An innovative program that places volunteers in courthouses throughout the state to serve as guides to make courts more welcoming and less intimidating for people without lawyers.
Leveraging Volunteers to Increase Court Access
In recent years, the number of people coming to court without lawyers has skyrocketed, creating challenges for the litigants as well as judges, court personnel, and opposing counsel. Illinois JusticeCorps volunteers help people without lawyers by providing navigational assistance, legal information, procedural guidance, referrals to additional resources, and help with filling out and filing court forms.
Our History & Background
Illinois JusticeCorps is one of many innovative programs launched by the CBF over the years that are making the courts more welcoming and accessible for all.
The CBF piloted the Illinois JusticeCorps program by using student volunteers as courthouse greeters at the Richard J. Daley Center.
The program became an AmeriCorps program and began receiving funds from the Serve Illinois Commission, allowing initial expansion to 2 more courthouses.
Increased funding allowed the program to expand to 6 other counties, and the CBF transitioned program administration to the Illinois Bar Foundation (IBF).
The program was able to expand again with additional funds, adding 2 more counties to the list of those where Illinois JusticeCorps services can be found.
The CBF continues to manage the JusticeCorps program in Cook County in partnership with the IBF, the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Access to Justice and the Serve Illinois Commission.
Joining The Program
The CBF and its program partners recruit, train, supervise, and provide the necessary support for JusticeCorps members, who are primarily college students or recent graduates. As an AmeriCorps program, JusticeCorps members receive financial benefits, like a living allowance, loan deferment, and money for college tuition or loan repayment. In addition to the benefits provided by AmeriCorps, the program provides other unique opportunities for its members:
Gain exposure to the court system and legal field.
Build a network and develop professional skills.
Give back to the community by serving those most in need.
Annual recruitment for both full-time and part-time positions occurs annually in the spring, but prospective members are encouraged to apply throughout the year.