Helpful Organizations

Helpful Organizations

Free or Reduced Fee Legal Aid

1.

Health and Disability Advocates
205 West Randolph Street
Suite 510 Chicago, IL 60606| View map
Phone: 312-223-9600
TTY: 800-427-0766
Languages: English, Spanish
Send email | View website

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.


2.

Equip for Equality
20 N. Michigan Avenue
Suite 300 Chicago, IL 60602| View map
Phone: 800-537-2632
TTY: 800-610-2779
Toll-free: 800-537-2632
Languages: American Sign Language, English, Spanish
Send email | View website

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:

  • a developmental disability such as autism, cerebral palsy and mental retardation.
  • a significant psychiatric disability such as depression, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and schizophrenia (we give priority to individuals at risk for abuse due to seclusion, restraint, and any related serious injuries or fatalities, neglect, or civil rights violations, while residing in residential facilities).
  • a disability as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act other than one that is developmental or psychiatric such as blindness, deafness or hard of hearing, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, paraplegia, quadriplegia and multiple sclerosis.
  • traumatic brain injuries (TBI).

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).


3.

Legal Advocacy Center of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago
216 W Jackson
8th floor Chicago, IL 60606| View map
Phone: 312-673-2740
Languages: English
Send email | View website

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. 


4.

Center for Disability and Elder Law
79 W. Monroe
Suite 919 Chicago, IL 60603| View map
Phone: 312-376-1880
Languages: English, Polish, Spanish
Send email | View website

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.
 


5.

Disability Rights Legal Center

Phone: 1-866-843-2572
Languages: Spanish, English
Send email | View website

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


6.

AIDS Legal Council of Chicago
180 North Michigan Avenue
Suite 2110 Chicago, IL 60601| View map
Phone: 312-427-8990
Languages: English, Spanish
Send email | View website

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:

  • public benefits, including SSI, SSDI, TANF
  • Medicaid and Medicare 
  • employment discrimination
  • immigration
  • returning to work
  • confidentiality and testing violations
  • health care provider discrimination
  • health, life, and long-term disability insurance
  • guardianship, standby guardianship, adoption
  • housing discrimination
  • bankruptcy, debtor-creditor issues
  • wills and powers of attorney


** The income limits are flexible. Individuals with higher incomes may be represented if their economic circumstances and/or the complexity of their case, make it unlikely that they can afford private counsel. In addition, the Council represents individuals with higher income who are eligible under a special grant, for example, our Ryan White grants support services to medically indigent clients, regardless of income. There are no income limits for people with HIV whom we can advise with a brief telephone consultation.

View current federal poverty levels


7.

LAF (Legal Assistance Foundation)
120 S. LaSalle St.
Suite 900 Chicago, IL 60603| View map
Phone: 312-341-1070
TTY: 312-431-1206
Toll-free: 800-824-4050
Languages: Chinese/Mandarin, English, Korean, Polish, Russian, Spanish
Send email | View website

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:

  • U.S. citizen
  • Lawful Permanent Resident
  • Asylee, Refugee, or a person who has been granted Withholding of Removal
  • An Adjustment of Status applicant who also has a U.S. citizen spouse, parent, or child (under 21)
  • A victim of human trafficking
  • A victim of domestic battery (including domestic violence), sexual assault, extreme mental cruelty, or a number of other crimes which are included in the U visa laws

We can provide limited services for

  • H2A (agriculture) or H2B (forestry) workers
  • Lawful temporary residents
  • Individuals seeking assistance under the Hague Convention (related to child abduction)

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.

View current federal poverty levels


8.

Mandel Legal Aid Clinic
6020 South University Ave. Chicago, IL 60637| View map
Phone: 773-702-9611
Languages: English
Send email | View website

Mandel Legal Aid Clinic is a joint venture of the University of Chicago Law School and the Legal Aid Bureau of United Charities. The Clinic specializes in the areas of criminal justice, civil rights, employment discrimination, and the rights of the mentally ill.


9.

Markham Courthouse Help Desk
16501 S. Kedzie Parkway
Next to Courtroom 204 Markham, IL 60428| View map

Languages: English
Send email

The desk is open on Thursdays from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.


10.

