News Tag: Court Help Desks


January 17, 2019

Steeped in History But Forward-Looking: Making the Courts Work for Everyone

Courts are, by design, backward-looking institutions. Lawyers and judges rely on case law from bygone decades. Clerks hand out paper forms sprinkled with ancient Latin phrases. The black robes, the gavels, and the rituals are steeped in history and tradition.

By choice, however, courts can also be forward-looking institutions. A foundational role in American society does […]

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December 26, 2018

Community Leadership in Times of Crisis

Over the course of our 70-year history, one of the CBF’s hallmarks has become community leadership in times of crisis and emerging issues for access to justice. The great recession of 2008, and the swelling numbers of homeowners facing foreclosure in the associated housing crisis, was a particularly important example.

Growing numbers of foreclosures had already […]

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September 20, 2018

JusticeCorps Expands to the Criminal Court

Every year in Cook County, over one million criminal cases are filed. They range from low-level misdemeanors to serious felony charges, and everything in between. Most of these cases are heard at the George N. Leighton Criminal Courthouse located at 2650 S. California in Chicago. Victims, family members, probationers, and the criminal defendants themselves churn […]

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September 18, 2018

Municipal Court Advice Desk Prepares and Empowers

Evictions. Contract disputes. Auto accidents. Debt collection. While some of these cases may seem small from the outside, they can be very high stakes for a low-income person going to court without an attorney to defend their housing, their financial security, or their business interests. These are the types of cases heard in the First […]

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September 7, 2018

A Life Changer for Children and Their Caregivers

Tuesday was the first day of school for thousands of Chicago Public School students. Imagine that you are caring for your grandchild because the child’s parents are not able to do so. You try to enroll your grandchild in school but the school refuses until you provide proof of guardianship. What is that? Where and […]

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August 22, 2018

A Roadmap to Resources in the Courts

Throughout the thirty floors and 120 court and hearing rooms of the Richard J. Daley Center, you can frequently hear court patrons asking the same question over and over again, Where do I go? The building is big, the largest courthouse in the state, and it can seem overwhelming with its multiple elevator banks and unclear signage.  While many helpful resources are located in the building, its sheer size and scale can make it challenging to keep track of who they are and what they do. Court patrons in a need of a specific service may not be able to find it easily, and Illinois JusticeCorps volunteers can’t cover the entire building.

The CBF saw an opportunity to improve the navigation process within the building by working with the Circuit Court of Cook County Pro Se Advisory Committee to develop a referral sheet for people without lawyers.

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August 20, 2018

A Central Place to Start the Often Daunting Court Journey

A little legal help can go a long way. That’s the idea behind the network of court-based help desks located throughout Chicago and Cook County that serve tens of thousands of people every year. Lawyers and other legal professionals can quickly triage a court patron’s situation and determine what level of help he or she might need. Depending on the desk and the situation, that help can range from brief advice to forms preparation to a referral for full pro bono representation.

In the spring of 2014, the CBF, in collaboration with the Circuit Court and several pro bono and legal aid organizations, reached a milestone in its long-term efforts to make the court system more user-friendly and accessible by opening the Resource Center for People without Lawyers.

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July 31, 2018

A Friendly Guide in the Courthouse Maze

Through the CBF’s work to make the courts more user-friendly and accessible for the growing number of people without lawyers, it became clear that court patrons often have a more immediate challenge than the legal issue that brought them there. People coming to court on their own often have a difficult time navigating a building […]

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July 16, 2018

Helping People Without Lawyers in the Courts

Each year, a growing number of people are forced to navigate the court system on their own, with the latest national statistics showing that in a shocking three out of four civil cases at least one party is unrepresented.

One of the CBF’s top priorities over the years has been helping to make the courts more user-friendly and accessible for these growing numbers of people without lawyers. An important part of these efforts has been the CBF’s work with a number of other partners to establish and support a network of advice desks in the state and federal courts.

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May 16, 2018

Illinois JusticeCorps Seeking Fellowship Applications

Illinois JusticeCorps is looking for applicants for full-time fellowship positions for the upcoming program year, August 2018 through August 2019.

Illinois JusticeCorps is an innovative AmeriCorps program through which college students and recent graduates provide procedural and other neutral assistance in the courts. Illinois JusticeCorps recruits, trains and provides the necessary support for these guides to make courts across Illinois more welcoming and less intimidating for people without lawyers.

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