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.

COVID-19 Response: Legal Aid Chicago continues to serve our clients during this crisis, and most of the opportunities listed below have been adapted to allow for remote work. Currently, only remote volunteer projects are running.

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 volunteer@legalaidchicago.org 

Opportunities FOR ATTORNEYS:

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

This project currently has an urgent need for volunteers!

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.

EPIC (Eviction Prevention in Chicagoland) – Remote Opportunity

Legal Aid Chicago’s Eviction Prevention in Chicagoland (“EPIC”) helps tenants who are facing eviction. Volunteers for EPIC will provide advice and assist with settlement to help tenants avoid eviction. Legal Aid Chicago provides back-up support and co-counseling throughout each case. 

EPIC offers two volunteer opportunities for attorneys: Brief Advice and Extended Representation

  • Time Commitment:
    • Brief Advice
      • Shifts are 1 hour, conducted virtually, and are available throughout the week (most weekday mornings and afternoons)
      • Volunteers indicate availability for shifts via Sign-Up Genius
    • Extended Representation
      • 5-10 hours over the course of 2-3 weeks to assist with settlement
      • Courtroom representation is available for those volunteers interested in gaining court and trial prep experience
  • Training & Benefits:
    • All volunteer attorneys will receive comprehensive training on the eviction process and eviction court. All advice sessions are conducted via Zoom, allowing you to work remotely from your home or office. Experienced housing attorneys are available to provide support and technical assistance throughout.

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.

Disrupting the School-to-Prison-Pipeline Project – Remote Opportunity

Across the United States, students of color, students with disabilities, and LGBTQ+ students are disproportionately disciplined in school and more likely to be involved in the criminal justice system. This project seeks to disrupt these trends and offers an opportunity to assist with  juvenile records expungement.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, all responsibilities will occur remotely.

Attorney volunteers will prepare juvenile expungement petitions to help clear juvenile records, which can hold youth back from employment, education and housing. Responsibilities include completing the expungement petition and discussing eligibility with client. Legal Aid Chicago will file the expungement petition and handle any court appearances.

  • Time Commitment: 1-3 hours per client, schedule non-urgent and timing flexible.
  • Training and Benefits: eLearning training which can be done from your home or office. Manuals, online resources, along with support from Legal Aid Chicago attorneys.

Opportunities For Other Professionals:

Fair Housing Testing Volunteer – Remote or In-Person Opportunity 

Fair housing testing is an investigative tool used to gather information to compare a housing provider’s conduct to the requirements of fair housing laws. Testing is one way to determine whether all housing consumers are being afforded the same information, treatment, and access without regard to the characteristics protected by fair housing laws (race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, or family status). As a tester, you may be asked to undergo a covert investigation posing as someone in search of housing. You may be asked to speak with a property management company leasing agent over the phone and/or attend an in-person tour of a rental unit. You will then be asked to write a report detailing your experience.

In combination with remote tests conducted over the phone, Legal Aid Chicago has resumed in-person testing and is in search of volunteers willing to tour rental sites and engage with housing providers in person. When it is possible to do so, testing in person allows for more nuanced investigations that better capture the more subtle ways housing discrimination may appear.

  • Qualifications: Testers must be at least 18 years old, objective, careful observers, accurate reporters, and truthful and credible witnesses. Legal Aid Chicago’s Fair Housing Testing Program is funded by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and therefore a background check is required for each volunteer.  [Volunteers must not have prior felony convictions or convictions of crimes involving fraud or perjury.]
  • Time commitment: 2-5 hours. After training, testers should commit to assisting with 2-5 scenarios, each taking 45 minutes. This may not include travel time to and from the site for in-person testing.
  • Training: 30 minute required training, available remotely

 

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.

Low Income Taxpayer Project – Remote Opportunity

Assist clients in filing tax returns to avoid mistakes that may delay processing. Volunteers must be available during tax season, although there may be cases outside tax season as well.

  • Time Commitment: 10-20 hours per case, depending on client needs. Must be available during tax season.
  • Additional Qualifications: Must be a licensed Certified Public Accountant and have knowledge to prepare tax returns. Spanish language skills are helpful.

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!