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20 June 20223 minute read

DLA Piper partner Richard Klawiter honored with Legal Aid Chicago’s 2022 Champion of Justice Award

DLA Piper is pleased to announce that Richard Klawiter, co-vice chair of the firm’s US Real Estate Practice, has been honored with Legal Aid Chicago’s 2022 Champion of Justice Award. This lifetime award recognizes Klawiter for his many years on Legal Aid Chicago’s board of directors, including two terms as the board’s chair.


One of his many significant pro bono accomplishments is the creation of the Eviction Brief Advice Desk, a successful collaboration between DLA Piper and Legal Aid Chicago that matches tenants facing eviction with pro bono legal representation. The program has led to better agreements and has helped over 300 clients to date.


“It’s a win-win situation for tenants and landlords. Tenants have legal representation through a stressful experience in their lives. Landlords also benefit from the program since they are able to negotiate with counsel rather than pro se litigants who are in crisis,” said DLA Piper real estate partner Katie Jahnke Dale who works closely with Klawiter.


Klawiter’s significant pro bono commitments also include traveling to remote detention centers to counsel immigrant families, helping undocumented parents prepare guardianship petitions, and regularly volunteering at Woodlawn Clinic—a free walk-in legal clinic in partnership with DLA Piper where clients can speak with an attorney about any civil legal issue.


“Rich is a true pro bono champion. It’s hard to find a pro bono initiative that our Chicago office has done in the last few decades that doesn’t at least have Rich’s fingerprints on it,” added Jahnke Dale.


Legal Aid Chicago provides free representation in civil matters for clients living in Chicago and suburban Cook County who lack the resources to hire an attorney on their own. The organization seeks justice for people living in poverty, in the areas of affordable housing, basic healthcare, fair working conditions, and economic stability, among others. Legal Aid Chicago is the largest legal aid organization in Cook County that provides legal advice to at-risk people in all areas of poverty law. Last year alone, Legal Aid served over 20,000 clients and families at no charge with their civil legal issues.


“We feel very privileged to work with Legal Aid Chicago and their committed team of lawyers and professionals on several initiatives, including the Eviction Brief Advice Desk, our monthly Woodlawn Legal Clinic, regular expungement clinics and more,” said Annie Geraghty Helms, DLA Piper’s director & counsel for US Pro Bono Programs. “We rely on their deep knowledge of civil legal aid issues to ensure that we are providing the best advice possible to those in need.”


DLA Piper has a long-standing and deep commitment to giving back to our communities. This commitment exists at every level in every office within the firm and is ingrained in the firm’s culture. Our aim is to be innovative and collaborative in our efforts so that we can provide the best possible service to our pro bono clients. We are committed to pro bono projects that advance gender and racial equality, protect children, and combat hunger.