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The Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Inc. is a consortium of Chicago Law firms that provides legal services in civil rights cases, with a focus on four major projects: the Employment Opportunity Project, the Community Economic Development Law Project, the Fair Housing Project, and the Project to Combat Bias Violence.

General Information

The Chicago Lawyers' Committee For Civil Rights Under Law (CLCCRUL),, was established in 1969 as a public interest consortium of Chicagomarker law firms to provide pro bono legal services in significant civil rights cases. In 2006 the Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law includes forty five law firms who donate annually over three million dollars worth of professional legal services to poor communities, women, and people of color, in substantive areas such as housing discrimination, hate crime, employment discrimination, and community economic development.

The mission of the Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights is to promote and protect civil rights, particularly the civil rights of poor, minority and disadvantaged people in order to facilitate their participation in the social, economic and political systems of our nation. The Committee's direction is community driven: that is, the agenda and priorities are determined in consultation with the myriad community-based organizations in Chicago that have been addressing the results of virulent poverty, entrenched segregation, insufficient public services, and other barriers to opportunity faced by communities of color in Chicago.

The Chicago Lawyers' Committee functions through five civil rights programs staffed by nine lawyers with expertise in specific practice areas within civil rights law. Over 1,000 Chicago lawyers accept pro bono legal work from the staff attorneys every year, contributing almost 10,000 hours of professional legal services, with an estimated value of approximately $3.5 million. In 2005, the Committee represented almost 1,500 individual clients, and in twelve class-action lawsuits, another 670,000 persons state-wide were class members. Transactional legal services, involving tax, corporate, and real estate law, were provided to 230 nonprofit community-based organizations. Staff and pro bono lawyers also were deeply involved in training, fair housing testing, numerous amicus briefs, and legislative and policy advocacy.

The Chicago Lawyers' Committee maintains a focus in a broad range of civil rights and economic justice matters, including: hate crime prevention and response; employment discrimination litigation; affordable housing development efforts, fair housing complaints and fair mortgage-lending advocacy and litigation; and support for a broad range of economic development activity in Chicago, including free legal services to individuals using small businesses/micro-enterprises as strategies to achieve self-sufficiency.

The Chicago Lawyers' Committee’s membership includes the most prestigious firms in the City, ranging from small boutique firms to many of the largest firms. The Committee is governed by a Board of Directors composed of member representatives. The Board's decision making and planning are informed by several program Advisory Committees, made up of representatives of the affected populations, Board members, and volunteering attorneys.

Significant Cases

The Kerner Commission’s 1968 report, concluding that the nation was “moving toward two societies, one black, one white – separate and unequal, ” made a series of recommendations to promote racial integration and large-scale improvement in the quality of life of African-Americans. The Chicago Lawyers’ Committee was founded in 1969, as a cooperative effort of Chicago's leading law firms to provide pro bono legal assistance to and protect the civil rights of the poor and minorities, in order to facilitate their participation in the social, economic and political systems of our nation. Following is an overview of efforts to support the goals of the Kerner Commissions in Chicago.


1976 Three years after the Committee brought suit alleging racial and ethnic employment discrimination by the Chicago Police Department, Judge Prentice Marshall finds intentional discrimination, permanently enjoins the Chicago Police Department from hiring and promoting employees from the challenged officers' and sergeants' eligibility lists, and imposes hiring quotas for Blacks, Latinos, and women.

1979 In response to the overwhelming number of requests for assistance with employment discrimination cases, the Committee opens a loan program designed to defray costs and provide technical assistance to private attorneys taking on Title VII cases, and to increase access to the courts. Over two years, 37 cases are filed, and the project ends with a Title VII Litigation Seminar attended by over 100 lawyers.

1981 The Committee begins working on projects to address discrimination against people with disabilities. Projects are developed in the virtually untested areas of housing and public accommodations, as well as employment, to establish strong standards for the new Illinois Human Rights Act prohibitions.

