Equal justice under law is not merely a caption on the facade of the Supreme Court building, it is perhaps the most inspiring ideal of our society. But in order for equal justice to be more than a slogan, it is fundamental that justice be the same, in substance and availability, without regard to economic status. For far too many, equal access to justice is more of a promise than a practice, particularly in the civil justice system where the right to an attorney is not guaranteed as it is in criminal cases. That means that when a low-income family is being unfairly evicted or a woman is being abused by her spouse or a senior is the victim of a consumer scam, they are on their own in a system designed by lawyers for lawyers. That’s where Legal Aid Chicago comes in. For over 50 years, Legal Aid Chicago has provided high quality, free legal services to people living in poverty in Cook County.
How We Help
Legal Aid Chicago resolves critical legal problems that trap people in poverty. Legal Aid Chicago staff prevent unfair evictions from the only decent housing our clients can afford; protects survivors of sexual assault, human trafficking and domestic violence; secures or preserves desperately needed benefits such as veterans’ benefits, social security or health benefits; assists senior citizens who have been swindled by consumer scams or robbed of their livelihoods through fraudulent consumer scams; and helps children receive the education they need to succeed.
As advocates for people living in poverty, Legal Aid Chicago witnesses how structural racism thwarts the health and stability of low-income communities and perpetuates the cycle of poverty. Free legal aid is a tool to fight racism in all its forms. Legal Aid Chicago joins with legal aid organizations across the country to speak out and work against racial injustice, including racially-biased policing.
Legal Aid Chicago strengthens the social safety net in our community and ensures that people living in poverty have a voice in the justice system. Each year it makes equal justice a reality for thousands of Cook County families.