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

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 Brief Advice Desk – Remote Opportunity

The Eviction Brief Advice Desk (“EBAD”) provides legal assistance to unrepresented tenants who are in eviction court. This program is in partnership with CCLAHD (Cook County Legal Aid for Housing and Debt). All court is being conducted virtually, via Zoom.

Volunteer attorneys counsel tenants about their rights, issue spot for defenses, make referrals for representation and may also negotiate or assist in mediation to reach a settlement.  Volunteers are not expected to accept cases for representation in court or brief service beyond the 1-hour time commitment at the virtual desk.

  • Time Commitment: Shifts are 1 hour, conducted virtually, and available most weekday mornings and afternoons. Volunteers indicate availability for shifts via Sign-Up Genius.
  • Training & Benefits: Training materials including a comprehensive volunteer guide are available on demand. Attorneys experienced in Housing Law are present to provide back-up support and advice.

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.

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 two distinct opportunities: representation in school discipline cases, particularly expulsion cases and juvenile records expungement.

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

School Discipline Cases

Attorney Volunteers in this project will represent young people in school discipline cases, in particular expulsion cases to keep students in school. Responsibilities include co-counseling the case with the Project Attorney from client intake through school expulsion hearing.

  • Time Commitment: 15 to 30 hours over the course of four to six weeks, depending on the case. Volunteers indicate availability to take these short turn-around cases via Sign-Up Genius.
  • 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.

Juvenile Expungement Petitions

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:

Public Benefits Maximization Pro Bono Project – Remote Opportunity

This opportunity is fully open to non-attorneys, including law students and other professionals.

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.

Fair Housing Testing Volunteer – Remote Opportunity

Volunteers serving as Testers play the role of a home seeker to help us monitor for fair housing practices and help uncover potentially discriminatory treatment. Testing is one way to determine whether all housing consumers are being afforded the same information, service, 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 play the role of a home seeker to observe and document the ordinary business practices of housing providers. As a tester, you may be asked to pose as a person who is interested in renting an apartment or using other types of housing services and to report back on your experience. Each test takes about 45 minutes, including the time to write up your experience.

  • Qualifications: Testers must be at least 18 years old, objective, careful observers, accurate reporters, and truthful and credible witnesses.
  • Time commitment: 4-5 hours. After training, Testers should commit to assisting with 2-5 scenarios, each taking 45 minutes each.
  • Training: 30 minute required training, available online and on demand. Legal Aid Chicago staff are available to answer questions.

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!