Courtney Kelledes fights for individuals with past records and criminal justice system involvement to restore their rights and opportunities. She has been advocating for individuals with records in Illinois since 2011. With her focus on this work she brings a passion for people and community.
Before co-founding Rights and Restoration Law Group LLC, Courtney was the Director of Employment Training at Growing Home in Englewood. There she led a multidisciplinary team in providing holistic employment support to motivated job seekers. Prior to Growing Home, Courtney was Cabrini Green Legal Aid’s Lead Attorney of Collaborative Partnerships where she successfully represented hundreds of individuals in petitions for Sealing and Expungement, Certificates of Rehabilitation, Health Care Worker Waivers, Executive Clemency, and Professional Licensing. At Cabrini Green Legal Aid, Courtney facilitated numerous CLEs, training upwards of 200 pro bono attorneys annually from some of Chicago’s largest law firms in collateral consequences and records relief law. Across professional roles, Courtney has built collaborative partnerships, developed innovative models of service delivery, and supported policy work led by directly impacted people. She is frequently asked to advise highly skilled defense attorneys in collateral consequences, and most recently presented at a Criminal Defense and Plaintiffs’ Civil Rights Conference in Honolulu, Hawai’i.
Courtney currently volunteers with the Chicago Community Bond Fund, John Howard Association C-Number Project, Cabrini Green Legal Aid, CARPLS, and DePaul’s Neighborhood Legal Assistance Project. Through her work she has had such victories as freeing a man that was incarcerated for over 40 years, winning sealing orders for multiple clients with violent convictions, and supporting the freedom of individuals unable to pay bail.
Courtney graduated from DePaul University College of Law cum laude, with a certificate in public interest law, and earned her bachelor’s degree cum laude from Eastern Michigan University. While she is originally from the metro-Detroit and spent a number of years in Santa Fe, she now lives on Chicago’s South Side and has called the city home since 2010.