LAF (Legal Assistance Foundation)
LAF (formerly The Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago) provides free civil legal services to individuals and families in Chicago and suburban Cook County who are unable to afford an attorney. Households with limited assets and income at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty line may qualify for free legal help.
We have higher income limits for homeowners at risk of foreclosure, seniors, veterans, people living with HIV-AIDS, and domestic violence survivors seeking protection from an abuser.
In addition, a person must be a:
We can provide limited services for
While we cannot provide legal assistance in all immigration cases, we can talk to you to find out what kind of help you might need, and refer somewhere where we think you can get that help.
MCLD provides information to the general public on the rights of deaf and hard-of-hearing people, and helps deaf and hard of hearing people find attorneys willing to provide accessible legal services. If you or a deaf or hard-of-hearing person you know needs a lawyer, please call MCLD to help you find one.
Northwestern Bluhm Legal Clinic
The Children and Family Justice Center of the Bluhm Legal Clinic at Northwestern University School of Law represents children between the ages of six and eighteen in juvenile delinquency hearings, school expulsion hearings, and juvenile record expungement cases.
The desk is open on Thursdays from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Catholic Charities Legal Assistance
The mission of Catholic Charities Legal Assistance (CCLA) is to provide access to compassionate and competent legal assistance to the economically disadvantaged in the Chicago area.
Cabrini Green Legal Aid (CGLA) has strengthened lives, assisted families and supported communities – one person at a time for over 40 years. CGLA does more than give people a second chance – they are addressing the root causes of unemployment, homelessness, poverty and other challenges that contribute to crime and recidivism. This is accomplished by combining high-quality legal services with supportive services coordinated through strategic partnerships with social service providers, government agencies, and other legal aid organizations. Legal representation focuses on those negatively impacted by the criminal justice system through criminal defense work, criminal records work and civil cases that arise from criminal justice system involvement.
Who We Serve
CGLA provides both criminal and civil legal services, integrated with social work support, to individuals facing barriers stemming from an encounter with the criminal justice system. We provide services in areas of acute need, including criminal records relief, defense, family and housing law. We partner with scores of law firms, corporate legal departments, and law schools to tap thousands of pro bono hours that multiply our impact.
· Criminal Records Program: CGLA assists individuals in clearing their arrest and conviction records through a range of legal remedies, including expungement, sealing, clemency, health care waivers, certificates of good conduct, and certificates of relief from disability. The program includes our Help Desks at the Daley Center and the Markham Courthouse, our Criminal Records Corps of trained law students who bring these services to clients of homeless agencies, and individual advice and representation by staff and volunteer attorneys, including for clients of workforce development agencies and other partner organizations that serve people who face these barriers.
· Criminal Defense Program: CGLA is the only private agency in Chicago that provides criminal defense services to adults and juveniles throughout the City, positioning CGLA as the sole alternative to the Public Defender’s Office. CGLA’s criminal cases involve those who are unjustly accused, juveniles, those suffering from mental illness, first-time offenders, or others for whom CGLA believes our intervention can make a significant difference in the individual’s life. Each case that CGLA accepts is closely examined to ensure that we are, in fact, the best organization to assist the prospective client.
· Family Law: CGLA represents individuals in family court, focusing our representation on previously unmarried parties (parentage cases) addressing issues of child support, child custody, child visitation and establishing paternity. We provide representation to biological parents seeking to discharge guardianship of their children, as well as represent respondents in orders of protection. We provide direct representation in complex and contested family law cases in our focused areas; legal referrals, advice, and pro-se document support; and community education and training.
· Housing Law: CGLA’s Housing Law Program focuses on a significant area of need: defending tenants of subsidized housing who are unjustly threatened with eviction or voucher termination based on an allegation of criminal activity by a lease holder, family member, or guest. Additionally, CGLA represents individuals denied admission to subsidized housing based on criminal records. CGLA’s efforts help prevent homelessness, displacement, and forced neighborhood relocation.
· Client Support Services: Designed to complement our legal services, this program engages social workers to help growing numbers of our legal clients address challenges relevant to their legal problem as well as overcome barriers to leveraging a legal victory for positive life change.
Expungement Help Desks
-Richard J. Daley Center, 50 West Washington 10th Floor, Room 1006, Chicago, IL
-Markham Courthouse, 16501 Kedzie Avenue, Room 119, Markham, IL
-Juvenile Help Desk, Juvenile Court Building, 1100 S. Hamilton, ground floor (in partnership with LAF)
The Help Desks are available on a first-come, first-serve basis and provide a space for a person to receive individualized consultations and pro se document preparation for criminal records services. One must have a current rap sheet to be advised if they have any arrests in the City of Chicago, either as an adult or juvenile. To obtain a rap sheet, please go to the Chicago Police Department, located at 3510 S. Michigan Avenue. Anyone seeking a rap sheet must first be fingerprinted and pay a $16 fee (juvenile rap sheets, however, are free). Fingerprints are taken Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 12:30 pm. Rap sheets can be picked up Monday through Friday the following week (juvenile rap sheets are available the same day).
