In good company

July 16th, 2013 · No Comments · Blog

Tom Yates and Thomas Morsch at the CBA-CBF 15th Annual Pro Bono and Public Service Awards Luncheon

Tom Yates and Thomas Morsch at the CBA-CBF 15th Annual Pro Bono and Public Service Awards Luncheon

Today the Chicago Bar Association-Chicago Bar Foundation bestowed the high honor of the Thomas H. Morsch Award for outstanding career contributions in the field of public interest law on our very own Tom Yates. Here’s some excerpts of his remarks:

I am honored and humbled to accept this award from Thomas Morsch and the Chicago Bar Foundation. A quick look at the past winners tells me that I have been included in a special group of lawyers—I’m not sure how I fit in there–but I am honored just the same to be mentioned in the same breath…

…I want to thank everyone at Health & Disability Advocates—I am blessed to work with a great group of people and I am honored to have Stephanie Altman, Sue Augustus, Barbara Otto, Sarah O’Connor and Jill Wohl here today.

…I am honored to have most of my family here today—Diane my wife, three of my four kids are here—Joe, Julia, and Liz—and my mother Corrine. Ann, my other daughter and intrepid world traveler, is here in spirit, even as she is off on a grand adventure teaching English in Vietnam

…I am just short of my 30-year anniversary as a public interest lawyer. Why do this kind of work? I believed when I started almost 30 years ago, and still believe, that everybody deserves an equal shot. And sometimes, everyone needs a helping hand. Certainly, I benefited from many a helping hand. But, our clients don’t get these breaks. If they become ill, are diagnosed with cancer, shot in random gunfire, hurt on the job, bad things happen; they lose their jobs, their homes. And, the legal system is hard enough to navigate for us and we know the way. But for clients with little education, few resources, and often, significant health issues, the system is almost insurmountable. I believe that all of us deserve an equal shot, a fair chance, and, sometimes, a helping hand. That’s why I do what I do and that’s why we are all here today. We believe, as does Thomas Morsch, the Chicago Bar Foundation, all of the legal services groups generously funded by CBF, and you, the legal community that supports our work, that pursuing equal justice for all, even the most vulnerable, must be done. I thank you all.

Congratulations Tom. It’s our honor to work with you.

Health & Disability Advocates



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