Earlier this month, Illinois Legal Aid Online (ILAO), the Illinois Bar Foundation (IBF) and the Public Interest Law Initiative (PILI) announced changes to the Free Legal Answers website. As of August 1, 2019, PILI will assume the state administrator role for the virtual legal clinic from ILAO.
Moving forward, PILI will oversee the day-to-day website operations and volunteer management with ongoing funding assistance from IBF. ILAO will continue to provide client referrals and serve as a resource for the volunteer lawyers answering legal questions on the website.
Free Legal Answers
Free Legal Answers, an American Bar Association project, provides a secure website for lower-income individuals to secure civil legal assistance at no cost.
To use the service, individuals must meet financial eligibility guidelines including limited family income and a low value of assets. Additionally, users can’t be incarcerated, request assistance with criminal matters or already have a lawyer assisting with their legal problem. Once an individual qualifies, they login to the website and post questions about civil legal problems. Volunteer attorneys answer the questions.
ILAO to PILI
ILAO has spearheaded Illinois’ Free Legal Answers since its launch in 2017. Under ILAO’s leadership, volunteer attorneys have answered almost 3,500 legal questions.
PILI and ILAO have already collaborated to host several Free Legal Answer clinics around the state. PILI hopes to leverage its established pro bono volunteer network to expand the reach of the program in Illinois.
In need of legal assistance? Learn if you qualify for Free Legal Answers by visiting its website.
This is a great way for attorneys to volunteer their time. The online format allows lawyers to provide legal assistance when it fits their schedule.
If you’re interested in volunteering, learn more and register here. The ABA maintains professional liability insurance for all volunteer attorneys.