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Resources for the Public

PILI does not provide direct legal assistance, nor do we provide referrals to pro bono attorneys directly to the general public. In limited instances where we provide pro bono referrals, they must come through one of our partner agencies. 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.

If you need legal help and might qualify for free legal help:

  • In Cook County, the best starting point for legal help is CARPLS legal aid hotline. CARPLS operates a free telephone hotline where people talk directly to attorneys who offer legal advice and assistance, and if you need further assistance, they can refer you to other legal aid programs that might be able to help. You can reach CARPLS at 312-738-9200.
  • 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 or by contacting one of their local offices. See their website for contact information of local offices.
  • In southern Illinois, the best starting point is Land of Lincoln Legal Aid. Land of Lincoln provides free civil legal services to low-income individuals and senior citizens in 65 counties in central and southern Illinois. You can apply for help with them online at or call them at 877-342-7891.
  • 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 and a volunteer lawyer will send you an answer. It is like a virtual legal clinic, but attorneys do not go to court with you or help beyond answering your question.
  • Free Legal Advice Help Desks and Resources for Macon and Champaign Counties can be found here.
  • Free Legal Advice Help Desks and Resources for Peoria and Tazewell Counties can be found here.

Additionally, has several articles, forms and resources to help you navigate government bureaucracy 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 Chicago Bar Association’s Lawyer Referral Service or 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, from their smartphones or computers.