Frequently Asked Questions

Does Prairie State handle criminal cases?

No. Prairie State does not represent defendants in any criminal or traffic cases. In addition, Prairie State does not handle abortion rights cases, political redistricting cases, selective service cases, or euthanasia (mercy killing) cases.

Is Prairie State a government agency?

No. Prairie State does receive some government grants for its work, but Prairie State is an independent nonprofit organization.

Does Prairie State charge fees or have a sliding scale?

No. Prairie State does not charge clients for its services. In order to receive assistance from Prairie State, however, clients must be financially eligible for services or eligible under the terms of a special project. 

Do I have the right to a lawyer to represent me in court?

You may have heard these words on television: “You have the right to remain silent. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you.” However, those rights only apply to criminal cases. In the United States, there is generally no right to have an attorney paid for by the state or by the court in most civil cases.

Does Prairie State take every case?

No. Prairie State has limited resources. We do not have enough staff or volunteer attorneys to take every case or to go to court with every eligible client. 

We will not deny help on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, religion, political affiliation or belief, disability or any other classification protected by law.

Who is eligible for help from Prairie State?

View our Eligibility Factors to learn more. 

Does Prairie State have a waiting list for legal help?

Some offices have waiting lists for non-emergency cases such as divorces or bankruptcies. In general, however, Prairie State clients need immediate help, and therefore, waiting lists are not practical for these cases. 

What can I do if I am unhappy with a decision made by Prairie State or of the services provided by Prairie State?

PSLS is committed to providing high quality legal services to clients, and to being accountable to the communities Prairie State serves and those individuals applying for PSLS services. PSLS has a complaint procedure for clients and applicants and provides a fair method for the resolution of disputes. PSLS also intends to comply with Legal Services Corporation Regulation 1621. To view Complaint Procedure for Clients and Applicants document, click here.