1982 The City settles the nine-year-old N.O.W. v. City of Chicago equal pay case, benefitting hundreds of female janitors and clerks through salary upgrades, retroactive pension benefits, and $4.5 million in back pay.

1983 Damages of more than $500,000 are awarded to the leaders and members of the Afro-American Patrolmen's League to compensate for police harassment during the pendency of their suit charging systemic racial discrimination.

1990 In Rochon v. FBI, the Committee joins in the suit against the FBI, the Department of Justice, and individual FBI agents for extreme, prolonged racial harassment, including death threats. Counsel seek to have Edwin Meese, Bradford Reynolds, and the entire Civil Right Division of the Justice Department disqualified from participation in the grand jury.

1992 Filed in 1973, this race, national origin, and sex employment discrimination case, brought against the Chicago Police Department, is finally resolved as hundreds of officers receive their long overdue back pay and are given their proper seniority rights.

1996 Working as part of the steering committee of the state-wide Coalition for Equal Opportunity, the Committee successfully organizes opposition to proposed legislation to abolish affirmative action in Illinois.

1998 The Chicago Lawyers' Committee files Lewis, et al. v. City of Chicago, a class action alleging that a written examination policy - under which only persons who scored 89 or above were allowed to continue on in the hiring process and take the other primary pre-employment test, a physical agility examination - had a disparate impact against African Americans, and did not measure the skills which are important for firefighting. In 2005 the United States District Court held that the Fire Department test had arbitrarily excluded 6,500 African Americans from firefighter positions.

2000 Under a U.S. E.E.O.C. mediation program, charging parties and employers engage in voluntary efforts to settle charges of employment discrimination without litigation. Because defendants frequently have counsel, the Chicago Lawyers Committee represents claimants at mediation, securing thousands of dollars in compensation for victims of discrimination, plus reinstatements, accommodations for disabilities, favorable references and other relief.

2001 The Committee files a class action on behalf of approximately seventy women who worked at a regional car dealership, when the management unleashed a campaign of sexual harassment on its female workers and refused to provide its workers, many of whom were low-wage, temporary employees, with information on their right to protest the harassment. The settlement terms include treating the temporary workers as employees entitled to sexual harassment protection.

2003 The Chicago Lawyers' Committee was retained by five client groups composed of minority and women contractors to represent their interests in maintaining the Minority and Women Business Enterprise programs operated by the City of Chicago. In 2003, the trial Judge agrees that discrimination continues to impede equal access to construction opportunities in Chicago, creating a compelling interest for the City to address these obstacles. The Judge gives the City six months to try race and gender neutral programs to address credit market discrimination, lower the graduation requirement, create a sunset provision for the program, and develop a wealth test.

2004 In Ralphs Grocery Co. v. Doris Martinez and the Illinois Department of Human Rights, a nationwide employer with a policy forbidding employees from filing charges of discrimination with state investigative agencies, files an injunction action against an employee to compel her to withdraw her disability discrimination charge from IDHR and arbitrate the investigation. Lawyers successfully prevent the employer from obtaining any preliminary injunctive relief, and obtained a judicial determination that a mandatory arbitration agreement cannot preclude an employee from filing a discrimination charge.

2005 In Lewis v. City of Chicago the federal judge found in the Committee's favor and held that the entrance firefighter exam given in 1995 discriminated against the class represented by the Committee, a class of over 6500 African American applicants.

The Illinois Attorney General appointed the project director of the Employment Opportunity Project to the position of Special Assistant Attorney General, to lead a team of government lawyers in defending the State of Illinois' public contracting program from constitutional attack. During a two-week federal court trial, the trial team argued that the contracting program, administered by the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), must allocate a small percentage of road construction projects to businesses owned by minorities and women as a remedy for historical discrimination against such firms. In 2005, the US District Court rules that IDOT's plan is narrowly tailored to the goal of remedying the effects of racial and gender discrimination within the construction industry.

2006 The Committee files Ramirez v. Ceisei Masonry in federal court. The case alleges that a local brick masonry firm harassed a class of Latino laborers and bricklayers on account of their race and national origin.


