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2019 Top-Rated Nonprofit

CARPLS

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Crime & Law, Legal Services

Mission: Using innovation and technology, CARPLS' experienced attorneys level the legal playing field, promote a more effective justice system and give clients powerful tools to solve problems and overcome life's challenges.

Results: We serve more than 63,000 people annually. Since our launch in 1993, we have provided nearly one milliion free legal consultations to low- and moderate-income individuals in Cook County. We manage 25% of all legal aid cases in Cook County at a cost of only $65 per consultation.

Target demographics: Low- and moderate-income individuals and families find access to justice

Direct beneficiaries per year: 63,000+

Geographic areas served: Cook County, Illinois

Programs: Our free legal aid hotline for Cook County residents, our statewide IL-AFLAN hotline for veterans and military in Illinois, and four court-based advice desks.

Community Stories

38 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

CARPLS is one of the few places I know of that will assist people with most legal problems over the phone. CARPLS is an exceptional resource for Cook County residents, since their attorneys will walk through your legal problem, check for any referrals to a legal aid agency that might be able to represent you, and if not, the attorneys will provide clients with the information they need so they can properly represent themselves. Sometimes the best thing a CARPLS attorney can do is provide a client with an explanation of their legal situation, and that alone is enough for the client. I truly wish there were more legal aid agencies like CARPLS, because in today's age, we need them more than ever.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

CARPLS has expert lawyers on staff, many of them with decades of experience and who are definitely the go-to attorneys in their respective fields. Their legal expertise, coupled with demonstrated patience for clients, makes for a remarkably meaningful pro bono experience. At the same time, CARPLS leadership consistently invests in technology, where nonprofits tend to lag as a sector. This combination allows CARPLS to provide excellent legal services to those who lack access and understanding of the legal system in a highly efficient, yet incredibly caring manner.

Board Member

Rating: 5

CARPLS increases access to justice in the Chicago community through efficient resource allocation and rigorous quality assurance reflecting concern for client outcomes.

Board Member

Rating: 5

CARPLS is a great organization that helps thousands of people with everyday legal problems. It's ability to efficiently and effectively provide help to those in need of legal assistance is incredible.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Carpls serve the underserved and assist all qualified people that call the hotline. It is a great organization.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Carpls provides legal advice services to so many who would otherwise not be able to have assistance in their stressful difficulties that include what are, to them, baffling legal aspects of the work-a-day world. The way Carpls provides its services is unique among other legal service providers, and this allows Carpls to fill a need that would otherwise be unmet. As a longtime and continuing volunteer attorney, I have repeatedly witnessed how Carpls' services successfully helped people deal with their adverse situations. Having an opportunity to do my small part is one the most satisfying experiences in my legal career.

Ashlee5

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As a CARPLS supervising attorney, I love working for CARPLS and know that we are helping vulnerable and low income people on a daily basis. I also love that we help people on the hotline and at various court house advice desks.

Previous Stories
2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have worked for CARPLS for 10+ years and love the work we do helping people for free. It is great to empower people to find solutions to their legal problems.

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

After spending 40 years as a practicing lawyer, I now spend two afternoons a week on the phones at CARPLS. I've been very impressed by the organization's efficiency, which explains how it could serve more than 60,000 callers last year. The computerized resources are excellent and are supplemented by very knowledgeable staff attorneys. We can't solve everyone's problems (although we do help with most), but we can leave almost everyone with a better understanding of their situation and the feeling that someone has finally listened to them.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I a board member in the 1990's, am currently on the Advisory Board, and am an active volunteer on the legal aid hotline run by CARPLS. I have been impressed by the dedication and skill of the staff attorneys who do most of the actual client counseling, and by the deep knowledge and great attitude of the supervising attorneys with whom I work. The commitment to helping clients is palpable. This is a highly efficient organization, staffed by knowledgeable and caring lawyers, who give agency and some sense of dignity to people who might otherwise be mangled by our complex legal system.

Previous Stories
1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I served on the board and as treasurer of this organization in its early years, have been a consistent donor, and have been a volunteer lawyer on its hotline since the beginning of 2018. CARPLS serves a vast need that other organizations are not able to address given their financial constraints, and does so in an efficient and effective manner. It has developed resources that allow staff and volunteers to equip clients to find the legal services organization most likely to help them or, where that is not possible (as is often the case), to understand their situation and make the choices available to them in an informed way. It provides focused and useful help to people who are caught up in our mysterious legal system and desperately need the help.

