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Illinois Legal Aid Online

Spotlight on pro bono: Legal Answers

Posted on November 1, 2016 by Morgan Yingst

By Teri Ross, Program Director / Attorney, Illinois Legal Aid Online

Every year, tens of thousands of people in Illinois are forced to resolve their legal issues unassisted. On the one hand, they are unable to afford private legal counsel; on the other hand, they are unable to get help from the overburdened, underfunded legal aid system.

Pro bono is an important solution to this problem. October was national pro bono month, focused on recognizing the impactful contributions of pro bono attorneys and engaging more attorneys to help. Although there are more than 90,000 attorneys registered in Illinois, studies show that 60% or more of lower-income Illinoisans are forced to resolve their legal problems alone. Why the gap? Pro bono opportunities are limited by when, where, what and how they operate:

ILAO Legal Answers: New Online Program Increases Access to Legal Help

Posted on September 23, 2016 by Morgan Yingst

A new program at Illinois Legal Aid Online (ILAO) will not only eliminate barriers to accessing legal services, but also barriers for attorneys to do pro bono work. Legal Answers, launching this October and made possible through funding by the Illinois Bar Foundation, leverages pro bono attorneys and technology to deliver critical legal advice to people who cannot afford or access an attorney. The innovative website makes it easy for attorneys to volunteer and provide civil legal advice to those in need at any convenient time and place.

Illinois Bar Foundation promotes innovation with 3-year $105,000 grant to Illinois Legal Aid Online

Posted on June 21, 2016 by Chris Bonjean

 The Illinois Bar Foundation (IBF), the charitable arm of the Illinois State Bar Association, will provide a three-year, $105,000 special-project grant to support an innovative new program of Illinois Legal Aid Online (ILAO). The announcement was made following its April 1 board of directors meeting in Chicago. The funding is in addition to a $15,000 operating grant from the IBF.

With the funding, ILAO will launch the American Bar Association-sponsored Legal Answers, which is an online portal to allow people with civil legal problems to submit their questions securely to be reviewed by volunteer attorneys and receive brief legal advice. The program originated in Tennessee as Online Tennessee Justice and has been adopted by the ABA with the goal of expanding it to all 50 states this year.

The IBF’s grant will enable ILAO to hire an attorney part-time to launch the Illinois effort. ILAO, which is a national leader in using technology to help people understand their legal issues and enhance access to justice, will make the Illinois version of Legal Answers a new national standard, according to Lisa Colpoys, ILAO executive director.

Website offers resources for specific types of pro bono attorneys

Posted on July 30, 2009 by Chris Bonjean
For members of the Illinois legal profession, pro bono practice support resources are as easy as a click away, at www.IllinoisProBono.org. That website, which is hosted by Illinois Legal Aid Online, now offers web pages with resources targeted at specific types of pro bono practitioners, including senior attorneys, federal government attorneys, corporate counsel, paralegals, and law students. Each homepage is customized for the target audience, and features video interviews with pro bono volunteers and articles specific to doing pro bono work. These homepages may be accessed via the internet at Senior Attorneys, Government Attorneys, Corporate Counsel, Paralegals and Law Students. Illinois Legal Aid Online partnered with the Public Interest Law Initiative (PILI) to develop the homepages. The organizations designed the websites to further engage senior attorneys, government attorneys, corporate counsel, paralegals and law students in pro bono work.