Loyola Community Law Center
25 E. Pearson St.
Suite 1200 Chicago, IL 60611| View map
Phone: 312-915-7830
Languages: English
Send email | View website

The Community Law Center is a legal clinic affiliated with the Loyola University Chicago School of Law. The Community Law Center serves low-income persons with a variety of civil legal problems, including disability claims, family law litigation, elder law, and in defense of eviction and consumer debt suits.


11.

Kane Legal Clinic
1850 West Roosevelt Road Chicago, IL 60608| View map
Phone: 312-666-1331
Toll-free: 312-666-8874
Languages: English
Send email | View website

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.


12.

Center on Halsted Legal Program
3656 North Halsted Street Chicago, IL 60613| View map
Phone: 773-472-6469
TTY: 773-472-1277
Languages: English, Spanish
Send email | View website

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.

By appointment only, volunteer attorney's offer free, in person, legal consultations Wednesday evenings at Center on Halsted. This is a setting where LGBTQ people can come speak with a volunteer lawyer one-on-one about specific, immediate needs for specific situations and receive appropriate referrals. For more information about the Legal Program, or to make an appointment, please call 773.472.6469 X 436.

Other services provided at Center on Halsted include support groups for youth and seniors; psychotherapy services; a hotline for HIV and STD concerns; support related to domestic, sexual, and hate violence; LGBTQ cultural competence training for service providers and community organizations; and a range of life-enrichment programs.


13.

Lambda Legal Midwest Regional Office
105 W. Adams
Suite 2600 Chicago, IL 60603| View map
Phone: 312-663-4413
Languages: English, Spanish
Send email | View website

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.


14.

Chicago Legal Clinic, Inc. - Downtown Office
211 W. Wacker Drive
Suite 750 Chicago, IL 60606| View map
Phone: 312-726-2938
Toll-free: 800-705-4055
Languages: English, Spanish
Send email | View website

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.


15.

CARPLS

Phone: 312-738-9200
Languages: English, Spanish
Send email | View website

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.


16.

Catholic Charities Legal Assistance
Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago
651 W. Lake Street
Suite 403 Chicago, IL 60661| View map
Phone: 312-948-6821
Languages: English, Spanish
Send email | View website

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. 


Services provided: CCLA provides legal advice over its Legal Advice Line and evaluates cases for direct representation in the areas of family law, consumer law, housing law, and immigration.  CCLA also provides Legal Educational Seminars,  Referrals to other Legal Aid Organizations, and Access to a Pro Bono Network for limited cases.

Our services are free to low-income clients. Clients who do not qualify for free services may be charged a $25 or $35 fee.

Spanish speaking staff available.

Intake Hours: Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.


17.

Midwest Center on Law & the Deaf
P.O. Box 804297 Chicago, IL 60680| View map
Phone: 800-894-3653
TTY: 800-894-3654
Languages: English, American Sign Language
Send email | View website

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.


18.

CDEL Adult Guardianship Help Desk
Richard J. Daley Center
50 West Washington Street
12th Floor - room 1202 Chicago, IL 60602| View map
Phone: 312-376-1880
Languages: English
Send email | View website

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.


19.

Chicago Legal Clinic, Inc. -Parentage and Child Support Pro Se Advice Desk
Richard J. Daley Center
50 West Washington Street
Concourse Level, CL 24 Chicago, IL 60602| View map

Languages: English, Spanish
Send email | View website

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

Legal Self-Help Center

1.

Markham Courthouse Legal Self-Help Web Center
Cook County Law Library
Basement Room 072
16501 S. Kedzie Parkway Markham, IL 60428| View map
Phone: 708.232.4170
Languages: English
View website

Private Attorney Referrals

1.

South Suburban Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service
4849 167TH St Oak Forest, IL 60452-4528| View map
Phone: (708) 633-9700
Languages: English
Send email

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.


2.

Cook County Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service
120 West Madison
Suite 450 Chicago, IL 60602| View map
Phone: 312-630-1157
Languages: English
Send email | View website

Call our office at 312-630-1157, Monday to Friday between 11am and 3pm for referrals to private attorneys.


3.

IllinoisLawyerFinder.com
Illinois State Bar Association
424 South Second Street Springfield, IL 62701| View map
Phone: 217-525-5297 (LAWS)
Toll-free: 800-922-8757
Languages: English
Send email | View website

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.


4.

Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois Lawyer Referral Service
321 South Plymouth Court Chicago, IL 60604| View map
Phone: 312-554-2045
Languages: English, Spanish
Send email | View website

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.