Attorneys and other professionals work alongside Legal Aid Chicago’s staff to run a variety of pro bono projects. (If you are a law student seeking an internship, please see our WORK WITH US page.) All of these offer a unique opportunity to connect with a diverse population and help us reach clients that might otherwise go unserved.
We are currently seeking volunteers for the projects listed below. Please check back regularly, as these opportunities often change.
If you would like more information or want to get involved with a pro bono case or an opportunity below, please submit a volunteer application and indicate the case or projects that interest you.
Legal Aid Chicago continues to serve our clients during this crisis, and we have several opportunities for volunteers to assist our clients while working remotely.
Several of the opportunities listed below have been adapted to allow for remote work.
If you are interested in any of the opportunities, you may submit a volunteer application below. If you have any questions, you may contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Attorney Volunteers must be licensed and in good standing with the Bar. All volunteers are covered under Legal Aid Chicago’s malpractice insurance. Additional qualifications specified if applicable.
Inactive, Retired and Attorneys licensed in other states may participate in pro bono work with Legal Aid Chicago under Illinois Supreme Court Rule 756(k). For more information, review the Illinois ARDC website located here.
ADAPT (Advance Directives and Property Transfers) – Remote Opportunity
Advise people in preparing Advance Directives and Property Transfers: Powers of Attorney for Health Care and Property, Living Wills, and Transfer on Death Instruments (to allow for the transfer of ownership of a home upon death). Volunteers conduct telephone interviews with clients, then prepare these important documents for clients according to their wishes.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Legal Aid Chicago staff arrange for mailing the documents to the client and if possible, remote notarization and execution.
- Time Commitment: 3-4 hours per client. Attorneys indicate availability for phone appointments via Sign-Up Genius and then prepare documents for the client following the phone appointment
- Training & Benefits: Interactive eLearning modules, which can be completed in 3 hours online. Manuals, online resources, and other materials provided along with back-up support from Legal Aid Chicago attorneys.
Bankruptcy Help Desk – Remote Opportunity
Help clients prepare forms and draft motions in connection with their consumer bankruptcy cases. Answer clients’ questions about bankruptcy in general or their cases in particular.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, all counseling is conducted via telephone. Volunteers sign up for shifts in advance and counsel clients who sign up for appointments. Legal Aid Chicago staff facilitate the exchange of documents via email and other means to clients.
- Time Commitment: 3-4 hour shifts, minimum of 6 shifts per year
- Additional Qualifications: At least 1 year of experience practicing bankruptcy law. Some familiarity with consumer bankruptcy (Chapter 7 & Chapter 13) is helpful.
- Training & Benefits: Online 90-minute training. Support provided by Legal aid Chicago attorneys. Volunteering at the Bankruptcy Help Desk fulfills the Northern District of Illinois’ Pro Bono Participation Requirement.
Criminal Records Relief – Remote Opportunity
Prepare petitions for expungement and sealing for clients who have been screened by Legal Aid Chicago. Legal Aid Chicago conducts the records research and determines eligibility before a case is assigned. Following completion of the petition by the volunteer, Legal Aid Chicago resumes responsibility for the case including reviewing, signing, filing, court appearances and providing clients with court orders.
- Time Commitment: 3-4 hours per case, including phone consultation with the client and document preparation. Volunteers indicate availability for a case via email and are sent case materials, following a conflict check.
- Training & Benefits: Online CLE training available on-demand. Training materials, sample forms and other materials provided along with support from Legal Aid Chicago attorneys.
Eviction Mediation Project – Remote Opportunity
Volunteer attorneys will prepare clients for and represent them at mediation, avoiding eviction and preserving housing each time you reach an agreement. Legal Aid Chicago screens tenants and ensure appropriateness for mediation. Legal Aid Chicago is working with the Center for Conflict Resolution, who provides mediators, resolution expertise, the Zoom set-up, and more. There is no obligation to represent the tenant beyond the mediation, even if an agreement cannot be reached.
- Time Commitment: 10-15 hours per case. Most cases will resolve within 2-3 weeks. Attorneys indicate availability for a case during a particular week via Sign-Up Genius.
