Listed below are volunteer opportunities. Some of the opportunities are legal related, others are not. If you know of a volunteer opportunity for our paralegal studies students and graduates, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check back frequently as we will update these opportunities often.
Illinois Pro Bono
Through the Illinois Pro Bono website "volunteers can search for the perfect pro bono opportunity based on their specific preferences, watch video training sessions, use HotDocs forms for pro bono cases, and find out what news and events are happening in the pro bono community."
Volunteering as a Paralegal written by Thomas Wendt of the Center for Disability and Elder Law gives paralegals great information about where to start, what you will be doing, and what you will get out of volunteering.
The Volunteer Opportunity Search engine will provide information about pro bono opportunities throughout Illinois. Remember: Use fewer filters in order to ensure that you match multiple opportunities.
Catholic Charities Legal Assistance (CCLA)
Catholic Charities Legal Assistance (CCLA) provides legal services to low income individuals who are not represented by a lawyer. Their telephone advice line assists clients who are representing themselves by advising them of their rights and responsibilities as well as how to navigate the legal process when necessary. CCLA also offers a variety of other legal services, including representation in a limited number of areas and advice desks for face to face consultations.
"Non-lawyers also can make a difference in the lives of our clients by giving of their time and talents. CCLA needs assistance with answering client phone calls, conducting initial client intake screenings, administrative responsibilities and fundraising. Spanish speaking individuals are particularly helpful."
Prairie State Legal Services
Social Security Volunteers Needed
Applying for Social Security disability benefits is challenging. Applicants often fail to submit necessary medical evidence to establish disability, and many people are denied even though they are disabled and unable to work. Prairie State Legal Services' Disability Benefits Assistance Project is designed to help them qualify for the benefits they need at the initial application stage, rather than wait for the lengthy appeal process. As a volunteer, you will assist clients with that process. You will receive training to help you conduct these activities, including training in Social Security disability benefits eligibility and procedures. You will receive support and supervision to enable you to conduct these volunteer activities.
More information and to register as a volunteer. This office is located in St. Charles, Illinois.
Center for Economic Progress
"The Center for Economic Progress (CEP) helps hard-working, low-income families move from financial uncertainty to financial security. We offer a full-range of services to help families acquire the knowledge, skills, tools and confidence to make sound financial choices.
CEP provides low-wage workers with free, high quality tax preparation and an alternative to paid tax preparers. In 2012, we operated volunteer-driven tax sites in more than 15 Illinois communities – making CEP's free tax prep program one of the largest and oldest statewide programs of its kind."
If you are interested in volunteering as a Tax Site Assistant, training is free and available to individuals who commit to volunteering 30 hours at their tax sites during tax season. No prior tax knowledge is necessary.
Registration opens every year in mid-October and can be accessed at http://www.economicprogress.org/volunteer at that time.
Once registered, volunteers can select their tax site, sign up for training and even select days and times to volunteer during the tax season. Online training will be available after registration, and classroom training will take place in January. Once training and certification is complete, volunteers are all set to start helping clients in late January through April.
Email email@example.com for quick responses to general volunteer inquiries.
Legal Aid Foundation (LAF)
"For over 40 years LAF has provided people living in poverty in metropolitan Chicago with free professional legal services. LAF makes equal justice a reality, impacting the lives of over 40,000 of the most vulnerable members of our community."
LAF has various opportunities for non-lawyers, for more information visit their website.
Chicago Bar Association
Volunteer Opportunities for Paralegals
The Chicago Bar Association has put together a pro bono opportunities guide that can assist you in finding additional opportunities to serve your community. To make the best use of the guide, once you open it up click CTRL-F on your keyboard to start a search. Type in the words "paralegal" or "non-lawyer" and you will be taken to many listings in various practice areas that are looking for volunteers. Keep in mind that many of these organizations require some in-advance training on their processes and some also require a specific time commitment (for example, one Saturday a month for six months).
Good luck and keep us posted on the opportunities that you are finding most rewarding.
Loyola Graduate Student Service Days
For more information on the Graduate Student Service Days, stop by Water Tower Campus Ministry, 26 East Pearson, 3rd Floor
or click here.