Leslie Corbett joined the Illinois Equal Justice Foundation (IEJF) as its first full-time Executive Director in October 2004 overseeing the distribution of the state appropriation for legal services for low-income people. Charged with directing the grant making and administrative aspects of the Foundation, Ms. Corbett also works with the state legislature, the Attorney General’s Office, constituent groups and other stakeholders to educate them on the necessary role of the state in the legal aid delivery system. In 2005, she led the bi-partisan team that successfully quadrupled the state appropriation for civil legal aid services.
Prior to her position with the IEJF, Ms. Corbett served as the first Associate Director of the Chicago Bar Foundation. Ms. Corbett coordinated the grants program as well as the awards, fellowship and scholarship programs. She also staffed the Illinois Coalition for Equal Justice and Chicago Bar Association Legal Aid Committee.
Additionally, Ms. Corbett served as Executive Director of Coordinated Advice and Referral Program for Legal Services (CARPLS), a revolutionary legal aid hotline that provides legal advice, information and referrals to low-income residents of Cook County, Illinois. Ms. Corbett began her service with CARPLS in 1993 and became Executive Director in 1997, holding the position for six years. During her tenure at CARPLS, she served as an officer and founding member of the Illinois Technology Center for Law and the Public Interest (now Illinois Legal Aid Online).
Ms. Corbett started her career in legal services in 1990 at Chicago Legal Aid to Incarcerated Mothers (CLAIM) as a paralegal and volunteer coordinator. She has held internships with the Crossroads Fund, the American College of Surgeons and the Ohio Governor’s Office.
Ms. Corbett was nominated to the inaugural Ella Baker Fellowship program, a partnership between the Antioch Graduate School and the Chicago Historical Society, in 2003. Also in 2003, she received the Golden Gavel Award from CARPLS in recognition of her years of service to the organization. Additionally, she received the Liberty Bell Award, given to a non-lawyer for advancing the ideals of the law, liberty and individual and community responsibility, from the Young Lawyers Section of the Chicago Bar Association in 1997.
Ms. Corbett currently serves as Chair of the Pro Se Advisory Committee of the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County. She has served as President of the Board of Directors of the Crossroads Fund and as a Board Director of the League of Women Voters of Chicago, Court-Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Cook County and Women United for A Better Chicago
Ms. Corbett earned a Masters degree in Social Work from the Jane Addams College of Social Work at the University of Illinois at Chicago and her undergraduate degree in Communication Studies from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. She hails from Youngstown, Ohio, but has called Chicago home since 1987. She resides in the Beverly neighborhood of Chicago with her husband, Aaron Chenoweth, and their daughter, Eleanor.