Client Served

Rating: 4

I was wrongfully terminated and racially discriminated as of now IDHR filed a civil rights complaint against defandant on my behave a civil rights violation a hearing set on sept.17 ,19 at 2 pm I need a preheating memorandum by sept.3,19 at IDHR commission when IDHR vacated my dismissal and order a finding of substantial evidence and there were 3 choices in fear of being late like my co worker his 90 days right to sue letter I put it upon myself to pay the 400.00 filing fee in federal court big mistake I think? So on July 25,19 defendant motion to quash summons and or dismiss judge granted a continuance for me to find Counsel somehow unable to judge said my complaint form incorrect need counsel by 8/27/19 don't know what eles to do ???

Client Served

Rating: 1

Unfortunately not all is great here. It is my first time looking for legal support and I am more that disappointed. I booked and appointment and paid the $25 they requested. No body called or sent a message. I called the next day, left a message and no one called me back. Three days later, I got into their website and sent a message to the media staff person and she forwarded my message to the Legal Department Director. He at least returned my money. My point here is, is this a ghost legal services organization? they did not do anything to help me and don't follow up.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have been involved with CARPLS for about 10 years as an Associate Board member. CARPLS is truly an amazing organization dedicated to providing access to legal services to those who cannot otherwise afford it. CARPLS does this by leveraging technology and engaging people who really care about the services that CARPLS provides. Being part of the CARPLS family has been a rewarding experience, both professionally and personally, and I look forward to staying involved in the years to come. - Shaun H.

Comments ( 1 )

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Nicole Nesmith 08/03/2018

:) Thank you, Shaun. We love having you as part of the CARPLS family.

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

CARPLS is an organization that is focused on providing access to justice for everyone by ensuring an attorney is always at the center of the service. This organization's work makes an important difference to people who otherwise would have no other legal access and would end up at the mercy of a complicated legal system. CARPLS' mission is to provide everyday justice to everyday people. Tanya P.

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have worked with CARPLS for 10+ years: first, partnering with CARPLS on a project while at a Chicago law firm; second, as a volunteer Hotline attorney; and third, as a member of its Associate Board. Foremost, CARPLS provides excellent legal services to its clients. Clients get one-on-one assistance from CARPLS attorneys and paralegals, including advice, document preparation, follow up, and referrals for other services. CARPLS is committed to serving the people of Cook County and continually works to expand the number of clients it serves each year. Lastly, the legal services provided by CARPLS benefit everyone who appears in Cook County courtrooms that hear cases with pro se litigants because CARPLS clients can state their case more quickly and accurately, allowing for a more efficient court call.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5


I have been associated with CARPLS for over 20 years and have witnessed the impressive growth and expansion of its services. It is not only one of the premier pro bono legal services in country, it also afford each of us the opportunity to participate in and see the benefits of the hard work and dedication of the CARPLS staff and employees. it is a blessing to be able to have been part of this organization for so long and the invaluable assistance that they provide those in need is undeniable.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I've been involved with several non-profits, both as a volunteer and as a board member. I can truly say that CARPLS separates itself from the pack with a highly efficient group of folks who care deeply about those who desperately need legal help but can't afford it. There is very little waste, a strong network of passionate volunteers and countless clients whose lives have been positively affected by CARPLS. Very few organizations are as adept at casting a wide net and helping such a high volume of people on a daily basis.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

I have paid them twice now and have not received any call back from them. Is this a scam?

Comments ( 1 )

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Nicole Nesmith 08/01/2018

CARPLS has been one of Cook County’s largest legal aid programs for 25 years, helping 100,000s of clients. We take all comments seriously, if a client has any concerns about CARPLS or our services, please contact us at info@carpls.org.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a volunteer attorney, I have never felt more rewarded than when I successfully empower one of our clients with critical legal knowledge about their specific situation. CARPLS serves an absolutely critical need in the Chicago community by providing legal guidance or referrals to those most at need. The fact that CARPLS is able to efficiently achieve its mission with technology and a cadre of dedicated personnel reflect the nonprofits commitment to the community and pioneering spirit to do good. For me personally, helping the underserved navigate the complexities of the law represents the legal profession's critical and traditional role in society. CARPLS continues that legal tradition in the 21st century.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

CARPLS is a tremendous resource to the Chicago community. It offers people who cannot afford legal services the much needed access to those while at the same time it offers attorneys the opportunity to explore alternative areas of law. That's a veritable win win!

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

CARPLS is unique in its model and effectiveness. I am so proud to have volunteered with this agency. Only wish there were more hours in the day to volunteer!

