Hardin County Courts Announce the Opening of New Legal Self-Help Center

Hardin County Courts Announce the Opening of New Legal Self-Help Center

On May 4, Resident Judge Paul Lamar announced the establishment of a new, internet-based legal self-help center for residents of Hardin County who cannot find an attorney to represent them. For those residents without access to internet-connected computers, a public access computer is available at the Rosiclare Memorial Public Library on Main Street in Rosiclare. Funding for the new legal self-help center was provided by a grant from the Illinois Bar Foundation. The foundation has also funded a similar center in Shawneetown for residents of Gallatin County.

“While I wish that everyone could have a lawyer when they come to court, that is not realistic. Many people cannot afford an attorney and even if they qualify for legal aid, Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance has far more requests for help than they can possibly handle,” said Resident Judge Paul Lamar of Hardin County. “Circuit Clerk Nancy Pennell and I are particularly pleased that we now have some place to refer people to get accurate legal information on Illinois law in an understandable form,” said Judge Lamar.

The internet-based center features a welcoming video by Second Circuit Chief Judge E. Kyle Vantrease, provides the hours and location of the Rosiclare Memorial Public Library and also features links to six of the most common legal problems. A search bar at the bottom of the page allows individuals to search for other legal information. The website features instructional videos, various court forms and background information on a number of legal problems. In addition to information about court-related issues, the site also has information on other legal issues such as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Unemployment and Powers of Attorney. For individuals with a computer with internet access, the center is available at any time and from any location at http://hardin.illinoislegalaid.org.

A local planning committee, including representatives of the Hardin County Courts, the Rosiclare Memorial Public Library, Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance and the Anna Bixby Center, worked collaboratively to set up the new center. Technical support and assistance was provided by two Illinois nonprofit organizations, the Illinois Coalition for Equal Justice and Illinois Legal Aid Online. Illinois Legal Aid Online developed and maintains the underlying website. The Illinois Bar Foundation provided the money for the computer, printer and supplies to set up the center. This is the forty-first such center opening in Illinois since 2007.

Submitted by: Illinois Coalition For Equal Justice on 05/05/2010