One of the speakers at the “The Future is Now” town-hall meeting that I referenced in my April 1, 2016 post was Ronald Staudt. He is the Director of the Center for Access to Justice and Technology at ITT Chicago-Kent College of Law.
Mr. Staudt began by explaining that almost 80% of the civil legal needs of low income people are not being met. (If you want to read more about this problem, you can go to www.lsc.gov.) He then talked about Illinois Legal Aid Online and how since 2001, it has been trying to address the access problem by leveraging technology. According to Mr. Staudt, it is one of the best (quite possible THE best) state wide website that provides free pro bono services and education to lower income people who need it. It can be found here www.illinoislegalaidonline.org.
As soon as you finish reading this post, you HAVE to go to the site! There are 4 websites in one place; thousands of pages of content; and a live help online chat feature. It is amazingly interactive. I doubt if you have seen the delivery of legal services or information like this anywhere else. For example, you can type in your problem and your zip code and it will give you a list of places where you can go to find the exact help you need. The site also provides resources for legal aid and pro bono attorneys.
Hats off to The Chicago Bar Foundation, the Lawyers Trust Fund of Illinois, and IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law which provided substantial funding to make the Illinois Legal Aid Online site a reality.
Another really cool thing is that the Illinois Legal Aid Online site also matches attorneys with pro bono opportunities. For any lawyer who has felt bad about checking the “no” box on the ARDC annual registration form when asked whether they engaged in any pro bono activities, you might want to take a look at the site right now, so at the end of the year, you will be able to hold your head up high and check the “yes” box.
By the way, when you go to the site, you will also find that they are having their annual fundraising event on May 25, 2016; where you can attend a cocktail reception and learn more about how they have impacted the delivery of legal services to people who really need them. You can purchase tickets on the site.
Please share this post so we can let more people know about this amazing resource!