Childcare Network of Evanston’s network of support continues to grow with the opening of the Mayme F. Spencer Memorial Street Law Clinic. The pro bono initiative is led by Patrick Fitzsimmons, a health-care and life sciences partner with Baker & Daniels LLP and a current CNE board member. The clinic, which will be housed in CNE’s first-floor office space, bears the name of Evanston’s first African American woman alderman – a civil rights pioneer and life-long provider of pro bono legal services to Evanston’s limited-means community. Mayme Spencer was married to Dr. Warren F. Spencer, one of the first black graduates of Northwestern University Medical School and founder of Community Hospital in Evanston.
Patrick Fitzsimmons, son-in-law of the late Ms. Spencer, says the once-a-month clinic will be open to those who are in need of legal help but cannot afford representation. “We expect that people from the community will walk in, tell us about their issues, and we will advise them or refer them on to additional agencies for help,” he explained. “This is much the way Mayme would have handled it, though she would have done it very privately, without fanfare,” he said. “The goal is to reach people at the place and time when they most need legal help. For many it is not possible to travel to the Loop to find these resources.”
The Mayme F. Spencer Street Law Clinic will be open the third Thursday of each month between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on CNE’s first floor and will be co-staffed by Baker & Daniels lawyers, including Patrick Fitzsimmons; Chapman & Cutler lawyers, including Alyson Miller, an attorney at Chapman & Cutler LLP and granddaughter of Mayme Spencer; and Will Miller, a corporate lawyer and son-in-law of the late Ms. Spencer.