Evanston attorney Lawrence A. Wojcik has received a pro bono service award from the state bar association for his prison reform and juvenile justice efforts.

Wojcik, a partner in the litigation practice of DLA Piper’s Chicago office, has made pro bono work an integral part of his law practice.  But last year he went above and beyond even his usual level of dedication, devoting more than 770 hours to pro bono on top of his billable practice.

Lawrence Wojick with State Bar President John G. O’Brien at the awards ceremony.

The two issues that have consumed most of his pro bono time are conditions at the Tamms correctional prison and juvenile justice reform.

Wojcik and his team represented prison inmates who argued that they were transferred to Tamms improperly in retaliation for filing grievances against the Bureau of Prisons. As a result of his involvement, conditions at Tamms have become more humane.

For four years, Wojcik led an effort by his firm to address ways that society can best return to the classroom children who have been in the juvenile justice system. Partly in response to his efforts and the publication of three significant reports, the Chicago Public Schools last August announced a pilot project to put court-involved children who had been out of school for a significant period in a special school before returning them to their regular classes.

The John C. McAndrews Pro Bono Service Award Wojick received at the bar association’s annual meeting last week is named in memory of Rock Island attorney John McAndrews, who chaired the Illinois State Bar Association Committee on Delivery of Legal Services and received a Harry A. Blackmun Pro Bono Publico Award from Prairie State Legal Services before he died in 1993 of cancer.

The 33,000-member ISBA, with offices in Springfield and Chicago, provides professional services to Illinois lawyers, and education and services to the public.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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