The meeting was held at the Italian Village (71 W. Monroe St.), on Thursday, February 15, 2018.
CALL Vice President Joe Mitzenmacher welcomed the membership. There were 85 attendees at the meeting. Joe also welcomed several new members: Virginia Brown, Quarles & Brady; Sarah Erekson, Chicago Public Library; Mandy Lee, Chicago-Kent Law Library; Matthew Matkowski, student at the University of Illinois iSchool; and Sarah Sherman, Supreme Court of Illinois Library.
Joe introduced and thanked the meeting sponsor, ABA Publishing. Sharon Kube and Amelia Stone spoke briefly on behalf of ABA Publishing. They discussed the law library package plan – a discount program for books and periodicals.
Joe introduced the meeting’s speaker, David Marzahl, who is the CEO of the Center for Economic Progress (CEP). Marzahl stated that he would be speaking about CEP’s mission and the recently passed tax plan. However, before that he wanted to talk about CEP’s volunteers and staff. He mentioned that CALL member Donna Tuke was a long-time volunteer. He also mentioned that CEP works with many legal partners and that last year CPAs and attorneys donated 2000 hours of their time, which assisted 20,000 households in 15 communities. CEP mobilizes 1000 volunteers to assist low-income families in three core programs. CEP has 22 permanent staff members, who have a high level of expertise. Volunteers do not need to have a high level of expertise. Volunteers love the one-on-one opportunity to work with the families.
David explained CEP’s mission is to provide low-income, working families with tax and financial services. CEP provides direct services such as tax preparation, financial education, and improving credit scores. CEP also takes an active public policy role. CEP serves an important need because the regulatory and legal landscape is growing more complex along with growth in economic inequality. In fact, half of all Americans do not have $500 in the bank for an emergency. This is one reason that CEP pays close attention to pay day loan lending regulations. CEP has also been closely monitoring the new tax plan.
David went into a detailed discussion of the new tax plan. He mentioned that passing the new plan was highly partisan, much more so than the last major tax update in 1986. He also mentioned that at this point it is difficult to fully understand the implications of the changes. He noted that most tax payers will not need to make changes to their withholding amounts, and they will see a slight decrease in the amount of federal taxes owed in 2018. He also noted that many tax payers may no longer be able to claim the Child Tax Credit and they may no longer benefit from itemizing deductions. David concluded his talk by giving a quick plug for volunteering at CEP. He mentioned that CEP provides online and in-person training in both Chicago and the suburbs, and that volunteers can work as tax preparers, as a savings coach, or participate in CEP’s Project Money program.
Carolyn Hersch announced that the Government Relations Committee survey would be coming out later in the afternoon. Jamie Sommer and Julie Swanson announced that CALL was sponsoring a service event at the Greater Chicago Food Depository. Todd Ito from Grants & Chapter Awards asked members to submit nominations for the chapter awards: life-time achievement, in-house publications, and outstanding contribution to the profession.
Then, Joe announced the slate of candidates for the CALL election and explained that the election opens on February 16th. The slate was:
- Jessie LeMar, Skadden Arps
- Shari Berkowitz, Jones Day
- Julie Swanson, Locke Lord
- Sarah Andeen, Chapman & Cutler
- Jesse Bowman, Northwestern
- Clanitra Nejdl, Northern Illinois
Joe thanked all the committee members for putting together the slate: Julie Pabarja, Joann Hounshell, Diana Koppang, Juanita Harrell, and Debbie Ginsberg.
The business meeting door prizes were donated by Lexis Nexis and the winners were Sarah Sherman from the Illinois Supreme Court and Janice Collins from Dentons.