Circuit Court Pro Se Advisory Committee

Daley CenterThe Advisory Committee on Pro Se Services in the Circuit Court of Cook County was formed as a joint initiative of the CBF and the Circuit Court in January, 2009 in response to the accelerating trend of people without lawyers coming into the Cook County courts and attempting to resolve often complex legal matters by handling their own proceedings.

The Committee works to improve coordination and effectiveness of services to unrepresented litigants, drawing on the experience and expertise of the diverse groups that interact with or provide services to people coming into the court without lawyers. The Committee provides oversight and strategic guidance regarding the various services provided to unrepresented litigants in the Circuit Court, makes recommendations to the Circuit Court and other relevant stakeholders about ways to improve the experience for people without lawyers, and helps to ensure coordination and maximum utilization of other relevant services.

Co-chaired by Judge Marjorie Laws, Presiding Judge for the Circuit Court of Cook County’s Sixth Municipal District, and Judge Alison Conlon of the Circuit Court, the Committee includes judges and other court personnel—including representatives from the Clerk’s office, the Sheriff’s office and the Law Library—legal aid lawyers, private attorneys, and other interested stakeholders. The committee meets regularly and gets updates on trends and emerging issues in the Circuit Court impacting people without lawyers, develops recommendations for programs or policies that can improve or expand upon existing resources, and develops resources to assist unrepresented litigants and the stakeholders who serve them.

Some of the Committee’s major initiatives over the past several years include:

Developing and Improving Resources for Finding Legal Help
Comprehensive Design Study of Access in the Daley Center
Evaluation of Assistance Provided to People without Lawyers by Advice Desks and Self-Help Centers
Proposal to Create Supreme Court Access to Justice Advisory Committee