Over 1.8 million nonprofits and charities for donors, volunteers and funders

2019 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Illinois Legal Aid Online

368 pageviews

Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Crime & Law, Human Services, Legal Services

Mission: Illinois legal aid online's mission is to increase access to justice for lower-income and vulnerable illinois residents through the innovative use of technology to assist and educate the public and to train and support legal aid providers and pro bono attorneys. Ilao lowers barriers to the law so that people can understand their legal options, make informed decisions, and when necessary represent themselves in court. Ilao leverages technology to put the law within reach for all illinoisans regardless of their location, income and education.

Target demographics: people get a fair chance at justice

Direct beneficiaries per year: people with Illinois legal problems create over 38,000 free, personalized legal documents to help address those problems

Geographic areas served: Illinois

Programs: Illinois Legal Aid Online (ILAO) will serve over 3 million people in need of legal help this year via its award-winning website, IllinoisLegalAid. org. The website provides free, easy-to-use legal tools for Illinois residents who can't find or afford a lawyer, and who are facing critical legal problems like domestic violence, eviction, unemployment, and more. ILAO's services are offered 24/7/365 and more than half of our users come to us between 5pm and 9am and on weekends, when traditional legal offices are closed. ILAO provides a comprehensive library of interactive court forms and other legal documents that make it easy for self-represented persons to prepare personalized, accurate legal papers. In addition, ILAO streamlines the process for applying for legal services in Illinois through an online triage and intake system. People seeking legal advice and representation can apply 24/7 from any web-enabled device. ILAO helps people to navigate a maze of services and delivers them to the best available legal help.

Community Stories

13 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was injured in a bicycle accident 2 years ago (I suffered minor injuries, and my bicycle was damaged). The person who caused the accident exchanged information with me, but we were not able to reach an agreement outside of court. Because I felt like I was entitled to a just remedy, I decided to file a case in small claims court. But, I wasn't sure how to start the process. This led me to the ILAO website which had a lot of resources which were useful to me, including: a how-to on how to file a small claims case pro se, what to do if I had trouble collecting a judgement, and links to resources on the court's website. ILAO's resources made me feel more confident walking into the courthouse -- at the filing stage and in the hearing itself. In the end, I prevailed in the case and secured a fair judgement. I would recommend ILAO to others.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Illinois Legal Aid Online serves a very important role in our community - bringing access to the justice system for those who would go without. It is also a tremendous tool for law students trying to serve marginalized communities while also learning how to be an attorney. ILAO's comprehensive resources in plain language are an amazing starting point for everyone.

Alex E.1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This is an outstanding resource for both professionals and every day persons looking for help with legal issues in Illinois. I highly recommend donating to this cause because they are able to assist far more persons per dollar donated, across the entire State of Illinois, than any other public legal services operation in existence.

Brenda S.7

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Illinois Legal Aid Online has been very instrumental in helping self-represented litigants in our local court systems. There are easy to follow directions and information given to help create the correct form. How-to videos are very helpful to someone unfamiliar with the court system.

Board Member

Rating: 5

While I have been a Board Member of ILAO for the past several years, I have been familiar with its significant social impact for much longer.

It’s really a rather simple story. The legal system is often complicated and difficult to navigate. Those with means can hire lawyers to advocate for their interests. Others facing legal-related issues are often shut out from the sorely strained legal aid community and have to fend for themselves.

Enter ILAO. It’s cornerstone web site simplifies the law giving people the information to resolve their problems. These problems are in the realm of those that threaten to disrupt lives, e.g., domestic abuse, eviction, deportation, divorce and debt and ILAO often serves as a lifeline to answers to seemingly unsolvable issues.

In 2018 alone, over two million people use ILAO’s tools, showing how an organization operating without substantial resources can leverage technology to offer critical assistance to those without any other good options.

The dedication and passion of ILAO’s staff is remarkable and their fervent desire to make a difference is crystal clear. ILAO is the epitome of a great non-profit.

Jane L.3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Illinois Legal Aid Online (ILAO) is one of the most important organizations to me. Not only did I start out my career at ILAO as an AmeriCorps VISTA, but I have found myself using ILAO in a variety of ways throughout my life. In my current role overseeing an immigration legal services program at a nonprofit, clients often come with other legal questions such as how to get an order of protection or child custody agreement. I'm always excited to share ILAO's resources with them because they are easy to use, in Spanish, and walk pro se applicants through the process. I myself used ILAO to get a divorce from my abusive spouse. ILAO is an organization that is constantly at the forefront of innovation and consistently improves to better serve the legal needs of communities in need.

