Prairie State Legal Services, Inc. - St. Charles Office
Prairie State Legal Services, Inc. is a non-profit law firm that provides free civil legal aid to people who cannot afford an attorney. Prairie State serves 36 counties in northern and central Illinois, outside of Cook County. Your eligibility for help from Prairie State Legal Services will depend on whether:
Types of Legal Help
Due to high demand for our services, our staff is able to provide representation in certain areas of civil law designated as a priority. The following kinds of problems are examples of cases that we might be able to help with (not an exclusive list):
High Priority Cases
Other cases we might be able to handle
Administer Justice is a charitable, non-profit organization providing low-income legal, financial and conflict resolution services. Our mission is to Administer Justice through a program of education, legal assistance, financial counseling and conflict resolution, to empower the powerless, give hope to the hopeless, and show mercy and compassion to those in need.
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 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
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).
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.
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.
Domestic violence services available at the Community Crisis Center include: a 24-hour crisis intervention hotline staffed by professional counselors; emergency shelter for women and their children needing a safe place to stay; on-call trained volunteer advocates who meet with victims in area emergency rooms to offer support and information about services; help obtaining Orders of Protection and Legal advocacy to assist in civil and criminal cases; individual counseling; weekly support groups for women victims of domestic violence, with concurrent children's groups available, and; information and referral services.
Mutual Ground (MGI) provides services to victims of domestic violence; victims are provided safety, shelter and support services while they learn they have the power to change their lives. Services include 24-hour crisis hotline, confidential counseling, court advocacy, social service referrals, and an emergency shelter for women and their minor children who are victims of domestic violence. MGI does not provide legal services.
The Kane County Law Library & Self Help Legal Center in partnership with Administer Justice and the Kane County Bar Association have created a program to assist qualifying low income individuals with their Kane County legal needs. The program will offer limited services to those who have a Kane County Civil case. Attorneys volunteer their time to provide legal coaching, document review, and referrals for qualifying individuals.
To see if you meet the specific criteria for assistance, you must visit the Kane County Law Library & Self Help Legal Center in person.
Individuals must meet specific criteria below:
• Qualifying individuals must be of low income and sign a “Certification of Finances” acknowledging that they meet specific economic guidelines as set forth by the volunteering agencies (Kane County Bar Association, Administer Justice)
• The legal matter(s) for which the individual is seeking assistance must be occurring in Kane County.
• Individuals must provide a $5 refundable cash deposit.
• Individuals may not utilize the “Lawyer in the Library” service more than three times for the same legal matter.
Other services: The Kane County Law Library & Self Help Legal Center combines print, internet, and database resources to better meet the various access needs of our patrons. Along with free pamphlets there is a selection of self-help legal publications available for check out.
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.
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.
The Veterans Legal Support Center & Clinic (VLSC) specializes in appealing denied veteran’s benefits claims, including service-connected benefits, pension benefits, survivor benefits, and education benefits. The VLSC works on all aspects of Veteran Benefits Administration claims, from the initial, factual intake to the technical representation of claims at the appellate level. To effectively represent veterans in the VA claims process, the VLSC recruits, trains, and manages a network of pro bono
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 Indo-American Center is non-profit 501(c)(3) status organization. Our mission is to promote the well-being of South Asian immigrants through services that facilitate their adjustment, integration, and friendship with the wider society, nurture their sense of community, and foster appreciation for their culture and heritage.
The Indo-American Center was established in 1990 by a group of Indian immigrants seeking to respond to the wide range of needs within Chicago’s South Asian immigrant population.
Who We Serve
The Indo-American Center provides an array of direct service to immigrants – ranging from those who have recently arrived to those who have been in the U.S. for some time. The majority of our clients come from nations in the South Asian region, including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, and the Maldives. Although the Center was originally developed and is best linguistically and culturally situated to provide support to the South Asian community, it does not limit its services based on race, religion, or creed. Today, the Center sees an increasing number of clients from the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Central and South America, and Haiti.
Programs & Services
The Indo-American Center’s programs are the heart of our organization. Through our eight main programs, we address the common challenges that our clients face after moving to the United States, including social isolation, limited English and computer skills, and limited knowledge of the resources available to them. We strive to help our clients become empowered and connected through a range of educational programs, resources, and social services.
These programs include;
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
We represent consumers being sued by third-party debt buyers on consumer debts. We do not charge for our services. Clients are responsible for their own court costs when they don't qualify to have their court fees waived. We are staffed by volunteer law students and volunteer attorneys who are members of the National Association of Consumer Advocates.
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.
Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation (CAASE)
Sexual Assault Justice Project at CAASE
We do not charge for our services regardless of income.
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
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Kane County Law LIbrary & Self Help Legal Center
Located on the second floor of the Kane County Judicial Center, the Kane County Law Library & Self Help Legal Center supports the general public and those in the legal professions with their quest for governmental and legal information.
It is the vision of the Kane County Law Library & Self Help Legal Center to openly advocate for and fiercely support equal access to justice through:
• Assisting the public in their efforts to understand and use the legal system effectively and efficiently
• Creating informed consumers with realistic expectations of the legal system
• Ensuring equal access to legal and governmental information in the most cost effective manner
• Creating positive contacts and experiences between the public and the legal system
The Kane County Law Library Self Help Legal Center gives the public a place to learn about the legal system and the steps involved in going to court in Kane County. Professional librarians are on staff to guide patrons to resources and teach them how to use the materials effectively and efficiently. Additionally, the Kane County Law Library & Self Help Legal Center has the following goals:
• To better serve the needs of pro-se litigants
• To provide additional user friendly materials to pro-se litigants that will help increase efficiency in the court system
• And to assist and educate the public on how to use available legal resources.
The Kane County Law Library & Self Help Legal Center uses a combination of print, internet, and database resources to better meet the various access needs of its patrons. Along with free pamphlets there is a selection of self-help legal publications available for check out.
The Kane County Bar Association's online "Find A Lawyer" Search Tool is a free service designed to help people find a Kane County Lawyer or Law Firm whose specialty fits their legal needs. This service is provided free of charge and individuals can search as many times as they wish.
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.
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.