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I first started working for CARPLS back in 2011 when I was a summer intern. Through my internship, I was able to witness the true passion all of the attorneys had for helping those in need have access to the justice system. Once I graduated from law school in 2016, I started volunteering for CARPLS as a hotline attorney twice a month. Again, the passion of the volunteers and staff is unparalleled and the organization is truly helping lower income individuals receive the legal advice they need and deserve.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a volunteer with CARPLS and am so proud to be part of the organization. I am frequently touched by the gratitude of the clients we serve, and know that it is a wonderful gateway into the legal system for those who may otherwise feel excluded. It's coordination with the other legal aids in the city of Chicago is imperative.

3

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been a board member of CARPLS on an off since the 1990s. It is a remarkable and innovative organization that leverages technological advances to provide legal services to the most vulnerable and needy in our community. During a time in which budget pressures have caused state and local governments to cut back legal aid funding, CARPLS has managed to expand the services it provides by doing things more effectively and efficiently. At CARPLS, 100 cents on the dollar go directly to providing services to those below the poverty line. CARPLS provides a valuable service to the needy in the Chicagoland community, and therefore to all of us.

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been a CARPLS board member for several years. The organization's best aspects: 1) they offer access to legal services in 12 or 13 legal areas useful to the working poor of Cook County; 2) they are very cost-effective from the standpoint of expenses per client service; 3) the staff is excellent - continuing to innovate with technology, client service offerings, access channels, donor value propositions.

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

CARPLS fills a very important need in Cook County. People often have legal questions -- like what rights they have in a landlord/tenant dispute, or how family law issues work -- but don't know where to turn for help. CARPLS attorneys speak directly with clients to provide them with legal advice. It's a great model, and a great organization!

3 David375

Board Member

Rating: 5

Wonderful Organization - dedicated staff that does great work!

2

Donor

Rating: 5

Without CARPLS, the legal system in Chicago would grind to a halt. CARPLS is an extremely efficient and effective organization that helps thousands of people in need get necessary and valuable legal aid. As a donor, I am honored to support this excellent organization.

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

CARPLS is great at providing access to justice and streamlining the legal services delivery system process.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

CARPLS helps everyday people, who want legal advice but can't afford a lawyer, solve legal problems with advice from a lawyer. No other organization provides meaningful access to justice as effectively as CARPLS.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I have donated to this quality organization for years because they provide an enormous amount of assistance to the most needy in Cook County on a limited budget

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a volunteer and associate board member, I see first-hand the profound impact CARPLS has on under-served communities. The need for legal aid has never been greater, and CARPLS helps fill that void unlike any other legal service provider around. By assisting our most vulnerable through their own crises - eviction, wage garnishment, employment termination, the denial of Social Security benefits, among many others - CARPLS changes lives for the better on a daily basis.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have served as an attorney volunteer and as a member of the Associate Board and Board of Directors. CARPLS is an excellent organization with committed, professional attorneys and staff. Since its inception, CARPLS has been innovative in providing legal service to low-income residents of Cook County. Going to court is intimidating and confusing - even for experienced lawyers - but CARPLS staff attorneys provide clear, step by step guidance to its clients, whether its over the telephone or at its court help desks. CARPLS has a vision for its future and deep bench of staff, donors, advisors, and board members who will make it happen.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

CARPLS is the perfect organization for volunteers who want to give back and see the results right away. Clients calling CARPLS are pro se, and the CARPLS advice helps them understand how to get through the court process. Volunteers are particularly trained in the "big ticket" areas of law: so even if the client's call is beyond the volunteer's usual practice area, the volunteer is still well-equipped to give advice and answer questions. Plus, staff attorneys are extremely experienced and are always available for assistance. The work will never follow you out of the office because all of the clients are pro se.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

CARPLS has lawyers ready to answer your questions and give you the help you need. Whether on the hotline or at one of the court based help desks, CARPLS staff can address legal problems including landlord tenant disputes, family matters, collections, employment, contract disputes and so on. To those who qualify, the help is free and informative. Let CARPLS help you, like they've helped so many other Cook County residents and call the hotline: 312-738-9200.

Advisor

Rating: 5

CARPLS is a great non-profit because its volunteers and staff attorneys do so much ... for so many ... with so little!

I was on the CARPLS board of directors for eight years. Even though I rolled off the board years ago, I continue to support the organization because it efficiently and effectively uses technology, volunteers and staff lawyers to help thousands of low-income people navigate a legal system that can be intimidating and overwhelming. Although CARPLS provides free legal services to more low-income people than any other legal services provider in the Chicago area, it is not just about the number of people CARPLS reaches. It's how the combination of expertise, human touch and ease of use provide dignity and hope to individuals in need.