At the Help Desks, CGLA staff attorneys and trained volunteers will look at an individual’s rap sheet and research the corresponding court records. If she/he qualifies, we help fill out the expungement or sealing forms. Individuals who do not qualify for expungement or sealing will be informed about alternative forms of relief from a criminal record and if meets guidelines, will be referred to CGLA or other appropriate legal aid agency.
Volunteer attorneys provide advice and referrals in the areas of family, housing, and consumer law issues.
To Make an Appointment: You must call our intake number, (312) 986-4200, during intake hours: Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Appointment Hours: Hours are second Saturday of every month from 9am to 12pm.
We provide the following services:
Advice and Representation on Family Law Issues
Advice and Representation on Housing and Consumer Issues
The Legal Program at Center on Halsted provides members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community with referrals to attorneys specializing in areas such as discrimination, adoption, custody, personal injury, criminal cases, harassment, contracts, wills, and bankruptcy. Referrals are made to attorneys who are sensitive to, and experienced in matters related to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer issues.
The Kane Legal Clinic operates out of the Chicago Lighthouse at 1850 West Roosevelt Road, Chicago IL 60608. We provide free legal services for people with vision impairments who cannot afford a lawyer. Please call 312-666-1331 and ask for Judge Pomaro. In most cases, you will need to come to the clinic, however when you speak to the clinic director by phone, that can be determined. Appointments are generally on Monday or Thursday, but you may leave a message with your problem at any time, and the judge will return your call by the next business day.
Asian American Legal Services Clinic
Asian American Legal Services Clinic offers legal services to the pan-Asian, immigrant, refugee, and low-income communities of Chicago. Legal help is free to those living at or below 125% of the Federal Poverty Level. The Clinic offers legal services to individuals with income above this level for a small fee in the areas of immigration, consumer issues, divorce, child custody, housing, employment, and public assistance.
A monthly free legal clinic is offered on the first Wednesday of every month in the evening by volunteer attorneys at Asian Human Services' Uptown office.
Clients must provide their own translator.
Please contact Chicago Volunteer Legal Services (CVLS) to schedule an appointment for the Legal Services Clinic at (312) 332-1624.
The Self Help Web Center provides free computer workstations at the Daley Center Courthouse where people who cannot find an attorney can access legal resources over the internet in many areas of law. These internet resources include:
CARPLS is an innovative legal aid service that offers an immediate response to the everyday legal problems confronting impoverished families throughout Cook County. Our legal aid hotline and court-based advice desks give low-income clients direct access to experienced attorneys who are trained to quickly assess and respond to a wide range of civil legal problems. CARPLS attorneys resolve over 85% of all cases in-house by providing information, advice and brief services including the preparation and review of legal documents. Clients with more complex needs are referred by CARPLS to a network of specialized legal and social service providers.
The AIDS Legal Council of Chicago serves economically disadvantaged people in Cook County who: (1) are HIV+, living with AIDS, or perceived as such; (2) have legal claims that are HIV/AIDS-related; and (3) have annual household income under 300% of the federal poverty level.**
We offer counseling and direct services related to the following issues, when those issues are related to the individual's HIV status:
Lambda Legal is committed to achieving full recognition of the civil right of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV. The Midwest Regional Office has three attorneys devoted to sexual orientation, gender identity, and HIV/AIDS issues.
Lambda's Legal Help Desk responds directly to members of our communit(ies) who are seeking legal information and assistance with discrimination related to sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and HIV status.
The Midwest Regional Office accepts Help Desk calls at any time during business hours (M-F 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.). Call 312-663-4413, ask for the Help Desk, and a Help Desk staff person will assist you. If Help Desk staff is busy helping other callers, your call will automatically be routed to the Legal Help Desk voicemail.
CVLS represents low-income Chicagoans with a wide variety of civil legal problems, including divorce, adult and minor guardianships, adoption, tort defense, collection defense, bankruptcy, and landlord-tenant. CVLS accepts clients whose income is up to 175% of the Federal Poverty guideline.
Domestic Relations Self Help Desk
The Domestic Relations Self Help Desk offers free legal consultations to low-income people who cannot afford an attorney. CARPLS attorneys help people represent themselves in court on simple family matters and resolve issues after a divorce order is entered. People should bring all court documents with them, and will be served on a first come, first served basis. No appointment is necessary.
Hours are 9 am to - 1 pm, Monday through Friday (clients may check into the Resource Center in CL 16 prior to 9 am).
The Domestic Violence Legal Clinic serves survivors of domestic violence who need legal assistance. We use our location at the Cook County Domestic Violence Courthouse (555 W. Harrison, Chicago) to provide same-day services for people who need Orders of Protection. Our intake hours are Monday - Friday, from 8:30-1:30 (or until we reach capacity). To apply for our Order of Protection services, come to our office during our intake hours and speak with a staff member. We cannot guarantee that we will be able to represent you.
DVLC also provides comprehensive family law services. To apply for assistance in a parentage or divorce case, please call our office at 312-325-9155.
Chicago Legal Clinic, Inc. - Downtown Office
The Chicago Legal Clinic, Inc. (Clinic) provides legal representation on a sliding scale based on household income to disadvantaged individuals from its four offices.
Areas of law include: collection defense, debt counseling, environmental law, expungement of criminal records, family law (adoption, child support, divorce, paternity, visitation, and assistance to victims of domestic violence), guardianship of disabled adults, immigration, landlord/tenant, real estate closings, and social security disability claims.
