Most of the work done by the Legal Advocacy Service on behalf of persons
with disabilities is the result of court appointments under the Illinois
Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Code.
Indeed, LAS provides representation in more than 6000 cases each
year, in both the trial and appellate courts, pursuant to such court appointments.
non-court-appointed cases, LAS is statutorily required to seek referral,
and to assist the client in finding private counsel whenever possible. Some requests for assistance involve clients
with the ability to pay counsel, and to accept those clients LAS would have
to charge a fee for services just as private counsel would. But other cases involve indigent or near indigent
clients with significant issues that deserve legal support. Unfortunately, given the number of cases to
which LAS is appointed by the courts, our first and unalterable mandate,
many of these clients must be referred elsewhere or trained in self-advocacy
and sent off to do battle. This
is most often seen in disputes with local education officials over necessary
services for a child with disabilities, but many other areas of representational
need become apparent, including disputes involving Social Security benefits,
employment discrimination, landlord/tenant issues, financial abuse, guardianship
assistance and more.
We are most interested in compiling a list of local counsel in each area
of the State who are willing to provide pro bono or fee-based services
to persons with disabilities. If
you, or your firm, would like to be placed on our list of interested legal
service providers, please contact our intake number at 312-793-5900
to identify which issue areas would be suitable for non-binding case referral
to meet the needs of underserved clients with disabilities and your practice.