1970 Using data collected by two major universities, the Committee files a federal class action challenging city-wide disparities in the per-pupil instructional expenditures made in Chicago's Black and White schools. After the case is filed, the Board of Education equalizes expenditures.

1977 In P.A.S.E. v. Chicago Board of Education, the Committee challenges the Board's use of discriminatory tests that result in the disproportionate placement of minority children in Educationally Mentally Handicapped classes.

1979 The Committee begins the Introduction to Legal Learning Program, a course designed to give minority and returning law students a better understanding of the law and the "case method" as well as improved analytical and writing skills.

1989 The Lawyers' School Reform Advisory Project begins to refer lawyers to Chicago's local school councils and school reform organizations. The Project allows the private bar to support the Chicago School Reform Act, the first large-scale experiment in school-based management.

1994 In a statewide class action, Marie O. v. State Board of Education, plaintiffs allege that Illinois has failed to meet its obligations to provide early childhood intervention for children with disabilities. The court's 1996 order required defendants to inform families of their rights under the Act, eliminate the waiting lists for services, and required a court-appointed monitor.

1997 A Title 1 reform program opens, to enable schools serving poor and minority children to improve the educational opportunities for these children. The reform program succeeds in getting the Chicago public schools administration to change the way it allocates federal Title I money to schools so that the dollars follow children and so children from immigrant and working poor families are not discriminated against by the use of AFDC as a factor for determining poverty.

2000 The Olympia Fields Board of Trustees rejected an application for approval of a state-licensed day care home as inconsistent with local zoning ordinances concerning the uses of residential property. Consistent with a 1995 decision, which struck down the Village of Flossmoor’s similar attempt to bar home day care licensed by the state, the homeowners argue, and the court agrees, that local governments may not add restrictions on state-licensed day care homes that conflict in any way with the state’s regulation, including limits on the number of children , prohibitions on employing persons from outside the principal caretaker’s family, and limiting the use of outdoor space on the caretaker’s property.

2005 In 2003, the Chicago Board of Education and the Department of Justice jointly submitted a proposed modification to the consent decree in the Chicago school desegregation case, U.S. v. Chicago Board of Education. The Chicago Lawyers’ Committee played a significant role in the proceedings, informing the court regarding both the law on termination of consent decrees and the factual situation in Chicago, filing a response to the parties’ proposed modification , and participating in continuing developments. In 2005, the Committee monitors the Board’s use of the mid-year school transfer process to enhance integration in the Chicago Public Schools, and is asked by the district court to participate in proceedings addressing the possible termination of the Modified Consent Decree at the end of the 2005-06 school year.

Health and Welfare

1976 A three-judge court in Tidwell v. Weinberger holds that the Illinois Department of Mental Health's seizure of Social Security disability benefits received by patients in state run facilities violates the patients' due process rights.

1982 With funding from the Cook County Legal Assistance Foundation, Pro Bono Advocates is founded to provide services to indigent clients, particularly survivors of domestic violence. In the first year, PBA recruits over 100 lawyers, trains volunteers, and begins referring cases to volunteer attorneys

1985 Committee attorneys successfully meet with state officials and achieve a greatly expanded Women, Infants and Children food supplement program, particularly for Chicago.

1987 Efforts to assist the homeless intensify, and include providing counsel to several shelters, giving advice to homeless people seeking to use vacant CHA units during cold weather, and defending several churches that seek to establish emergency shelters despite the opposition of municipal governments.

1988 The Committee brings the first federal "anti-patient dumping" case filed in the nation against a hospital for refusing emergency care to uninsured or underinsured patients who have a life threatening condition, on behalf of a client who could not breathe, and was sent to another hospital because he had no financial resources.

