Center for Disability & Elder Law Honors Robert Michalak with CDEL Founders Award

CHICAGO, IL - February, 2010 - When the nonprofit Center for Disability & Elder Law presents its CDEL Founders Award later this month to Schuyler Roche & Crisham Shareholder Robert Michalak, it will culminate more than 25 years of personal and professional dedication by the respected employment and benefits counselor to an organization that has provided pro bono legal services to tens of thousands of low-income persons with disabilities and senior citizens in Cook County.

"I'm extremely proud of CDEL's growth over the last 25 years as a vital nonprofit organization serving constituencies that often have specialized needs and few if any legal representation options at their disposal," said Michalak.

CDEL's origins date back to 1982, when a Chicago Bar Association legal needs analysis revealed a highly underserved population of low-income, disabled persons in the Chicago area. Four active CBA members, Bob Michalak among them, took the lead in creating a charter and bylaws and organizing a legal clinic that would answer the call. It took 18 months to raise the necessary capital to launch the clinic, and in 1984, with a limited lay staff and a handful of volunteer attorneys and paralegals, the clinic opened its doors.

In the early '90s, the clinic's charter was amended to include the elderly.

Today, the Center for Disability & Elder Law provides pro bono legal services through the combined efforts of a modest in-house staff and an active network of hundreds of volunteer attorneys, paralegals and law students. Its dual mission is to provide legal services to low-income elderly persons and/or persons with disabilities in Cook County, and to foster pro bono culture throughout the Chicago legal community.

For more information on CDEL, visit

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