Comments ( 1 )

profile

TeamILAO 10/17/2019

Jane L.3, you are awesome! Thank you for your review

Advisor

Rating: 5

As a pro bono Human Resources and Training Consultant, I have provided services to the Chicago Legal Aid community for the past ten years.

I consulted with ILAO to strengthen their HR practices and facilitated management and employee training programs for them.

Working with them is a pleasure. The management and staff are engaged, enthusiastic and intelligent. They are a hard working team whose focus is helping attorneys and the public find the legal information they need to guide next steps and decisions.

Creating the content which explains and informs about a wide variety of legal issues is so useful for members of the public who need these facts, instructions and forms.

Not everyone can afford the services of an attorney and ILAO provides practical content that fills the bill.

Legal Aid Agencies across Illinois also use ILAO's website to post job vacancies and their agency's activities.

ILAO's website announces training workshops and other educational activities being offered throughout the state. It's a wonderful resource for finding excellent professional development opportunities.


Board Member

Rating: 5

Five years ago, I had the great good fortune to be invited to join the Board of Illinois Legal Aid Online. I had known about the organization for years because so many of my colleagues and contacts were involved and always sharing stories about all the people that received help resolving a whole variety of problems using ILAO's tools. Once I joined the Board, I found that the stories they told only skimmed the surface of the value offered by ILAO. There are millions of people weighed down with problems that they need help resolving. However, resolution comes at a price. That price is steep and the process is long, confusing and frustrating. ILAO helps lift the weight, puts the cost within reach, and simplifies the process. Rather than continuing to live with problems or creating more problems by taking on a great financial burden, ILAO allows people to come to grips with their issues and move on with their lives.

On a personal basis, ILAO has helped me focus on how very fortunate I am to have the resources and support that allows me to purchase the help I need and it allows me to take part in helping others to feel the same sense of relief and peace that I experience once a problem has been solved.

For every $1000 ILAO receives, 1750 people are served. What an ROI!

Comments ( 1 )

profile

TeamILAO 10/17/2019

ILAO is so grateful for your leadership, Alarsonnge.com!

Stephanie V.3

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I worked for Illinois Legal Aid online (ILAO) for over 6 years and saw the staff's daily commitment to access to justice for all Illinois residents no matter their income. The ILAO website breaks down complicated legal concepts into easy-to-understand articles, videos, court forms, etc. It is overwhelming and often scary to interact with the court system. ILAO works to lessen these real fears by providing people with knowledge about the law, the court process, finding an attorney, going to court on your own, etc. The ILAO website is an invaluable resource and I am grateful for the ILAO staff's hard work and dedication.

Comments ( 1 )

profile

TeamILAO 10/17/2019

Stephanie V.#, thank you for your review. We miss seeing you daily!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Amazing organization that empowers vulnerable populations by providing free, easy-to-use legal information. The website has tons of resources including legal guides, referrals, and court forms, in English, Spanish, and Polish. They are by far the most advanced and robust legal aid website in the US. I highly recommend their services. Keep up the great work!

Comments ( 1 )

profile

TeamILAO 10/17/2019

Thank you for your support, Drios!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

ILAO offers the every day person with a legal issue exactly what they need to understand and solve their problem. From small issues like changing your name to bigger ones like getting a divorce, ILAO has straight-forward, plain-language guides available to help.

Comments ( 1 )

profile

TeamILAO 10/14/2019

Appreciate your comment, skyrkostas! Thanks for helping to spread the word about ILAO.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started working with Illinois Legal Aid Online during my first year of law school as a volunteer at the Daley Center. The site helped me to share information in an easy to understand way with individuals who needed assistance. As I spent more time volunteering, I was able to share information with the folks at Illinois Legal Aid Online, and the staff made me feel that the feedback I provided from my interactions with the public was helpful to improving the site. Now that I'm a practicing attorney, I'll still use Illinois Legal Aid Online whenever I need to familiarize myself with a new area of the law for a pro bono matter or really anything.

Comments ( 1 )

profile

TeamILAO 10/14/2019

Acs920, thanks so much for sharing your story. ILAO relies on volunteers like you to increase its impact - we are so grateful for your help!

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been on the Young Professional's Board at ILAO for 4 years now and have enjoyed every moment! The group's offering is vital to those in Illinois who don't know where to go when they need to navigate a complicated legal system. On top of that, all of the employees, board members, and directors are very engaged in spreading ILAO's message. Highly Recommend!

Comments ( 1 )

profile

TeamILAO 10/14/2019

Thank you for your comment and, more important, for your devoted leadership to ILAO, mgibbons1513!