1990 Childhood lead poisoning, a preventable epidemic that overwhelmingly affects poor African American and Latino children, is the subject of a precedent setting case filed on behalf of an African American family. Of the Selvys' twelve children, seven were poisoned by lead paint. Committee attorneys sue the current and past owners, alleging violations of the residential Landlord and Tenant Ordinance and breaches of the implied warranty of habitability.

1993 On behalf of various women's low cost health services providers, the Committee files an amicus brief with the Supreme Court in NOW v. Scheidler, arguing that the protesters' criminal attempts to shut down these clinics do not impinge on 1st Amendment rights.

1996 After a year-long investigation, the Chicago Lawyers' Committee releases a report entitled Environmental Injustice: Community Perspectives on Silver Shovel, which detailed the efforts of residents of the Lawndale community to shut down two of the largest Silver Shovel dumps, only to be frustrated by the inaction, delay and weaknesses of the public agencies charged with protecting health and the environment. The report proposes a series of reforms to protect Lawndale and other minority communities from the destructive effects of waste dumps.

2002 In Dupuy v. McDonald, the Seventh Circuit Federal District Court ordered the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) to change its administrative review process, in cases of child abuse and neglect, in order to insure sufficient consideration of evidence against accused abusers. Dupuy’s plaintiff class exceeds 150,000.


1969 Several member firms are representing local organizations whose members live in the path of urban renewal to make certain that the community's interests are considered, and that all who are displaced are properly relocated.

1972 A member firm represents a large group of south suburban purchasers of defective housing in successful negotiations with the developers to remedy the defects.

1972 As part of its ongoing commitment to continuing legal education, the Committee co-sponsors a conference on the scope and impact of the Jack Spring v. Little decision, which recognized that a lessee's obligation to pay rent is dependent on the lessor's fulfillment of the implied warranty of habitability.

1973 With the Leadership Council as co-counsel, the Committee files Metropolitan Housing Development Corporation v. Village of Arlington Heights, challenging the municipality's refusal to rezone vacant land for the construction of low- and moderate-income, integrated housing.

1974 The Committee is representing a class of over 1200 Black South Side homeowners who purchased new homes at inflated prices under land installment contracts, alleging that the developers discriminated against them by exploiting the racially divided housing market.

1978 In Burroughs v. Hill, the Committee represents a group of homeowners and an association seeking to hold HUD responsible for failing to repair and maintain abandoned buildings.

1978 In conjunction with Northwestern's Center for Urban Affairs, the Committee issues a study on the impact of zoning and other land-use regulations on housing for low- and moderate-income and minority families in the Chicago metropolitan area.

1980 On behalf of several fair housing groups, the Committee successfully files an administrative complaint with HUD, challenging DuPage County's use of Community Development Block Grants, in particular its failure to fund adequately any activities that would benefit low- and moderate-income people.

1981 The Committee begins working on projects to address discrimination against people with disabilities. Projects are developed in the virtually untested areas of housing and public accommodations, as well as employment, to establish strong standards for the new Illinois Human Rights Act prohibitions.

1986 The Committee brings an action against a group of private developers and government officials, alleging that federal laws governing the use of rehabilitation funds require the developers to fulfill obligations to low-income minority tenants, and that tenants have been constructively evicted because of the failure to maintain the premises.

1987 The Committee negotiates substantial settlements in seven separate cases against suburban Cook County building owners, management companies, and realtors who deny rentals to families with children.

1993 A group of four fair housing organizations join forces to end the illegal use of only white people as models in housing advertising, and convince numerous developers to integrate their ads.

1994 On behalf of a group of Latino individuals and housing organizations, the Committee has brought a major class action housing discrimination suit against HUD and CHA, alleging the severe underrepresentation of Latinos in public housing programs.

1997 A lawsuit filed on behalf of the South Austin Coalition Community Council and a number of home-purchasers alleges that Easy Life Real Estate System, Inc. and Ace Realtors, Inc bought fire-damaged, abandoned homes in the Austin area, performed minimal cosmetic repairs, marketed them to unsuspecting low-income, first time buyers, and sold them at inflated prices, resulting in a rash of foreclosures. A settlement was reached, under which the defendants agreed to pay $1.13 million to the class.

