The CDEL Story

Our society has a fundamental obligation to guarantee justice for all of its members. The Center for Disability & Elder Law (CDEL) has been expanding access to justice to persons marginalized by poverty, age and/or disability, for over thirty years.


Summer Fundraiser

CDEL Summer Law Institute 


Join the Center for Disability & Elder Law (CDEL) and Learn about Elder Law with this free CLE Seminar Series



The Center for Disability & Elder Law (CDEL) is holding its Inaugural Summer Law Institute.  The Institute consists of 6 weekly Continuing Education Seminars on Wednesday afternoons, from 4:00-6:00.  Each Seminar is 2.0 CLE credits.

The Institute is being hosted by the law firm of Perkins Coie, 131 s. Dearborn, Suite 1700, Chicago, IL.  

All six sessions are free to attend (but Registration is a must).



Week by Week Schedule

 June 14 - Introduction and Ethics of Elder Law 

-Guest Speaker Mary Robinson,

Principal, Robinson Law Group, former Administrator of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission

-Thomas Wendt, Legal Director, CDEL

(2.0 hours of Professional Responsibility pending)


June 21- Powers of Attorney and Guardianship

-Guest Speaker Maureen Loughran,

Associate at FMS Law Group, LLC

-Thomas Wendt, Legal Director, CDEL


June 28- Financial Aspects of Elder Law-Collection and Elder Financial Abuse

-Guest Speaker Tom Vaitys,

Principal, Vaitys Law, LLC.  

-Elise Robie, Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Elder Justice Legal Fellow, CDEL


July 12- Wills and Transfer on Death Instruments

-Guest Speaker Lucy Park

Partner, Perkins Coie

-Caroline Manley, Supervising Attorney, CDEL


July 19-Public Benefits

-Guest Speaker Hon. Shirley Michaelson

Retired ALJ, Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) 

-Guest Speaker  Matt Margolis

Principal, Margolis Welden, LLC


July 26-Housing and Reverse Mortgages

-Guest Speaker Mark Smolenski,

Reverse Mortgage Expert, The Private Bank

-Mark Hellner, Executive Director, CDEL

-Stephanie Ridella Vittands, Staff Attorney, CDEL






CDEL Summer Law Institute
Perkins Coie Law Firm

131 s. Dearborn,

Suite 1700,

Chicago, IL



Attendance is Free, but Registration is Required





CDEL In the News


An article in June 2, 2017 Chicago Tribune/Daily Southown about the recently settled legal matter regarding a long time CDEL client.  Click here for a link to the article.

The Center for Disability & Elder Law (CDEL) does not discriminate on the basis of age, disability, race, color, national origin, sex, religion, or sexual orientation in the delivery of services

CDEL’s 2017 Light Up the Loop - a Huge Success  

More than 400 attorneys, judges, bar leaders, elected officials and their guests attended the Center for Disability & Elder Law’s Light Up the Loop Awards Benefit on Feb. 23, 2017 at the law offices of Baker McKenzie in Chicago. 


The Winter Benefit, chaired by Anthony J. O’Neill, Chief Operating Officer & General Counsel at Illinois Sports Facilities Authority and CDEL Board Member, was one of CDEL’s most successful events in recent years.  The Winter Benefit raised critical funds and generated untold excitement and awareness about CDEL’s mission to provide pro bono legal services to Chicago's low income seniors and people with disabilities.


Honorary Co-Chairs Darrell Guy, Associate General Counsel at AT&T, Inc., Daniel M. Kotin, Partner at Tomasik Kotin Kasserman and President at The Chicago Bar Association and Michael S. Smith, Managing Partner at Baker McKenzie, presented CDEL’s annual awards at the event. 


CDEL  honored Theresa Jaffe with its Impact Award for her life-long record of civic leadership directing, managing and supporting a variety of highly successful nonprofit fundraising efforts.  She created and managed the inaugural Chicago Bar Foundation Investing in Justice Campaign.  Since its inception, the Campaign has raised over $13 million to support Chicago’s legal aid agencies.  She served on the Board of Directors for CDEL when it was known as the Legal Clinic for the Disabled, and when her term of service concluded, she remained a supporter of CDEL’s mission to provide free legal services to low-income seniors and people with disabilities.


The Corporate Partner Award was presented to Walgreens.  Since Walgreens began a partnership with CDEL in 2013, sixty-five attorneys and other legal professionals have been trained through four Continuing Legal Education (CLE) seminars on Powers of Attorney documents and Living Will Declarations for the Senior Center Initiative (SCI) program. These volunteers have participated in seven individual workshops and have assisted ninety senior clients with their documents. Walgreens has also expressed interest in running a SCI workshop in a Walgreens store location, an innovative idea that would facilitate increased access for senior clients.


The Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to Linda Ochsenfeld, a nineteen year volunteer at CDEL. A mediator as part of her law practice beginning in 1998 and transitioning to mediation full time since 2009, Ms. Ochsenfeld has mediated hundreds of workplace and other civil disputes on the state and federal levels, a skill she has brought to her volunteerism.  In June of 2012, Ms. Ochsenfeld began volunteering for CDEL’s Senior Legal Assistance Clinics program and within a few months, she adopted the clinic at Bloom Township for her own — a position she holds to this day.   




CDEL Extends our Deepest Thanks to All Who Supported Our

2017 Light Up the Loop Winter Awards Benefit




Darrell Guy – AT&T, Inc.

Daniel M. Kotin – Tomasik Kotin Kasserman, President, The Chicago Bar Association

Michael S. Smith – Baker McKenzie




Platinum Sponsor:  Baker & McKenzie LLP



Gold Sponsor:  Kirkland & Ellis

Law Bulletin Publishing Company

Philip H. Corboy Foundation

United Airlines




Silver Sponsors:  Corboy & Demetrio, P.C.

Drinker Biddle & Reath LLp


Federal Signal Corporation

Locke Lord LLP

Scharf Bank Marmor LLC

 State Farm


Bronze Sponsors:


AT&T, Inc.

Cornerstone Research

DeBofsky, Sherman & Casciari, P.C.

Greater Illinois Title Company

Heyl Royster

Holland & Knight LLP

Hurst, Robin & Kay

Jones Day

JP Morgan Chase & Co.


Mayer Brown LLP

McDonald’s Corporation


Perkins Coie LLP

Seyfarth Shaw LLP

TransPerfect Legal Solutions

Valuation Research Corporation

Williams Montgomery & John Ltd.



Illinois Sports Facilities Authoriy

United Airlines

Corboy & Demetrio, P.C.

North Shore Center for Facial, Plastic & Cosmetic Surgery

Bob and Annette Michalak

Smokey Tomato Café & Catering