The offices are located in the following locations: Austin Office: 118 North Central Avenue, Chicago, IL 60644; Downtown Office: 211 West Wacker Drive, Suite 750, Chicago, IL 60606; Pilsen Office: 1914 S. Ashland Street – Lower Level, Chicago, IL 60608; and South Chicago Office: 2938 E. 91st Street, Chicago, IL 60617. For an appointment at a Clinic Office, individuals should call: 773-731-1762.
The Clinic operates the following Advice Desks that provide free legal assistance: Chancery Advice Desk: Richard J. Daley Center 50 West Washington Street Room CL-16 Chicago, IL 60602 Parentage and Child Support Pro Se Advice Desk: Richard J. Daley Center 50 West Washington Street Concourse Level, CL 24 Chicago, IL 60602.
LAF (Legal Assistance Foundation) staffs a Domestic Violence help desk at the Markham Courthouse on the 2nd and 4th Mondays of every month. LAF attorneys and volunteers provide advice, brief services and, in some cases, representation in court. Attorneys are happy to review pleadings, talk about the facts of a particular case, or discuss the procedure that victims of domestic violence can use to obtain protections such as Orders of Protection. In very limited circumstances, the attorney may refer the case for representation to LAF staff attorneys.
CAIR-Chicago is a local chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). CAIR is the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights organization and was established to promote an accurate image of Islam and Muslims in America. CAIR-Chicago’s mission is to defend civil rights, fight bigotry, and promote tolerance. The Civil Rights Department counsels, mediates, and advocates on behalf of Muslims and others who have experienced religious discrimination, defamation, or hate crimes. The department works to protect and defend the constitutional rights of Muslims to freely practice their religion and be treated in a non-discriminatory manner.
In addition to pursuing individual complaints of religious discrimination reported to CAIR-Chicago, the Civil Rights Department has implemented several ongoing special projects that target important issues in the diverse Muslim communities. The Citizenship Delay Project works to end the lengthy delays in the citizenship process for Muslims applying for U.S. citizenship. The Employment Discrimination Project assists Muslims facing religious discrimination in the workplace. The Travel Free Project deals with complaints of Muslims encountering problems while traveling. The Police Misconduct Project advocates and represents clients in cases of discriminatory treatment by law enforcement. The FBI Project assists individuals contacted by FBI agents, fully protecting their constitutional rights when being questioned. The Prison Project secures the rights of Muslim inmates to practice their religion freely as well as seeks to ensure that inmates are treated humanely.
If you feel you have been the victim of any form of discrimination because you are Muslim, or because you were mistaken to be Muslim, please contact CAIR-Chicago at 312-212-1520 to see how we can help.
Equip for Equality
The mission of Equip for Equality is to advance the human and civil rights of children and adults with physical and mental disabilities in Illinois. Equip for Equality serves people who have:
Some of our work involves assistive technology needs, voting access and participation for individuals with disabilities, and vocational rehabilitation services, employment services, and other support services for Social Security beneficiaries with disabilities.
How to Request Services
People seeking assistance should call (800) 537-2632 on Monday, Wednesday, or Friday between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. We accept limited calls on Tuesday and Thursday from individuals in institutions (usually when they are emergencies only).
Lawyers Committee for Better Housing (LCBH) helps low and moderate income renters in Chicago, including Housing Choice Voucher holders. LCBH accepts clients on a case-by-case basis depending on need and situation. To qualify for services ALL renters must go through the LCBH intake process. Eviction cases often move very quickly, so contact our office as soon as possible to allow enough time for us determine if and how we can help.
To find out if LCBH can help you, call 312-784-3527.
We provide FREE legal assistance to renters to help resolve serious housing issues, such as:
· Eviction (5 day notice/non-payment of rent, alleged criminal activity, leave violations, etc.)
· Building foreclosure (foreclosure assistance is also available statewide)
· Housing discrimination
· Unsafe apartment or building conditions (broken doors or windows, bedbugs, roaches, rats, mice, mold, burst pipes, no heat, leaking roof, etc.)
· Landlord retaliation because you are trying to solve a problem in the building
The Center for Disability and Elder Law (CDEL) provides high-quality, pro bono legal assistance to persons marginalized by poverty, age and/or disability. CDEL’s organizational structure consists of a modest in-house staff which supports a network of hundreds of volunteer attorneys and paralegals. CDEL volunteers provide legal representation in a wide range of civil practice areas including: guardianship, simple estate planning, landlord/tenant, consumer fraud, civil rights, elder abuse and real estate. CDEL has also developed a number of limited engagement opportunities for those volunteers that are unable to handle cases that require long-term client commitments.
Adult Guardian Help Desk
CDEL also administers the Adult Guardianship Help Desk at the Daley Center. The Help Desk assists persons who will appear without a lawyer in court proceedings for the adjudication of disability for an alleged disabled adult and appointment of a personal guardian. The staff will help you understand the court process and assist you in filling out required court forms. However, the Help Desk does not give legal advice or provide legal representation.
