In the News

Date News Item
6/23/2016 Prairie State releases its 2016 Volunteer Involvement Plan

Prairie State is pleased to announce the release of its 2016 Volunteer Involvement Plan. The Plan describes Prairie State’s current volunteer projects and our goals for the coming year. Here are just a few of our recent pro bono accomplishments:

  • Volunteer attorneys completed nearly 1,500 pro bono cases in 2015. Clients received advice or brief services in approximately 2/3 of these cases and more extensive representation in 1/3 of these cases.
  • Volunteers reported over 13,000 hours of service in 2015.
  • 470 volunteer attorneys accepted almost 1,600 new pro bono cases in 2015. Approximately 57% of these cases involved a family law matter, and 15% involved a consumer issue such as bankruptcy or debt collection harassment.
  • More than 20 undergraduate, paralegal, and law students interned with Prairie State in 2015. These students interviewed clients, drafted court pleadings, conducted legal research, reviewed and summarized medical records in Social Security cases, and performed other activities in support of our work.
  • Fourteen retired, inactive, or out-of-state attorneys performed pro bono services through Prairie State under Illinois Supreme Court Rule 756(k) in 2015. This represents almost 30% of the total number of Illinois attorneys who performed pro bono services under Rule 756(k) in 2015.

We look forward to building on these successes in 2016 by:

  1. Continuing to prioritize referral of individual clients to volunteer attorneys for extended representation.
  2. Recruiting more retired attorneys to volunteer in our offices.
  3. Developing and offering cost-effective “bite-sized” pro bono opportunities.
  4. Using technology to train and support volunteers.
  5. Involving more non-attorney volunteers.

We need your help to make these goals a reality! Many of our most successful pro bono ventures have grown out of conversations with our pro bono partners. We hope you will take a few minutes to review our 2016 Volunteer Involvement Plan and share your thoughts with us. Please share your feedback on our Plan with Marisa Wiesman, Director of Volunteer Services at 630-690-2130 or mwiesman@pslegal.org.

Prairie State Legal Services provides free civil legal aid to people who cannot afford an attorney in 36 counties in northern and central Illinois, outside of Cook County.


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