Who We Are
What is “legal aid”?
Legal Aid is free representation in civil legal matters for clients who lack the resources to hire an attorney on their own. The American legal system promises equal justice to all citizens, but it’s also enormously complex, and hiring a lawyer to navigate through it can be prohibitively expensive. Too often, the high costs of representation block people living in poverty from participating in the legal system that is meant to protect them.
Legal Aid Chicago seeks justice for people living in poverty. Through litigation and advocacy, our 150-person team of full-time lawyers and staff fight to secure individual rights to affordable housing, basic healthcare, fair working conditions, protection from abuse and economic stability.
It is our vision that poverty will not be an impediment to justice in Cook County. Legal barriers that perpetuate poverty and inequality will be dismantled. Laws and legal systems will be open and equally effective for all who need their protection, especially those who experience unfair and disproportionately unjust treatment due to personal or community characteristics.
Equal Justice Starts Here
Legal Aid Chicago was founded on the philosophy that all individuals are entitled to quality civil legal representation, regardless of their income. We work to ensure that poverty is not an impediment to justice by dismantling the legal barriers that perpetuate inequality. In carrying out our mission, we treat everyone with compassion and respect.
Legal Aid Chicago’s Statement on Racial Justice
Legal Aid Chicago witnesses how structural racism thwarts the health and stability of low-income communities and perpetuates the cycle of poverty. Our client population consists primarily of Black and Latinx women and men. The legal services we provide our clients combat generational injustices forced upon them by a world that is often complacent and, therefore, complicit in the suppression of their advancement.
As advocates for people living in poverty, we recognize the unique historical inequities that continue to create barriers for Chicago’s Black residents. Legal Aid Chicago joins with legal aid organizations across the country to speak out and work against racial injustice, including racially-biased policing. We will not be complicit, and we will not be neutral in the fight against systemic racism. Black Lives Matter and our attorneys will continue to use the law as a tool to fight racism in all its forms.
You Can Make a Difference
To ensure that the most vulnerable people in Cook County have an advocate in their corner, Legal Aid Chicago relies on private donations. You can support Legal Aid Chicago with a tax-deductible contribution, and help us break the cycle of poverty for the clients we serve.