Help Desk services are provided on a first-come, first-served basis Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on all days that the Circuit Court is in session. Help Desk staff does not provide assistance for proceedings in which a guardianship of the estate may be required or if the guardianship proceeding may be contested. Staff will provide referral information to other resources or to private attorney referral services for representation in these cases.
LAF (Legal Assistance Foundation) staffs an eviction help desk at the Markham Courthouse on alternating Mondays. LAF attorneys and volunteers provide advice, brief services and, in some cases, representation in court. Attorneys are introduced by the Judge at the start of the eviction call and then go out into the hallway. Anyone who wishes to talk with the attorney can do so for a limited time in the hallway. Attorneys are happy to review pleadings, talk about the facts of a particular case, or discuss the procedure that landlords must follow to evict a tenant. In very limited circumstances (usually only where there is a subsidized tenancy), the attorney may refer the case for representation to LAF staff attorneys.
Chicago Coalition for the Homeless Law Project
The Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) organizes and advocates to prevent and end homelessness based on our belief that housing is a human right in a just society. The Law Project provides civil legal services in select cases that will advance the legal rights and remedies of persons experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness.
Access Living of Metropolitan Chicago is a cross disability organization governed and staffed by a majority of people with disabilities. Its Civil Rights Team enforces federal, state and local civil rights laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Fair Housing Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, which prohibit discrimination against persons with disabilities. The Team counsels persons with disabilities about their civil rights and provides representation in cases implicating important disability rights issues. Cases focus on access to housing, government services, and public accommodations (e.g., businesses).
The Family Defense Center's mission is to advocate justice for families in the child welfare system. We advocate for families who need our help the most: families threatened with losing their children to foster care.
The Family Defense Center provides legal representation in DCFS administrative hearings and a very limited number of child protection cases in the Juvenile Court of Cook County. These cases include, but are not necessarily limited to, providing legal advice during DCFS investigations and appealing DCFS "indicated" findings. Please note that while we can sometimes assist persons who live outside of Cook, Kane, Dupage, Lake, McHenry and Will County, we typically only provide direct representations in DCFS administrative hearings held in that five county area. Please contact us if you are seeking assistance with an Illinois DCFS case.
We charge sliding-scale fees for legal services. Our fees are determined based on your income and the size of your family. Families whose incomes are below 125% of the federal poverty guidelines are eligible for free or pro bono services. Before we agree to take your case, we will notify you in writing of any fees we are charging, including modest consultation fees for advice and referrals. We consider all requests for assistance on a case-by-case basis.
The mission of the Disability Rights Legal Center (DRLC) is to champion the rights of people with disabilities through education, advocacy, and litigation.
The Cancer Legal Resource Center (CLRC) is a national, joint program of the Disability Rights Legal Center and Loyola Law School Los Angeles. The CLRC provides free information and resources on cancer-related legal issues to cancer survivors, caregivers, health care professionals, employers, and others coping with cancer.
A cancer diagnosis may carry with it a variety of legal issues, including insurance coverage, employment and taking time off work, access to health care and government benefits, and estate planning. These legal issues can cause people unnecessary worry, confusion, and stress, and can be overwhelming. When these legal issues are not addressed, people may find that although they have gotten through treatment, they have lost their homes, jobs, or insurance coverage.
Where Do You Turn For Help?
The CLRC has a national, toll-free Telephone Assistance Line (866-THE-CLRC) where callers can receive free and confidential information about relevant laws and resources for their particular situation. Members of the CLRC's Professional Panel of attorneys, insurance agents, and accountants can provide additional assistance.
The CLRC has assisted tens of thousands of individuals on the Telephone Assistance Line (866-THE-CLRC). Since its founding in 1997, the CLRC remains unique, providing invaluable cancer-related legal information and resources to people nationwide. The success of the Center's work is reflected in the enormous need for the information it provides. The CLRC continues to serve patients, caregivers, survivors, and others coping with cancer through the Telephone Assistance Line, conferences, seminars, workshops, education and outreach programs, and other cancer community activities.
For additional questions, please email CLRC@LLS.edu.
Visit www.CancerLegalResourceCenter.org for more information about cancer-related legal issues and services provided by the Cancer Legal Resource Center
If you or someone you know is in being held in custody by the Chicago Police Department, immediately call 1-800-LAW-REP-4 (1-800-529-7374) for a free lawyer, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
For over 15 years, First Defense Legal Aid has been dedicated to issues of indigent defense, police accountability, and the protection of civil rights. FDLA's mission is two-pronged: to ensure equal justice to people in custody at Chicago Police stations and to educate the people of Chicago about the power of their Constitutional rights.
First, FDLA provides a free, reliable, and experienced lawyer to individuals who are arrested in the city of Chicago. The FDLA attorney is available at the initial and most critical stage of the criminal justice process: from the time of arrest until the court system assigns a Public Defender. At the police station, the attorney helps the client understand and assert his rights, gathers information about arrest and detainment, documents evidence of police brutality, advocates for medical treatment, and informs the family and friends of the detainee throughout the process.
Second, in an effort to promote the Chicago Police Custody Hotline and educate Chicagoans on the power of their Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendment rights, FDLA presents Street Law in schools and community groups. The Street Law presentations focus on what to do if you are stopped, searched, or arrested by the police, how to assert your rights on the street and at the station, and what to do if you feel that the police have violated your civil rights.