- Training & Benefits: Training is available online and on-demand. Legal Aid Chicago provides support at each step, including back-up by a housing attorney during the mediation
The William J. Hibbler Memorial Pro Se Assistance Program – Remote Opportunity
Assist pro se litigants in federal lawsuits by reviewing documents, providing guidance on the discovery process, and assisting them through all phases of litigation. Volunteer attorneys provide advice on the federal court process and procedure, not on the substantive legal issues in the client’s case.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, all counseling is conducted via telephone or Zoom (links and log-in provided by Legal Aid Chicago). Volunteers sign up for shifts in advance and counsel clients who sign up for appointments. Legal Aid Chicago staff facilitate the exchange of documents via email and other means to clients.
- Time Commitment: One 3-hour shift per month. Volunteers indicate availability via Sign-Up Genius.
- Additional Qualifications: At least 3 years of federal court experience; experience in employment discrimination law is helpful, but not required.
- Training & Benefits: Observing one shift of appointments by an experienced volunteer. Volunteers receive ongoing mentoring and support from an experienced staff attorney. Volunteering at the Hibbler Pro Se Advice Desk fulfills the Northern District of Illinois’ Pro Bono Participation Requirement
Orders of Protection Litigation Project
Provide direct representation to victims of domestic violence who are seeking to obtain an Order of Protection at the west suburban Maybrook Courthouse.
- Time Commitment: 3-9 weeks with 1-2 court appearances
- Additional Qualifications: Must join the Pro Bono Network here
- Training & Benefits: Online training provided through the Pro Bono Network with ongoing support from Legal Aid Chicago.
Pro Bono Panel – Remote Opportunity
Receive an occasional email containing cases where Legal Aid Chicago seeks collaboration or help from a volunteer attorney. Cases include both transactional and litigation matters.
- Time Commitment: Varies based on the case.
- Training & Benefits: No formal training is provided, but Legal Aid Chicago will provide mentorship and ongoing support as needed.
Public Benefits Maximization Pro Bono Project – Remote Opportunity
Help clients to maximize the amount of public benefits they receive by assisting with online application for benefits including food stamps, Medicaid and other cash assistance. For clients that are denied from benefits or current recipients who receive notice that their benefits will be reduced, provide telephone, email and fax advocacy to help resolve issues with the Illinois Department of Human Services.
- Time Commitment: Average 4-5 hours per case. Volunteers indicate availability to accept a case in a particular week via Sign-Up Genius. For certain cases, volunteers may provide continued representation through a telephonic pre-hearing and administrative hearing with the Illinois Department of Human Services.
- Training & Benefits: Online training available on-demand. Manuals, online resources, and other materials provided along with back-up support from Legal Aid Chicago staff.
For Other Professionals:
Public Benefits Maximization Pro Bono Project – Remote Opportunity
See the description above. This opportunity is fully open to non-attorneys, including law students and other professionals.
Long-Term Care Ombudsman Project
Visit nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and skilled living facilities in suburban Cook County to investigate and resolve complaints. Assist people on a systemic level when multiple residents of a facility are facing a problem. Educate residents, family, staff and the community about residents’ rights.
- Time Commitment: 4 hours a month.
- Qualifications: Must be over the age of 18 and be able to travel.
- Training & Benefits: 2-day training at Legal Aid Chicago. Volunteers receive ongoing support from Ombudsman staff at Legal Aid Chicago.
Financial Consulting Project – Remote Opportunity
Perform forensic investigations to detect hidden assets and financial modeling to determine the value of assets or a business. Assist in the preparation of materials for presentation in court, or in some cases, communicate their findings in the form of a written report or as oral testimony.
- Time Commitment: Varies by case. Case opportunities are sent via email to the panel members. Members can express interest in opportunities that match their expertise and availability.
- Qualifications: Experience in litigation consulting, fraud investigations, forensic accounting, or business valuation.
Although you may not see a project that utilizes your skillset, we are always open to discussing a potential volunteer role. If you possess any of the following skills, we’d love to hear from you as well.
- Accounting & Finance
- Community Engagement
- Data Management
- Fundraising or Special Events Support
- Marketing & Public Relations
- Real Estate
- Social Work
Please check back regularly, as our pro bono opportunities often change. If you would like to share your time and talents or are interested in receiving more information about any of our projects or cases, please Sign-Up for Legal Aid Chicago’s Volunteer Opportunities!