September 23, 2019
The Access to Justice Commission would like to recognize the 2019-2020 incoming Illinois JusticeCorps ("ILJC") Fellows who are committing to a year of service at courthouses throughout the state. The Commission is proud to partake in this unique collaboration between the courts, the Illinois Bar Foundation, The Chicago Bar Foundation, Serve Illinois Commission, and the Corporation for National and Community Service.
Throughout their term of service, Fellows receive intensive training on legal information versus advice, the court system, and working with self-represented litigants. Our well-trained Fellows provide valuable assistance to people without lawyers by helping them navigate the courthouse, access legal and social service resources, and better understand often unfamiliar court processes. ILJC members complement the work of lawyers, clerks, court personnel, and library staff by providing legal information to those who need it most.
The program launched in 2009 as a pilot project and expanded statewide in 2012. This year, ILJC Fellows will serve in 13 courthouses across the state, representing 11 circuits and assisting in each of the five appellate districts.
The Commission is proud to introduce the diverse group of ILJC Fellows, who will serve at the following courthouses (Note: McHenry County, 22nd Judicial Circuit, is currently pending placement):
Champaign County (6th Judicial Circuit)
Brittany Rossi Underwood – Brittany is from Chicago, Illinois and is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. She majored in Political Science and Leadership, and while in college, served as a tutor for local students through America Reads and America Counts.
Brittany also served as secretary for the Minority Association for Future Attorneys, worked at University Housing at the University of Illinois, and served as a minimum-time member for JusticeCorps in Champaign prior to becoming the Fellow at the courthouse.
Cook County (Circuit Court of Cook County – Daley Center)
Jessica Acosta – Jessica is from Chicago, Illinois and is a graduate of Monmouth University, where she majored in Political Science and International Studies. While in college, Jessica conducted research on legal and educational barriers for migrant and refugee groups in Mexico, Ecuador, and Jordan. She also taught ESL courses to students in Amman, Jordan through Jesuit Refugee Services.
Erica Olson – Erica is from Palatine, Illinois and graduated from Elmhurst College with a major in Political Science and History. During her studies, Erica interned with the Global Leadership Network and served as a summer camp counselor for youth and families.
Lia Raves – Lia hails from Outer Banks, North Carolina and is a graduate of North Carolina State University, where she majored in Sociology and Political Science with a concentration in Law and Justice. While in college, she studied abroad in Fiji and Italy, served as a mentor for underserved children through College Mentors for Kids, and interned at the Boys and Girls Club.
Cook County (Circuit Court of Cook County – Markham)
Natisha McAdams – Natisha is from Chicago, Illinois and is serving her second term as the Fellow at the Markham courthouse. She is currently a 1L at UIC John Marshall Law School. Natisha is a graduate of Northern Illinois University, where she majored in Political Science and minored in Black Studies. She also holds a paralegal certificate from Ashworth College. Prior to joining JusticeCorps, she conducted canvassing efforts for unions, grassroots political candidates, and advocacy groups.
Cook County (Circuit Court of Cook County – Leighton Criminal Court)
Derious Braswell – Derious is from Helena, Arkansas and is a graduate of Christian Brothers University, where he majored in Philosophy. He is currently working toward obtaining a master's degree in Management and Leadership at Western Governors University. Derious formerly worked as a supervisor at UPS in Memphis, TN and supports his interest in debate by serving as an instructor for youth at Chicago Debates.
Dabney Lyles – Dabney is from Chicago, Illinois and received her BA in Philosophy from Stanford University, an MS in Information Systems from DePaul University, and a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Psychology from UC Berkeley Extension. Dabney has extensive experience working in AmeriCorps programs, such as Public Allies at Chicago Public Schools and the City of Chicago's Greencorps program.
Kane County (16th Judicial Circuit)
Todd Deger – Todd hails from Palatine, Illinois and is a graduate of St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. He majored in Religion with concentrations in Middle Eastern Studies and Women & Gender Studies. While in college, Todd was a section leader in St. Olaf's Norseman Band and he studied abroad in Israel. He most recently served in AmeriCorps as a construction volunteer facilitator for Habitat for Humanity in Minnesota.
Kankakee County (21st Judicial Circuit)
Logan Chitty – Logan hails from Bargersville, Indiana and has extensive experience helping people in courthouses. He currently attends Olivet Nazarene University where he is majoring in Political Science and Legal Studies, and he is a student athlete on the ONU men's basketball team. While completing his studies, Logan has interned at the Office of the State's Attorney in Champaign and helped establish a partnership for judicial internships at Kankakee County Courthouse.
Knox County (9th Judicial Circuit)
Deja Jenkins – Deja is from Chicago, Illinois and recently completed her BA at Knox College, where she majored in Creative Writing and minored in Psychology. Deja is an award-winning playwright. During her studies, Deja studied abroad and worked with refugees seeking asylum at the Khora Community Centre in Athens, Greece. She also worked at Knox College's Audio & Visual Department, served as a teaching assistant, and volunteered at various charities to help underserved communities.
Lake County (19th Judicial Circuit)
Kattia Gramajo – Kattia is from Guatemala City, Guatemala and is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she double-majored in Spanish and Criminology, Law and Justice. She has extensive experience working on DACA with undocumented students through the Fearless Undocumented Alliance, and is a long-time volunteer with Ravenswood Community Services.
Madison County (3rd Judicial Circuit)
Bobby Lindsay – Bobby hails from Omaha, Nebraska and is a graduate of Saint Louis University in St. Louis, Missouri, where he majored in English. During his studies, he interned at the St. Louis Regional Chamber of Commerce where he conducted research on economic development issues and solutions.
McLean County (11th Judicial Circuit)
Kiasha Henry – Kiasha is from Bloomington, Illinois and is a graduate of Illinois State University, where she majored in Family and Consumer Science. She launched Charm, Inc., which provides assistance, mentorship, and resources to low-income families and youth in the community. She also volunteers her time with local organizations that provide school supplies to kids and meals to homeless people in the area.
Will County (12th Judicial Circuit)
Caitlyn Schaffer – Caitlyn is from Chicago, Illinois and is a graduate of Augustana College, where she graduated with a degree in Philosophy and Ethics. While in college, Caitlyn was a student athlete on the AC women's tennis team and a part-time mentor and tutor with AVID (Advancement via Individual Determination). She has also interned at a private law firm specializing in family law and served on the NAACP leadership board at her college.
Winnebago County (17th Judicial Circuit)
Semaite Abiy – Semaite is from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and is a graduate of Beloit College, where he majored in Anthropology and minored in Philosophy and Political Science. He is currently pursuing a Post-Baccalaureate Certification in Specialized Studies from Northwestern University. Semaite has interned at Prairie State Legal Services in Rockford, Danya Institute, and at the United States Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya.
Please join us in congratulating the new class of ILJC Fellows and encouraging their efforts to make Illinois courts more welcoming and accessible for self-represented litigants throughout the state.