chicagoans get legal information and assistance through pro bono organizations as well as helps attorneys pursue legal aid careers.
Investing in Justice Campaign
Clifford Law Offices continues to be a strong supporter of the Chicago Bar Foundation’s (CBF) Investing in Justice campaign. Bob Clifford is one of the founding and sustaining members committed to helping pro bono and legal aid organizations through this important community involvement program. The Investing in Justice campaign relies upon Chicago area lawyers, law firms and corporations to donate personally in an effort to expand the capacity of the area’s pro bono and legal aid organizations, and to underwrite innovative projects that make the justice system more user-friendly and accessible for those in need.
DePaul University College of Law Center for Public Interest Law
Kevin P. Durkin, partner at Clifford Law Offices, was named the first President of the DePaul University College of Law Center for Public Interest Advisory Board in 2008 when the Center formed an Advisory Board to accomplish its objectives. The Center for Public Interest has a long tradition at the school, working to serve the poor and underrepresented with a sense of commitment; while encouraging and mentoring others to help the underprivileged in the community.
Law Enforcement Aviation Coalition (LEAC)
In 2009, Bob Clifford was named to be on the Board of Directors of the Law Enforcement Aviation Coalition in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin. LEAC is a not-for-profit charitable group comprised of cooperating fire/rescue and law enforcement agencies that provide no-cost, 24-hour helicopter support to law enforcement and fire/rescue agencies.
Illinois Victims’ Group
Bob Clifford spearheaded the organization of a victims’ group in Illinois, in an effort to help empower those victimized by faulty products, negligent doctors and avoidable accidents. This group, now comprised of hundreds of people from across the state, is an organization based in Springfield dedicated to helping the injured fight anti-consumer legislation. Many of them, some wheelchair-bound, have made the trek to the state’s capital in a plea to legislators to vote against tort reform bills. They, together with lawyers like Bob, were at the forefront of getting the so-called “tort reform” legislation overturned in Illinois in December 1997. This group continues to be of great importance to the Chicago area and the law firm.
Christmas at West Pullman School
Each year, Bob Clifford accompanies other judges and lawyers in delivering Christmas spirit and holiday gifts to low-income children at West Pullman Elementary School in Chicago’s South Side.
St. James Parish Coat Drive
Every Christmas morning, Michelle, Elise and Mark Menaker, children of Clifford Law Offices’ Communications Partner Pamela Sakowicz Menaker, help their mom feed the homeless and pass out clothing donations to the underprivileged at St. James Parish on Chicago’s South Side. This event has been part of the law firm’s community involvement interests for a number of years.
Cycle for Survival
Emma Krzak was born with a rare form of cancer. Thanks to early detection and advances in medicine, she is a cancer survivor. Cycle For Survival is a cancer research fundraising event where teams of cyclists, including Emma’s team – Emma’s Eight, which includes her dad – ride indoors for four hours. All funds raised go to research efforts at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. In one year, “Emma’s Eight” raised nearly $20,000. If you would like to be part of Emma’s fundraising efforts, you can go to www.cycleforsurvival.org and donate to the Emma’s Eight team. Emma was the 2012 poster child for this community involvement event on a national scale.
Red Watch Band Program
The mother of a Northwestern student who died from toxic alcohol poisoning is reaching out to colleges and universities everywhere to try to help others be saved from such a tragic death.
At the recommendation of Chicago law firm Clifford Law Offices, Loyola University is participating in this important community involvement program which includes a four-hour training session for participants to learn how to recognize alcohol emergencies and to respond effectively.
The mission of this program is to provide campus community members with a greater knowledge, involvement, awareness and skills to prevent student toxic drinking deaths and to promote a student culture of kindness, responsibility, compassion and respect. The national movement is intended to train students on appropriate steps to take when a fellow student passes out from consuming too much alcohol.
Red Watch Band Program Expands to DePaul University
At the recommendation of Clifford Law Offices, DePaul University, alma mater of senior partner Robert Clifford, implemented the Red Watch Band Program.
Continuing Legal Education
Bob Clifford also finds time to give back to the professional community through his involvement in continuing legal education. He endowed his alma mater, DePaul University College of Law, with the first Tort Law and Social Policy Chair in the largest single gift to the school. Since 1995, the Chicago law school – with the help of the firm – conducts an annual two-day seminar where experts from around the country debate issues important to the civil justice system. Mr. Clifford has always insisted that the two-day symposium be free to the public. He then sees to it that the DePaul Law Review staff publishes the written materials in a special edition of the Law Review, so that more people can share the efforts of this monumental task and highly educational program. It has become the 44th most quoted publication throughout the United States.
Clifford Law Offices, a Chicago law firm, has been approved by the State of Illinois as an accredited provider of mandatory continuing legal education (CLE) programs in the state. The first program, offered in February 2008, was a two-hour ethics/professionalism seminar with Northwestern University Professor Robert Burns.
In 2009, a two-hour program was offered with a panel of speakers on The Ethics of Lincoln the Lawyer, in commemoration of the 200th birthday of Abraham Lincoln. Held at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield as well as on the web, the program featured: Roger Billings, Professor, Chase College of Law, Northern Kentucky University; Mark Steiner, Professor, South Texas College of Law and author of “An Honest Calling: The Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln”; and Vincent Vitullo, Professor Emeritus, DePaul University College of Law. Hundreds of Illinois lawyers took advantage of this free program either in person or electronically.
In 2010, nearly 1,000 people registered to attend a cutting-edge seminar entitled, “The Ethics of E-Discovery and Social Media”. Presenters John Barkett, author of “E-Discovery”, and James Grogan, ARDC Chief Counsel, spoke for two hours in a lively question-and-answer session that was offered at no charge to all lawyers in the state.
Clifford Law Offices Hosts Mock Trial at Chicago Public School
Clifford Law Offices in Chicago spearheaded the law firm’s efforts in coaching and mentoring students at a mock trial competition at Harriet Beecher Stowe Fine and Performing Arts Academy in Chicago.
DePaul Alumni Association
Bob Clifford has been active with DePaul as the President of its Alumni Association where he served as the youngest member of its Board of Trustees. Mr. Clifford also was selected as Chairman of DePaul’s College of Law Capital Development Fund, which is raising thousands of dollars to improve the law school’s Chicago campus.