The Chicago Lawyers' Committee works to protect the civil rights of poor, minority and disadvantaged people. Our work is in the area of education, employment opportunity, fair housing, hate crimes and community economic development.
The Lawyers' Committee also runs a pro bono program to represent students in CPS expulsion hearings. Please contact us to do an intake interview if you have a student in that situation.
The CARPLS Municipal Court Advice Desk provides free legal help to low income individuals with cases pending in the Municipal Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County (under $50,000). Cases include evictions, contracts, small claims, and collections. CARPLS attorneys interview and advise individuals regarding their legal rights and options. Services provided include legal advice, help with the preparation of court documents, and assistance with settlement negotiations. Referrals may also be made to an attorney for representation when necessary.
ACLU of Illinois/Roger Baldwin Foundation
The ACLU is devoted to protecting and expanding the civil liberties and civil rights of all Americans. The Roger Baldwin Foundation is the litigation arm of the ACLU of Illinois. Our cases raise issues of freedom of religion, police practices, education, and discrimination. We have special projects addressing AIDS and civil liberties, gay and lesbian rights, the rights of children and institutionalized persons, reproductive rights, and race and poverty.
Circuit Court of Cook County Foreclosure Mediation Program
The Circuit Court of Cook County Mortgage Foreclosure Mediation Program provides free assistance to Cook County homeowners in foreclosure.
Homeowners who have received a foreclosure summons should call the toll-free help line at 877.895.2444 (or 312.836.5222 TDD) to schedule a free meeting with a housing counselor – this is the first step in the mediation process. Housing counselors are located at 69 W. Washington and at the Richard J. Daley Center, Room 1303. Walk-in appointments are not available.
To participate in the mediation program, homeowners must:
*Homeowners concerned about their mortgages, but who have not received a summons from the court and are not currently in foreclosure, should consult www.CookCountyForeclosureHelp.org for a list of available resources.
The Pro Se Help Desk provides assistance to individuals representing themselves in Pro Se Court without a lawyer where they are seeking to recover money damages up to $1,500. Typical cases include auto damage, clothing loss or damage, debt collection, and tenant/landlord claims. Those filing a case may visit the Pro Se Help Desk for free assistance in interpreting and filling out court documents. Trained staff members also advise pro se plaintiffs and defendants of any required court fees and provide explanations of how to follow the judge's orders. The staff of the Pro Se Help Desk does not provide legal advice.
Hours are 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday.
Foreign language interpreters are available upon request. To request an interpreter for a language other than Spanish or Polish, please notify the Pro Se Help Desk at 312-603-5626 prior to your arrival.
The Judge William J. Hibbler Memorial Pro Se Assistance Program
Lawyers provide self represented persons in federal court with information, advice and limited legal help at The Judge William J. Hibbler Memorial Pro Se Assistance Program. We do not represent people in court, but can help with preparing court documents, provide information about federal court procedures, and help find free legal information. We also refer people to legal aid offices and social services that might offer further help. The Help Desk also provides free access to a computer to find online legal information, forms and resources.
Hours are Wednesday - Friday, by appointment only. Appointments can be made at the Clerk's office on the 20th floor or by calling 312-435-5691.
Illinois Pension Assistance Project
The Illinois Pension Assistance Project, staffed by experienced pension lawyers and pension counselors, helps you understand your rights under pension law and claim the retirement income benefits that you have earned. The assistance is free of charge to anyone who lives in Illinois with a pension question or problem, regardless of age or income.
Contact us to:
For assistance call our intake line toll-free at 888.425.6067.
or complete our online form at:
The Law Project (TLP) of the Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights meets the transactional legal needs of nonprofit community organizations and low income entrepreneurs by recruiting volunteer attorneys to negotiate and review contracts and leases, develop or revise corporate documents (bylaws, board policies, etc.), protect intellectual property, develop or revise employment policies, guide directors serving on Boards about their fiduciary obligations, real estate acquisition and financing and other legal matters that are not in dispute or litigation.
Nonprofit community- based organizations serving low-income neighborhoods or populations in the greater Chicago metropolitan area may be eligible for TLP's legal services. The Law Project coordinates free legal services for the transactional needs of these organizations if the organization has insufficient funds to hire counsel, is accountable to the community, and the proposed project will provide social services and/or revitalize the neighborhood and increase community control.
Low income entrepreneurs are eligible for representation through the Small Business Program if they have a completed a business plan, and are able to articulate the need for the business and its impact on the surrounding community and match the income eligibility requirements set for below. The Law Project coordinates free legal services for the transactional needs of eligible entrepreneurs. Income eligibility ranges from $40,000 household income for a family of 1 to $60,000 household income for a family of 5.
Some areas of law TLP commonly assists with include, but are not limited to: obtaining recognition of 501(c)(3) public charity status using IRS Form 1023, maintaining tax exempt status under 501(c), nonprofit and small business organizing documents including articles of incorporation and LLC operating agreements, commercial leases, contract drafting, licensing agreements, Illinois Attorney General Charitable Organization registration (Forms CO-1, CO-2), charity compliance guidance (including when to file IRS Form 990), employment law documentation, employee versus independent contractor distinction, real estate closings for single family homes through the CHA Choose to Own Program, and intellectual property.
