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Credit crunch be damned. The deal market may be dry, but that hasn’t stopped Chicago’s law firms from stepping up to fund a worthy cause. The Chicago Bar Foundationis wrapping up its second annual ” Investing in Justice” campaign, asking firms and individual lawyers to boost the salaries of legal aid lawyers. Preliminary results show 2007 giving levels up by about 11%. A 2006 CBF study found that nearly half the state’s legal aid attorneys planned to leave their jobs in the next few years. The top reason cited for the moves: low pay. ( The American Lawyerreported on the CBF drivein its April edition.) CBF executive director Bob Glaves says results for 2008 drive in March show contributions topping last year’s drive by about $100,000. So far, close to $1 million has been raised from 2,000 lawyers (four firms have not yet reported their contributions). Last year, 1,600 lawyers contributed to the campaign for a total of $900,000. The money went to special salary grants for Chicago-area legal aid organizations, boosting 260 legal aid salaries by an average of $3,700 per lawyer. Winston & Strawn chair and litigator Dan Webb has led the 2008 effort, following Jenner & Block’s chair, Anton Valukas, who headed up the first campaign.

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