1998 In coalition with the Leadership Council for Metropolitan Open Communities and Woodstock Institute the Committee begins to investigate and advocate on behalf of greater access and affordability of homeowners insurance in minority neighborhoods in the Chicago area. The Coalition filed suit to challenge the refusal of the Department of Insurance to disclose certain data collected from homeowners insurance companies doing business in Illinois, data that reflects companies' losses broken down by zip code.

2003 The Chicago Lawyers’ Committee files Wallace, et al., v. Chicago Housing Authority, alleging that the CHA failed to provide adequate relocation assistance and effective social services to families displaced by public housing demolition, in violation of both federal law and CHA’s contractual obligations. The Court held that the Fair Housing Act requires HUD and public housing authorities to not just refrain from discriminating in housing, but to operate their programs so that they affirmatively further fair housing opportunities.

Criminal Justice Reform

1969 The Committee successfully advocates with the U.S. Attorney General to convene a special federal Grand Jury to investigate the deaths of Black Panther leaders Mark Clark and Fred Hampton, killed during a raid by the Police. This eventually results in the indictment of the State's Attorney and others.

1970 The Committee facilitates an arrangement with the Public Defender and the Chief Judge of the Juvenile Division, whereby member firms will take appeals in cases that raise constitutional issues. The Committee also begins investigating the practice of confining juveniles in adult detention facilities.

1971 On the basis of a study, two member firms represent four organizations in an Illinois Supreme Court amicus brief, arguing that the procedures for transferring juveniles to adult court are unconstitutional.

1975 Twenty-two groups, including the Committee, establish the Criminal Defense Consortium of Cook County, which opens six neighborhood defender offices in high crime areas to serve indigent criminal defendants.

1977 The Committee returns to Cairo to establish the Alexander County Defenders Project since no full-time public defender is available for indigent defendants. Because of the presence of an independent and aggressive defender, the State's Attorney dismisses 75% of the cases rather than proceeding to trial.

1981 A consent decree settles Chicago Lawyers' Committee v. City of Chicago, filed in 1976 when the Committee discovered that the defendants had engaged in covert activities and data collection, including surveillance of attorneys, the use of undercover agents, and reporting on confidential attorney-client conversations

1986 A consent decree in Kissane v. Brown prescribes procedures governing virtually every aspect of the administration of the Lake County Jail, including disciplinary and grievance procedures, inmate classification, and medical care.

1989 The Committee establishes the Project to Combat Bias Violence which provides assistance in civil and criminal court to victims of hate crime. In the Project's first case, an all white jury awards $475,000 in damages to an African American man who was the victim of a hate crime in Bridgeport. This is the first civil action in which damages are awarded under the Illinois Hate Crimes Act.

1991 The Committee sues the Immigration and Naturalization Service, challenging the INS detention system, under which alien detainees are rotated daily among several unsanitary, inaccessible facilities operated by the County and suburban municipalities.

1992 The Committee returns its attention to Juvenile Court with the establishment of the Children's Advocacy Project. One of the Project's major focuses is the overrepresentation of poor African American and Latino youths in the juvenile court system, and particularly the lengthy delays that result when the State attempts to prosecute juveniles as adults.

1995 In Ramos v. Kraft, a vicious 10-year campaign of harassment and hate crime ends when a settlement that includes an agreement by the Krafts to sell their house and move is finally reached. The settlement garners international media attention, bringing much needed attention to the breadth of hate crime in America.

1999 1,300 African American women who disembarked at O'Hare International Airport and were subject to an invasive search for drugs, including strip-searches and x-rays, file suit against the United States, U.S. Customs, and a number of Customs inspectors alleging that their constitutional rights were violated when the inspectors targeted them because of their race and gender and detained and searched them without legal cause or due process.