TLP's application for legal assistance is available at www.thelawproject.org/apply
ICIRR is dedicated to promote the rights of immigrants and refugees to full and equal participation in the civic, cultural, social, and political life of our diverse society. In partnership with our member organizations, the Coalition educates and organizes immigrant and refugee communities to assert their rights; promotes citizenship and civic participation; monitors, analyzes, and advocates on immigrant-related issues; and, informs the general public about the contributions of immigrants and refugees.
Legal Advocacy Center of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago provides legal representation, consultations, and information and referral services and specializes in the areas of special education law, mental health and developmental disabilities law, and adult guardianship law.
Justice for Our Neighbors (JFON) is a faith-driven ministry, welcoming immigrants into our churches and communities by providing free, high-quality immigration legal services, education and advocacy. The JFON program was initiated by the General Board of Global Ministries in 1999 and has served thousands of immigrants throughout the United States.
Joining over 30 clinics operating nationwide, JFON-Northern Illinois Conference opened its first clinic on April 2nd, 2011. The first clinic site is in the Aurora Cluster of churches, with the clinic currently housed at Fourth Street UMC in Aurora.
What We Do
Click here for appointments
Information on ICE and relevant websites:
ICE Detention – Getting a Family Member released on bond:
Data compiled from various sources, including the National Immigrant Justice
Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation (CAASE)
Sexual Assault Justice Project at CAASE
We do not charge for our services regardless of income.
LAF Juvenile Expungement Help Desk
Help Desk Hours:
The Juvenile Expungement Help Desk assists people who were arrested or had a juvenile delinquency court case and wish to clear their juvenile criminal records. Juvenile records are not expunged automatically, and a record exists even if the person never went to court and was only arrested. Juvenile expungement is widely available beginning at age 17, though some waiting periods may apply depending on the outcomes of delinquency cases.
At the Desk, individuals can meet with an attorney who will review their juvenile arrest record, assist with the necessary paperwork and, when necessary, provide additional legal assistance. The attorney will also help eligible people file fee waivers so that the entire process can be completed for free.
Anyone interested in receiving assistance at the Help Desk must bring a copy of their arrest record (or “rap sheet”) with them to the desk. Chicago Police Department ("CPD") arrest records are available at the CPD headquarters Access and Review Division (3510 S. Michigan Ave.). Juvenile rap sheets are free and available immediately. Anyone who has also been arrested after their 17th birthday should bring a copy of their adult rap sheet as well. Adult rap sheets from CPD cost $16.00 and may require a waiting period of several days.
We provide free legal services to all areas of the arts: visual, performing and literary. We serve individuals and organizations. For free services, individuals must have a household income of $35,000 or less. Non-profit organizations must have a budget of $350,000 or less. We also serve profit making arts groups and persons over our eligibility limit on a reduced fee basis. We assist with business formation, intellectual property protection, contracts, disputes and litigation, and rights of personality and publicity. We can, occasionally, help with immigration matters but have few volunteers able to assist with these matters and plaintiff side employment cases. Please see our website to review our Pro Bono Policies and Referral Procedures.
Chicago Legal Clinic, Inc. -Parentage and Child Support Pro Se Advice Desk
The Chicago Legal Clinic, Inc. - PARENTAGE AND CHILD SUPPORT PRO SE ADVICE DESK assists individuals who are not represented by an attorney in the following case types: Child Support and Paternity. Attorneys at the Desk give brief information and advice, assist in completing forms, and provide referrals to free and low-cost lawyers. The attorneys do not represent people in court or in hearings, but will refer people in need of representation to the appropriate organization. Days and Hours: Monday to Friday, 9:30am to 3:30pm.
Description of The Chicago Legal Clinic, Inc. (Clinic) provides legal representation on a sliding scale based on household income to disadvantaged individuals from its four offices. Areas of law include: collection defense, debt counseling, environmental law, expungement of criminal records, family law (adoption, child support, divorce, paternity, visitation, and assistance to victims of domestic violence), guardianship of disabled adults, immigration, landlord/tenant, real estate closings, and social security disability claims. The offices are located in the following locations: Austin Office: 118 North Central Avenue, Chicago, IL 60644 Downtown: 211 West Wacker Drive, Suite 750, Chicago, IL 60606 Pilsen: 1914 S. Ashland Street – Lower Level, Chicago, IL 60608 South Chicago: 2938 E. 91st Street, Chicago, IL 60617 The Clinic operates the following Advice Desks that provide free legal assistance: Chancery Advice Desk: Richard J. Daley Center 50 West Washington Street Room CL-16 Chicago, IL 60602 Parentage and Child Support Pro Se Advice Desk: Richard J. Daley Center 50 West Washington Street Concourse Level, CL 24 Chicago, IL 60602
HDA is a national non-profit based in Chicago that promotes income security, workforce development, and access to health services and resources for children, people with disabilities and low-income older adults. We do this through a combination of direct client services, training/technical support and advancing a public policy agenda.
HDA provides legal services to children with disabilities and their families in selected cases, and provides training and materials for families. HDA represents children and adults in the areas of Social Security, SSI, Children’s SSI, Medicaid, Medicare, and Insurance law.
