On March 7, IAALS and The Chicago Bar Foundation delved into the root causes of access to justice issues for the middle class, featuring leaders who have successfully launched promising legal service delivery models.

Video of the event is available below.

This second webinar, part of a two-part project launch series, built upon the foundation laid by the first webinar, "Transforming the Delivery of Legal Services: Unveiling the Above the Line Network." The initial session focused on understanding the breadth of the access to justice crises, introducing the newly launched Above the Line Network (ATLN), and gathering insights from experts on how the legal profession can unite through ATLN to enhance access to affordable legal help for the middle class.

Building on the research and information shared in the first webinar, the second session shifted its focus to comprehending the root causes associated with the access to justice problem for the middle class, and provided a platform for leaders who have launched successful legal service delivery models to share their experiences and insights.

This webinar featured Roya Samarghandi (Associate Director of Advocacy, Innovation, & Training, The Chicago Bar Foundation), Jessica Bednarz (Director of Legal Services and the Profession, IAALS), Bill Henderson (Professor, Indiana University Maurer School of Law), Daniel Hernandez (Founder and Principal Attorney, NextLevel Law), and Gabby Majewski (Executive Director, DC Affordable Law Firm).

For more information about the first webinar, "Transforming the Delivery of Legal Services: Unveiling the Above the Line Network," click here. 

"headshot of long-haired woman"Roya Samarghandi is The Chicago Bar Foundation's Associate Director of Advocacy, Innovation, & Training. Samarghandi plays a key role in the CBF's mission through her work on legislative and policy advocacy, innovation initiatives, and the CBF Legal Aid Academy. An alumna of the JEP, Samarghandi owned and ran her own practice, Carmel Law, LLC. In her practice, she provided a variety of legal services for her clients, in both a full scope and limited scope capacity and at an affordable rate. Samarghandi's practice areas included family law, criminal defense, and orders of protection for survivors of domestic violence. In 2022, she was named as one of the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin's "40 Under 40" attorneys to watch.


"headshot of dark-haired woman"Jessica Bednarz is the Director of Legal Services and the Profession at IAALS. In this role, Bednarz is responsible for leading the vision and strategy of IAALS' work around innovation, regulation, reform, and evolution in the areas of the delivery of legal services and the legal profession more generally. Bednarz joined IAALS in 2023 after working at The Chicago Bar Foundation (CBF). During her eight years with the CBF, Bednarz worked on a wide range of access to justice issues. Prior to working at the CBF, Bednarz was in private practice specializing in family law, both as a solo practitioner and as an associate at O'Connor Family Law, P.C. She later served as the MCLE Coordinator for The Chicago Bar Association and served as a consultant for the Colorado Bar Association. 


"headshot of light-haired man"Bill Henderson is a professor, Legal Rebel, and one of the most influential people in legal education. Bill joined the IU Maurer School of Law faculty in 2003 following a visiting appointment at Chicago-Kent College of Law and a judicial clerkship for Judge Richard Cudahy of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Drawing upon more than a decade of research, Bill is a sought-after commentator on the changing legal marketplace. His observations and research have been frequently quoted in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, the Atlantic Monthly, the Washington Monthly, The Economist, and National Public Radio. Bill’s essays and studies also frequently appear in the National Law Journal, the American Lawyer, and the ABA Journal.


"headshot of dark-haired man"Daniel Hernandez is a social entrepreneur and attorney who brings access to justice to families that once could not imagine affording an attorney. At age 27, Hernandez started a law firm with the mission of offering competent legal services at affordable fixed costs. In this short period, shockwaves have hit the legal community caused by Hernandez's innovative business and pricing model—where clients pay flat-monthly fees for legal services, slashing the overall legal cost for his clients. As a practitioner, Hernandez assists families in transition through divorce and child custody proceedings. His experience among transitioning families is wide-ranging—he is legal counsel to mothers, fathers, grandparents, and even children as their guardian ad litem.


"headshot of blonde woman"Gabby Majewski has served as Executive Director of DC Affordable Law Firm since January 2020. Majewski oversees all aspects of DC Affordable Law Firm’s programs and operations, leading the high-quality work of the staff, building and strengthening community and philanthropic partnerships, and guiding the strategic direction of the organization. Under Majewski's leadership, DC Affordable Law Firm was selected as the 2023 Recipient of the American Bar Association’s Louis M. Brown Award for Legal Access. Prior to joining DC Affordable Law Firm, Majewski served as a guardian ad litem, supervising attorney, and program manager with Children's Law Center in DC.