Courtney Kelledes

PHOTO DESCRIPTION: Courtney, a white woman with red hair pulled back, smiles at the camera in front of a teal background. She wears a black suit over a grey dress with a white collar.

Courtney fights for individuals with past records and criminal legal 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 support to individuals facing systemic barriers to employment.  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. She is frequently asked to advise highly skilled defense attorneys in collateral consequences, and often works with other practitioners in identifying outcomes that consider long-term impacts and solutions for clients facing new criminal charges. Across professional roles, Courtney has built collaborative partnerships, developed innovative models of service delivery, and supported policy work led by directly impacted people.

Courtney currently volunteers with the Chicago Community Bond Fund, John Howard Association C-Number Project, and Chicago Legal Clinic’s Blank Slate Records Program. Through her work she has had such victories as freeing a man incarcerated for over 40 years, winning sealing orders for multiple clients with violent convictions, and supporting the freedom of individuals unable to pay bail. 

In addition, Courtney is an adjunct professor at DePaul University College of Law where she co-teaches the Croak Community Criminal Justice Legal Clinic. In this role, she continues her work facilitating partnerships between community-based organizations and (future) lawyers. As a professor, she hopes to contribute to students’ growth as advocates by teaching substantive law through the lens of supporting community empowerment.

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.

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