ICBC's primary focus is helping individual residents, families and resident and family organizations. Every year we help hundreds of families choose a nursing home, shorten nursing home stays or avoid nursing home placement altogether by helping them find alternative care, improve poor or abusive nursing home care, and cope with Medicaid and Medicare. Our database helps families make an informed choice by giving them information about services various nursing homes provide, their violation histories, and the experiences our members have had with them. Our services are free.
The Immigration Project, Inc.
The Immigration Project is a not-for-profit organization consisting of three lawyers, one citizenship specialist, and a team of volunteers who desire to inform you of your immigration status and rights according to current law and your particular situation. We offer free initial 45-minute consultations where you can ask all your questions. Whether or not we would take your case is a matter for discussion during that consultation. for domestic violence cases, we charge a small fee for postage and copying. For Lawful Permanent Residents applying for citizenship, our services are only $10.00 for all cases that do not need representation (over 60%). Deferred Action cases (also referred to as "DREAMers" or "Student Program" or "Obama Program") are charged $200 or less. All other cases (family reunification, temporary protected status, renewals of work permits or Permanent Resident cards, naturalization cases that need representation, etc.) are charged on a sliding scale fee according to the size and income of the family.
We are based in Bloomington Illinois and have a monthly consultation clinic in our home office, but travel every six weeks to the Quad Cities, Kankakee, East St. Louis and Carbondale. We also offer consultation clinics every three months in LaSalle, Champaign and Peoria. We have traveled to other areas as the need or request demands. Beginning in 2012 we began offering 6 to 9 Saturday walk-in clinics per year in communities not on our regular travel schedule. We offer free Citizenship Information Meetings in each of these locations and sometimes include help afterwards with the initial paperwork required to be completed by the client. We will also conduct Citizenship Information Meetings by Skype in any location in central and southern Illinois.
For all cases except citizenship, it is necessary to arrange an appointment ahead of time to get a consultation. Email is the quickest and most efficient way to get a reply, but the phone lines are open on Mondays between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. for this purpose.
Please note that the Immigration Project does NOT serve the following 16 Counties: Boone, Carroll, Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Jo Daviess, Kane, Kendall, Lake, Lee, McHenry, Ogle, Stephenson, Whiteside, Will, and Winnebago.
rev. Nov 2013
The Center for Disability & Elder Law (CDEL) helps run the Adult Guardianship Help Desk at the Daley Center.
The Help Desk assists persons who will appear without a lawyer in court proceedings for the adjudication of disability for an alleged disabled adult and appointment of a personal guardian. The staff will help you understand the court process and assist you in filling out required court forms. However, the Help Desk does not give legal advice or provide legal representation. Assistance is for filing a petition for guardianship of the person only, not of a person's estate.
Help Desk services are provided on a first-come, first-served basis Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on all days that the Circuit Court is in session. Help Desk staff does not provide assistance for proceedings in which a guardianship of the estate may be required or if the guardianship proceeding may be contested. Staff will provide referral information to other resources or to private attorney referral services for representation in these cases.
Heartland Alliance's National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) is dedicated to ensuring human rights protections and access to justice for all immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers.
Our staff of attorneys and paralegals are ready to provide immigration legal assistance to:
NIJC charges income-based fees for some consultations and services. Please click here for more information about scheduling a consultation, including NIJC's consultations in Lake County, Illinois.
The Farmworker and Landscaper Advocacy Project (FLAP) provides legal representation to the thousands of landscapers, migrant and seasonal farmworkers who work planting and harvesting crops, detasseling corn, and cultivating nursery products.
The vast majority of these migrants are Spanish speakers who migrate to Illinois from Texas or Mexico for 6-9 months. The primary focus is on migrants living in Northern Illinois. The FLAP represents farmworkers and landscapers, regardless of their immigration status, in disputes over wages and working conditions.
The mission of Latinos Progresando is to promote the advancement of our community through the highest-quality, affordable legal immigration services, youth leadership development, arts and culture and civic engagement.
Based in Chicago’s Pilsen and Little Village neighborhoods, Latinos Progresando is a nonprofit organization that works with immigrants and their families to build stronger and healthier communities.
The Legal Services program provides Family-Based Immigration Legal services, including an initiative that reaches immigrant victims of domestic violence. Latinos Progresando and its legal immigration caseworkers are all accredited by the Board of Immigration Appeals,the nation's highest immigration court, and is listed as a referral agency for the local office of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Our agency's reputation for high-quality service draw clients from as far away as Waukegan, Bolingbrook,Aurora,Rockford.
Our Immigration Legal Services program works to reunite families and strengthen their stability through Petitions for Adjustment,Citizenship,Renewal of Legal Permanent Residency,Relative Petitions, Employment Authorization,FOIA requests,Removal of Conditional Residency and Self-Petitions for Victims of Domestic Violence. LP also works to dispel myths surrounding the Immigration process and reduce the incidence of fraud by empowering community residents with information on immigrant rights and updates on immigration law via community education presentations.