2001 The Project to Combat Bias Violence initiates an outreach campaign to the Chicago area Arab and Muslim population in the wake September 11th backlash crimes. The Project presents information hate crimes, harassment, discrimination, racial profiling, and unreasonable interrogations at meetings convened by the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago, Muslim Bar Association, and Muslim Americans for Civil Rights and Legal Defense, the Mosque Foundation, the Cook County State's Attorney's Office, Northwestern University Law School, Center for New Community, the Illinois Center for Violence Prevention, Governor's Commission on Discrimination and Hate Crimes, and federal civil rights officials.

2004 In three separate hate crime cases, African American plaintiffs are awarded nearly $1.5 million in compensatory and punitive damages for racially motivated attacks that occurred in 2000. Antonio Ray was threatened with hanging and beaten by four white men while another held his girlfriend Jennifer Klans. Richard Burrell was forced to flee a restaurant because of racial slurs and death threats and was beaten by one of the restaurant patrons. Ronald Ross was driving a CTA bus when two men blocked the bus with their car and, screaming racial epithets, kicked in the bus door and windows, in attempt to enter the bus and attack Ross.

Community Development

1971 Providing legal counsel to community organizations is a major activity of the Committee, accounting for nearly half of the Committee's projects, including corporate and tax issues, counseling, drafting, and negotiation.

1974 The Organization for the North East, a group seeking to induce local lending institutions to increase community investment through the threat of withdrawal of savings deposits, is being advised on various aspects of the group's anti-red-lining program.

1983 Assistance to community groups remains a key part of the Committee's work; this year alone, over 60 organizations received assistance with incorporation, applying for tax-exempt status, and matters vital to the groups' survival.

1985 The Community Economic Development Law Project, a joint effort of the Committee, LAFC, and the Young Lawyers Section of the CBA, begins providing tax, corporate, and real estate counsel to community groups in low-income neighborhoods that undertake projects to improve local housing, employment, and community services.

1988 Two member firms conduct a ten-week trial in Jones v. CTA, a case of first impression, in which the Illinois Human Rights Commission rules that as a public accommodation, the CTA must provide access to people with disabilities by having wheelchair lifts on buses.

1995 A Small Business Development Program is established to provide legal assistance to new entrepreneurs setting up businesses in inner-city neighborhoods.

1999 A coalition of fair and affordable housing advocates, including the Chicago Lawyers' Committee, came together to examine the use of Tax Increment Financing ("TIF") in Illinois, and the often negative impact TIF districts have on the minority and low and very low income households in those districts. As a result of this examination, the coalition determined that the most effective way to prevent the abuse of TIFs was to amend the Illinois legislation. The Coalition's proposed TIF amendments became law in 1999.

2002 Through an innovative program called Choose to Own, lawyers began representing Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) tenants using housing choice vouchers, formerly Section 8 vouchers, as mortgage payments. Business lawyers, including many from corporate law departments, provided pre- and post-purchase counseling to these homebuyers.

Voting Rights

1973 The 7th Circuit adopts the arguments made by a member firm in an amicus brief filed on behalf of five Spanish-speaking organizations. The court agreed that the Chicago Board of Elections must provide instructional materials in Spanish at the polling places in predominantly Latino wards.

1975 The Committee successfully settles an action against the Mayor of Cairo, Illinois and the Alexander County Board of Commissioners when the County agrees to appoint Blacks to nine public boards in proportion to their numbers in the general population.

1980 After the court invalidates the at-large system of electing the City Council in a case brought by the Committee, for the first time since 1897, two Black men are elected to Cairo's City Commission.

1984 Minority voters win an important victory in Ketchum v. Chicago City Council, when the 7th Circuit holds that an aldermanic redistricting plan had been designed to dilute minority voting strength.

1991 Chicago Urban League v. State Board of Elections leads to the creation of the first majority Latino congressional districts in Illinois, while preserving three minority African-American districts. The 1992 elections result in the most racially diverse Congress in U.S. history.

