2018 Philip H. Corboy Lecture in Advocacy

Combatting Systematic Discrimination that Impacts the Dream of Home Ownership for Minorities

Monday, October 29
6 p.m. - 7:30 p.m

Loyola University Chicago School of Law 
Philip H. Corboy Law Center
Power Rogers & Smith Ceremonial Courtroom, 10th Floor
25 E. Pearson Street, Chicago

The American dream of home ownership is a dream that does not come true for large numbers of African Americans, other people of color and the poor. If the dream does come true, it is more nightmare than dream. The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein has educated and reminded many of us about the actions taken to thwart integration and minority home ownership. Unfortunately, there are many stories about housing discrimination in Chicago. This lecture will cover some past and present events and the strategies used to combat systematic discrimination.

In the 1960s a group of North Lawndale, Chicago residents attempted to push back against the systematic discrimination. They formed the Contract Buyers League. With the help of Jack Macnamara and attorney Tom Sullivan they developed strategies to combat, the onerous and abusive contracts to which they had unwittingly agreed.

The systematic roadblocks that continue to turn dreams of home ownership to nightmares still exist. Attorney Aneel Chablani is one of the attorneys who filed a lawsuit against Cook County alleging its property tax system gives greater breaks to those with expensive homes than those with lower valued homes. The majority of people impacted by this disparity are poor or people of color. It is alleged this property tax system produces inaccurate assessments that punish the poor and minorities and leads to the risk of loss of homeownership due to the inability to pay exaggerated taxes.


  • J. Cunyon Gordon, Director of the Settlement Assistance Program, Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights


  • Jack Macnamara (BS '61, MA '65), Center for Urban Research and Learning Visiting Scholar, Loyola University Chicago
  • Thomas P. Sullivan, (JD '52), Partner, Jenner & Block
  • Aneel Chablani, (JD '97), Advocacy Director, Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights

Reception to follow

This program has been approved by the Illinois MCLE Board for 1.5 credit hours. 

Free and open to the public.  Admission is $10 for those seeking Illinois MCLE credit.



Professor Adrienne D. Mebane, Associate Director of the Dan K. Webb Center for Advocacy 

Opening Remarks
J. Cunyon Gordon, Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights 

The Story of the Contract Buyers League and Circumstances Leading to Litigation

Strategies Developed by the Community to Combat Systematic Racism
Jack Macnamara, Loyola University Chicago 

Pro Bono Legal Services Provided to Community Activists
Thomas P. Sullivan, Jenner and Block 

Unequal Property Tax Burdens and Lawsuit against the Cook County Assessor
Aneel L. Chablani, Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights 

Q & A

Reception to Follow


Speaker Biographies


J. Cunyon Gordon, Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights

J. Cunyon Gordon is the director of the Settlement Assistance Program with Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights.  In this role, Cunyon evaluates cases and potential clients, recruits volunteer attorneys, and represents litigants in cases in which she is unable to find a match.  Prior to Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights, Cunyon was of counsel at Eimer Stahl Klevorn & Solberg, during which time she was an early volunteer with SAP.  Cunyon was also a civil litigator at Jenner & Block for ten years, where she earned the distinction of being the first black woman to make partner at the then 75-year old firm.  Cunyon was previously an attorney with the U. S. Navy JAG, and has taught as a distinguished visiting professor for the Boston University School of Law and visiting professor for Seattle University School of Law.



Jack Macnamara (BS ’61, MA ’65 ), Loyola University Chicago

Jack Macnamara is a Center for Urban Research and Learning (CURL) visiting scholar at Loyola University Chicago.  His research and action interests include financial exploitation of African American communities, critical pedagogy, social emotional learning, culture of peace and non-violence in schools, and community participation in the development of culture and discipline in schools serving under-resourced and oppressed communities.  Jack has served as chairman of the school board at St. Francis Xavier in Wilmette, on the board of trustees at Loyola Academy, and as the founding chairperson of the Archdiocese of Chicago Pastoral Council.  He also was on the advisory committee and directed the Feasibility Study for Christ the King Jesuit College Preparatory School on the west side of Chicago.  He currently serves on the board of Austin Coming Together (ACT).  Jack was the chief organizer of the Contract Buyers League of Chicago.  


Thomas P. Sullivan (JD ’52), Jenner & Block

Thomas (Tom) P. Sullivan is a partner with the Chicago law firm of Jenner & Block.  He has handled civil and criminal trial and appellate litigation for more than 55 years.  He has been with Jenner & Block since 1954, except for his time as U. S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois between 1977 and 1981.  Tom has argued a multitude of cases in the Illinois Supreme Court, the U.S. Supreme Court, and many federal Courts of Appeal.  He was lead counsel for the Contract Buyers League of Chicago in its litigation from 1968 to 1977, and he served as the independent monitor for the Chicago Housing Authority relocation of the near south side high rise building residents during 2002 and 2003.


Aneel L. Chablani (JD ’97), Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights

Aneel L. Chablani serves as advocacy director for Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights where he works with staff on the development of systemic litigation and advocacy reflecting the race-equity mission and community-driven priorities of Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights.  Previously, Aneel served as director of advocacy at Advocates for Basic Legal Equality (ABLE) in northwest Ohio where he worked with an advocacy management team on development of impact litigation and broad-based advocacy in practice groups covering housing and community economic development, education, healthcare and public benefits, and migrant farmworker rights.  Aneel began his legal career with LAF in Chicago working in the areas of housing and consumer rights.  He currently serves on the advisory board for the Shriver Center’s Racial Justice Institute.