Public Interest Law Initiative

Volunteer Spotlight: Jennifer Kincaid

Posted on: September 30, 2019

Jennifer Kincaid is attorney at Pepping, Balk, Kincaid & Olson, Ltd. in Silva, Illinois. She has answered over 600 questions on Illinois Free Legal Answers – more than any other lawyer in the state! Read about her volunteer experience below.

How’d you first get involved with Illinois Free Legal Answers?

I answered my first question on the forum in February 2017. I believe I signed up after attending a CLE where the program was explained. It sounded like an easy way to help people with real issues.

Why did you want to volunteer?

It was such an easy way to provide pro bono assistance to individuals on my own time. You could do as many or as few questions as you wanted, as often as you wanted, on topics that were of interest, or that aligned with my current practice areas. I have always volunteered to take cases from Prairie State when they called, but this was a way to make an impact on a more consistent basis and throughout the whole state.

What do you enjoy about this volunteer opportunity?

I see from the responses from the clients that they really appreciate having some direction on where to turn for advice or what steps to take in their case to move forward. It’s easy, it’s on my terms and time, and I really enjoy helping as many clients as possible. I find myself bored watching TV and logging in to see what questions have been sitting needing an answer for a long time and trying to tackle those. Or, just finding one I know will be a quick answer and getting that sent out.

What advice would you have for someone interested in volunteering?

Just take one question and see how it goes. Find an area you already know about, or wanted to learn more about, and give an answer to a client. Any help you give these clients will make a difference for them because some have nowhere else to turn or just don’t know what to do. It’s not a huge time commitment, like taking on a full-blown pro bono case. You really are making a difference for someone with significant legal issues. I also suggest not giving your personal contact information at work. The great thing about the forum is there is insulation between you and the client, so if you can’t help them you can return the question to the queue for another attorney to step in and help.

Learn more about Free Legal Answers and other Pro Bono Opportunities here »

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