2001 Following the US Census in 2000, the Democrats gain the ability to draw the new state district map, but are challenged by the Illinois Republican Party, whose lawsuit alleges that the map is not in compliance with the Voting Rights Act. A three-judge panel consisting of jurists from both the District and Appellate Courts, upholds the Democratic-drawn redistricting plan, ruling that the plan provides African-Americans an effective opportunity to elect candidates of their choice in a number of districts that is proportionate to their population..

craigslist Controversy

Case Overview

Chicago Lawyers' Committee For Civil Rights Under Law v. Craigslist, is a case involving allegedly discriminatory on-line advertising that was recently filed against craigslist, Inc., the company behind the website The lawsuit alleges that since July 2005, craigslist, Inc. has published and continues to publish housing ads from the metropolitan Chicago-area that are discriminatory on the basis of race, sex, national origin, religion, color and familial status in violation of the federal Fair Housing Act..

On November 14, 2006 the case was dismissed by the U. S. District Court in Chicago. On January 10, 2007 the District Court denied CLC's Motion to Reconsider. On January 11, 2007 CLC appealed the District Court's decision to the United States Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

Advertisements in Question

A sampling of the complaints included in the legal brief are included below:

  • “Neighborhood is predominantly Caucasian, Polish and Hispanic.”
  • “All in a vibrant southwest Hispanic neighborhood offering great classical Mexican culture, restaurants and businesses.”
  • “Requirements: Clean Godly Christian Male.”
  • “Owner lives on the first floor, so tenant must be respectful of the situation, preferably not 2 guys in their mid twenties who throw parties all the time.”
  • “Walk to shopping, restaurants, coffee shops, synagogue.”
  • “The entire building is filled with interesting and fun people. Mostly Loyola Students. . . . . Church immediately across from building.”
  • “Accessible to transportation, church ST Margareth.”
  • “Catholic Church, and beautiful Buddhist Temple within one block.”
  • “Walk to shopping, restaurants, coffee shops, synagogue.”
  • “Perfect for 4 Med students.”
  • “absolutely ideal for a young professional and socialite!”
  • “Apartment is situated on 8th floor of building teeming with young people. It is unfurnished but ideal for a student or young single professional.”

Lewis Firefighter Case

The Chicago Lawyers’ Committee filed a lawsuit in 1998 which argued that the Chicago Fire Department's use of a very high cut score on the 1995 firefighter entrance exam discriminated against African Americans. They filed the case on behalf of African Americans who scored between 65 and 89 on the test. There are nearly 7,000 African Americans in the plaintiff class.

On March 22, 2005 Judge Gottschall ruled that the City's use of the 89 cut score on the 1995 test was discriminatory. Specifically, the judge held that the City had not shown that the 1995 test effectively measured the skills it was supposed to measure (like the ability to learn from demonstration) or that performance on the 1995 test predicted performance in the Fire Academy or on the job. She also found that performance on the video portion of the 1995 exam hinged on one's ability to take notes--an ability that was not important to being a good firefighter.

No decision has been made as to who will get any back pay or jobs provided in a remedy. Those decisions will be made by the judge, after the City's appeal has been decided. If settlement discussions occur, the parties will negotiate over these back pay and hiring issues. At the moment, no settlement negotiations are taking place.

On Wed April 27, 2005 CLCCRUL appeared before the judge in the case and asked for a few weeks to explore the possibility of settlement. No one has yet decided how any back pay settlement would be distributed or how jobs might be allocated if the case should settle.

On June 21, 2005, class counsel filed a motion requesting that the Court order hiring of class members as the first part of a remedy for the City's violation of class members' rights. CLCCRUL has also urged the Court to set the shortest feasible schedule for entry of such an order.

On July 21st, 2005 the City filed its own motion, seeking discovery from class members regarding both their earnings and medical history since 1995. On July 28, 2005, class counsel filed a brief both opposing that request and also urging that the issue of awarding firefighter jobs to class members should be addressed first.


  1. CLCCRUL - Litigation Highlights by Practice Area
  2. CLCCRUL - craigslist Lawsuit

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