Helpful Organizations

Helpful Organizations

Free or Reduced Fee Legal Aid


Prairie State Legal Services, Inc. - Ottawa Office
1021 Clinton Street Ottawa, IL 61350| View map
Phone: 815-434-5903
TTY: 815-434-6011
Toll-free: 800-892-7888
Languages: English, French, Polish, Russian, Vietnamese, German, Italian, Japanese, Chinese/Mandarin, Spanish, American Sign Language, Tribal Languages, Korean, Cambodian, French Creole, Laotian, Urdu, Farsi, Arabic
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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:


  • You meet our income and asset guidelines, or are age 60 or older.
  • We have no ethical conflict of interest regarding your legal issue.
  • You live within Prairie State's service area, or have a civil legal problem in one of the counties in our service area.
  • You meet the citizenship or immigration requirements established by Congress. Immigrants who are fleeing domestic violence or trafficking are eligible for legal help regardless of immigration status in matters to address the abuse.
  • Government regulations do not prohibit Prairie State from handling your type of legal problem.
  • You have a legal problem that can be addressed by Prairie State's attorneys and that fall within our established priorities.

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

  • Family Law: Protection from abuse or exploitation for domestic violence victims, elderly, children and persons w/disabilities; divorce and related relief for domestic violence victims.
  • Housing Law: Evictions and lock-outs; foreclosure defense; loss or denial of subsidized housing benefits; loss or denial of essential public utilities; substandard housing conditions cases that cannot be addressed by other agencies.
  • Health Care: Loss or denial of medical or nursing home care; loss or denial of medical benefits (Medicaid, Medicare).
  • Needs-based government assistance: Loss or denial of SSI, GA, TANF, VA, food stamps.
  • Other income benefits where alternative representation is unavailable: Loss or denial of unemployment insurance, Social Security Disability benefits.

Other cases we might be able to handle

  • Family Law: Child support, custody, guardianship, visitation, parental rights, divorces for non-domestic violence victims.
  • Housing: Rent issues; security deposits; unit size; discrimination.
  • Education: admission, expulsion, special education & related services.
  • Health care and people with disabilities: powers of attorney and other health care documents; discrimination and reasonable accommodations.
  • Income or benefits: overpayments of government assistance; health insurance matters; employment issues.
  • Consumer Law: Bankruptcy or other debt relief; consumer fraud; protection of exempt income and assets; unfair debt collection practices; repossession; contract defenses.


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YWCA of the Sauk Valley
115 W. First Street Dixon, IL 61021| View map
Phone: 815.288.1232
Toll-free: 815.288.1011
Languages: English
Send email | View website

The YWCA of Sauk Valley's Domestic Violence Program assists survivors of domestic violence by offering the following comprehensive services:

  • 24-hour hotline: Our crisis line at (815) 288-1011 is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Our phones are answered by trained professionals. We can help callers access emergency services including safe shelter, medical care, obtaining Orders of Protection and much more 
  • Legal Advocacy: Our program assists with obtaining legal protection from domestic violence. Our court advocates help with filing for Orders of Protection, provide information and support throughout the entire legal and criminal process, and can provide referrals to attorneys who are able to help with other legal remedies.
  • Medical Advocacy: Our staff help victims in medical settings and can provide trainings and information to health care professionals.
  • Shelter: We are able to provide emergency shelter for adults and children escaping domestic violence. We can assist victims with finding housing, child care, economic support, and finding services to address other personal needs such as substance abuse or mental health.
  • Counseling and Support Groups: We counsel victims to help them recover from the trauma of domestic violence and help them gain a sense of control in their lives.
  • Children's Services: Children's advocates assist parents and children with handling the issues that go along with surviving domestic violence. Our staff are able to help coordinate services with schools, child care providers, health care providers and others as needed. Individual and group counseling is available as needed.

Legal Self-Help Center


Lee County Legal Self-Help Center
Dixon Public Library
221 S. Hennepin Avenue Dixon, IL 61021| View map
Phone: 815.284.7261
Languages: English
View website

The Lee County Legal Self-Help Center provides legal information to Lee County residents about their legal rights and responsibilities, instructions on how to handle common legal problems, assistance with some legal documents and forms, and referrals to free and low-cost legal services.

The Legal Self-Help Center does not provide legal advice to its patrons. Instead, it offers legal information to customers on such topics as instructions for available forms, answers to general legal questions, and information on court procedures.