Violence Against Women Act Program
Through LP's Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) initiative we assist women/men victims of domestic violence in petitioning for their immigration status without being dependent on their abusive U.S Citizen or Legal Permanent Resident spouse,parent or son/daughter. Upon approval of the VAWA self-petition the survivor/victim is able obtain employment authorization which will allow them to get a social security card,State I.D/Drivers License and finally their Legal Permanent Residency.
Our office is open:
Tuesday-Friday: 9am - 6pm
Our consultation hours are:
Wednesday-Thursday: 9am - 5pm
No appointments necessary. All Legal Services staff is bilingual in English and Spanish.
The Chicago Law and Education Foundation provides Chicago Public School students and families access to legal services and legal education.
CLEF’s current programs include free after school legal clinics, open house events, and educational initiatives focusing on a variety of issues including domestic violence, immigration, and tenants rights.
The Chicago Law and Education Foundation was incorporated in 2010 by teacher/attorney Dennis Kass. CLEF mission is to provide long-term support for legal clinics and legal educational initiatives in Chicago Public Schools. Although a handful of organizations and individuals have worked to create legal clinics and programs in Chicago Public Schools in the past, those programs struggled to be sustainable. CLEF’s long-term goal is to establish free legal clinics and relevant education programming throughout Chicago Public Schools.
CLEF launched a pilot clinic at Little Village Lawndale High School at the beginning of 2010. 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.
The New Americans Initiative is a non-profit partnership between the State of Illinois and the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) to help eligible Legal Permanent Residents through the process of becoming a U.S. citizen, with FREE assistance.
At New Americans Initiative workshops, legal permanent residents receive FREE assistance to prepare their naturalization application, legal services (if needed) and information on free citizenship classes. We currently have 32 partner organizations throughout Illinois that holds these workshops! Please visit http://icirr.org/en/calendar to learn about the upcoming Citizenship Workshops in YOUR area!
The Chancery Division Advice Desk offers pro se (self-represented) litigants free assistance with filling out court-required forms and understanding court procedures for mortgage foreclosures, name changes, and appeals of administrative review decisions, as well as all matters heard in the Chancery Division.
The Desk is staffed by volunteer attorneys from the Chicago Legal Clinic. Please note the Desk does not offer legal representation.
The following services are provided at the Chancery Division Advice Desk:
To allow the Chancery Advice Desk to serve as many self-represented litigants as possible, please note the following:
Hours: 9am-4pm, Monday through Friday. No appointment necessary.
Spanish assistance available daily.
The Chicago Legal Clinic, Inc. (Clinic) provides legal representation on a sliding scale based on household income to disadvantaged individuals from its four offices. Areas of law include: collection defense, debt counseling, environmental law, expungement of criminal records, family law (adoption, child support, divorce, paternity, visitation, and assistance to victims of domestic violence), guardianship of disabled adults, immigration, landlord/tenant, real estate closings, and social security disability claims. The offices are located in the following locations: Austin Office: 118 North Central Avenue, Chicago, IL 60644 Downtown: 211 West Wacker Drive, Suite 750, Chicago, IL 60606 Pilsen: 1914 S. Ashland Street – Lower Level, Chicago, IL 60608 South Chicago: 2938 E. 91st Street, Chicago, IL 60617 The Clinic operates the following Advice Desks that provide free legal assistance: Chancery Advice Desk: Richard J. Daley Center 50 West Washington Street Room CL-16 Chicago, IL 60602 Parentage and Child Support Pro Se Advice Desk: Richard J. Daley Center 50 West Washington Street Concourse Level, CL 24 Chicago, IL 60602
Persons living in the western suburbs can seek a lawyer with the help of the West Suburban Bar Association, which will refer prospective clients to Members who participate in the program. Members interview prospective clients for a $25 consultation fee, payable to the Association. Members may accept or reject the case and set their own fees.
The South Suburban Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service provides referrals to lawyers in the south suburbs of Cook County, Illinois. Lawyers handle cases at the Bridgeview and Markham courthouses, and at the Daley Center in downtown Chicago.
Call the Attorney Referral Service to get the name and telephone number of a participating attorney in the Northwest Suburbs of Chicago who practices in the area of your need. Callers are responsible for making the appointment with the attorney and will receive a one half-hour consultation for a charge of $25.00, which is due at the time of the consultation.
We provide referrals to GLBT or GLBT-friendly Chicago-area attorneys. Please call 312-807-4401.
Our 24-hour answering service provides referrals to private English/Spanish-speaking attorneys with experience in every area of the law. Please call 312-554-2045.
Call our office at 312-630-1157, Monday to Friday between 11am and 3pm for referrals to private attorneys.
Illinois Lawyer Finder is the Illinois State Bar Association's lawyer directory. This online referral service is designed to serve everyone who can afford the services of a lawyer. If you prefer a telephone referral please call Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. We charge no referral fee, and our operators can put you in touch with a lawyer in your area who has agreed to provide an initial consultation for no more than $25 for the first half-hour.
Chicago Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service
The Chicago Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service refers clients to private attorneys who have been screened for experience in more than 45 areas of law, such as: criminal and juvenile law, personal injury, estate planning and trusts, and domestic relations. In addition, the LRS offers a broad range of attorneys in various practices who speak foreign languages including Spanish, Lithuanian, German, Japanese, Chinese and many others. Lawyer referrals are available through the web site or by phone Monday - Friday from 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.