If you cannot afford a lawyer and are representing yourself in a civil (non-criminal) legal case, volunteer lawyers are available for 30-minute sessions to answer questions, explain the legal process, and provide general direction on your case.
Volunteer lawyers are only available to provide brief and one-time advice and information. They are not able to represent you in court or take your case on an ongoing basis.
PILI does not provide direct legal assistance beyond this help desk. Please do not visit, telephone, e-mail or write to PILI directly with legal questions or requests for referrals as we are unable to respond to these inquiries. More information is available below if you need legal help and this clinic is not the right fit.
How it Works in Peoria County
- If you need legal advice, but cannot afford a lawyer, sign up for an upcoming Help Desk date in Peoria County HERE. The Help Desk is the first Wednesday of the month from 10 am-12 pm starting January 17, 2024.
- Once you select the next available date and time that works for you, you will fill out an intake questionnaire and user agreement. The questionnaire does ask for some financial information to ensure we are helping those in need, but there is no need to prepare any additional information to sign up.
- Once you complete the intake form, you will receive a confirmation and information to the email address you provided on the intake form.
- On the date of your appointment, you will then meet with a lawyer-volunteer for up to 30 minutes in person at the Peoria County Courthouse. The lawyer can give you legal advice, direction in your case, or help you fill out court documents. Please note, our volunteer attorneys do NOT take on cases or clients through the help desk and cannot represent you in court or on an ongoing basis, they can only give limited advice during your appointment.
How it Works in Tazewell County
- If you need legal advice, but cannot afford a lawyer, you can attend a Help Desk in Tazewell County. Tazewell County Help Desks take place on Tuesdays once a month in the Law Library at the courthouse. You can get more information about upcoming dates there.
PILI reserves the right to cancel/terminate an appointment for any reason. In the event that is necessary, we will make every effort to provide as much notice as possible. Additionally, in order to serve more people, PILI may limit Help Desk appointments to one appointment per person per year.
Additional resources for Legal Help:
- In northern Illinois, the best starting point is Prairie State Legal Services. Prairie State Legal Services is an organization that offers free legal services for low income persons and those age 60 and over who have serious civil legal problems and need legal help to solve them. They have 12 office locations serving 36 counties in northern Illinois. You can apply for help online at www.pslegal.org or by contacting one of their local offices. See their website for contact information of local offices.
- If you are a veteran, active duty military or a spouse or dependent in need of legal assistance, you can call the Illinois Armed Forces Legal Aid Network (IL-AFLAN) from anywhere in the state at 855-452-3526 to see if you qualify for free help.
- If you have a civil (non-criminal) legal question, you can ask it for free on IL.FreeLegalAnswers.org. Volunteer lawyers then log on when they are able to answer questions. It is like a 24/7 virtual legal advice clinic. Volunteer lawyers answer questions and give legal help through the site, but do not take cases or help clients outside of the site.
- A free statewide resource for legal information is www.IllinoisLegalAid.org. This site has articles, forms and resources to help you navigate government agencies, programs and the legal system on your own.
- If you can pay for an attorney or can’t find free help, you can also try the Illinois State Bar Association’s Illinois Lawyer Finder.
- Facing legal issues as a result of COVID-19? COVID HELP Illinois (Housing and Economic Loss Prevention) is a statewide initiative to provide no-cost legal guidance and representation to Illinoisans experiencing common legal problems due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Illinois residents can access free legal assistance 24/7 at COVIDhelpillinois.org, from their smartphones or computers. Additionally, Eviction Help Illinois provides numerous resources for a variety of housing issues.