Public Interest Law Initiative

Illinois Free Legal Answers

A project of the American Bar Association, Free Legal Answers was created to increase access to advice and information about non-criminal legal matters for those who cannot afford legal assistance. It is a secure website where low-income Illinois residents can ask a lawyer for help with a legal issue. Volunteer lawyers then log onto the site and provide assistance. It is a virtual walk-in legal clinic.

How does Free Legal Answers work?

Clients who meet financial eligibility requirements ask a question online. Volunteer attorneys can then see the questions, choose ones they feel qualified to answer and submit a response. While PILI will be able to see who answered questions, attorneys will remain anonymous to clients and are not expected to work on the case further.

Why is this a good pro bono opportunity?

Free Legal Answers provides a way for attorneys to volunteer their time in the way that best fits their schedule. They can choose where and when to log in and which questions to answer. Volunteer attorneys who provide brief advice and counsel via the website will be covered by professional liability insurance maintained by the ABA.

Who is eligible to ask questions on the site?

Adults who have met financial eligibility guidelines, are not currently incarcerated and are not requesting assistance with criminal law matters. Before users are allowed to request legal advice, they will be asked questions to establish eligibility.

How do I volunteer?

If you are an attorney who is interested in volunteering with Illinois Free Legal Answers, you can learn more here and start registration here. Or, you may contact PILI’s Managing Attorney, Elizabeth R. Boe, by email or at 312-832-5125.

How do I ask a question?

If you are in need of legal assistance and would like to ask a question through Free Legal Answers, visit il.freelegalanswers.org.

Note: In Illinois, Illinois Free Legal Answers was established by Illinois Legal Aid Online with the generous support of the Illinois Bar Foundation. As of August 1, 2019, PILI will take over the day-to-day operations of the site including volunteer recruitment, management and training with the help of continued funding from the IBF.

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