Friday, September 16, 2016

Falling Into the Rhythm...

The following reflection was prepared by Alan Guillen, a Volunteer in the Little Village Community. Alan shares what he is doing this year at his Service Site and what he is looking forward to as the year continues. He is serving at the Chicago Legal Clinic’s Chancery Advice Desk.
Move-in, Orientation and settling into my new community have been exciting, thought-provoking, challenging, and overall pleasant learning experiences. The first couple of weeks were also filled with anticipation and impatience as my start date at the Chicago Legal Clinic’s Chancery Advice Desk approached. Essentially, the Chicago Legal Clinic, or CLC, is a non-profit organization that provides free or low-cost legal services to the disadvantaged of the Chicago area. The Chancery Advice Desk is one of several CLC offices which offers these types of legal services.  As the name suggests, the Chancery Advice Desk offers legal aid for Chancery Division cases, the majority of them being foreclosure cases.**
Alan and his housemate Emma Stiver commute to the Loop each day via the Pink Line. 
As I thought more and more about getting started at my Service Site during Orientation, I was mostly looking forward to submersing myself in legal cases and learning the most I could from the attorneys I would be working with, since becoming an attorney is something I may pursue in the future. Working directly with clients and knowing that a significant amount of these clients were going to be Spanish-speaking was also something I was looking forward to.   
Alan's office is in the Concourse Level of the Daley Center.
Now that I have been at my Service Site for a little over a month, I can look back and say that, “a little overwhelming” was a common response I gave and heard from my fellow Amate House Volunteers when we were asked about our first week at work. Though I was expecting a challenge, working office hours at a desk and constantly hearing unfamiliar legal terms has taken some extra effort getting used to. Luckily the attorneys, and also the clients that I work with, have been both understanding and patient as I begin to fall into the rhythm of my work.
Chicago Legal Clinic's Chancery Advice Staff

At this early point in my year of service, I am eager to learn the most I can about Chancery Division cases and legal services in general. I also look forward to maintaining CLC’s mission to educate and provide accessible legal aid to the under-served and disadvantaged.

**From CLC's website: The Clinic operates an Advice Desk for the Chancery Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County involving matters such as foreclosures and injunctions. Due to the extreme demand for foreclosure assistance, 10,702 clients were served at the Desk last fiscal year.