The Chicago Law and Education Foundation launched a pilot clinic at Little Village Lawndale High School during the 2009-2010 school year.The legal clinic was once a week after school. High school students helped operate the clinic, serving as initial intake, providing translation services for Spanish speaking clients, and working on the various initiatives.

CLEF was formed to expand that legal program to other schools the following school year. From there, CLEF became more present through different communities in the Chicago area through its distinctive Chicago Public Schools (CPS)  and Chicago Public Libraries (CPL) partnerships. During the school year, CLEF held various free legal clinics after school that were open to CPS students and community members. During the summer, CLEF operated through CPL near the partner schools. 

Our programs have included: free after-school and open-house legal clinics, and initiatives such as: Housing Stability, Immigration/DACA and Juvenile Criminal Record Expungement. CLEF has helped thousands of low-income undocumented families save more than $100,000 in legal fees and materials through its comprehensive legal aid clinics, educational resources, and its network.