11750
Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court
Image Spacer for correct size distribution.
Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois
Contact Information | Help |
Official image of Clerk Dorothy Brown
Services and Resources

Self Help Resources in and around the Daley Center

General Information and Assistance     
Divorce and Other Domestic Relations Matters    
Guardianships for Minors      
Evictions and Other Matters Facing Defendants in 1st Municipal Division   
Foreclosures and Other Chancery Court Matters  
Domestic Violence - Civil     
Debt Collection  
Small Claims Matters  
Guardianship for Adults 
Expungement
Other Self-Help Resources at the Daley Center

General Information and Assistance 

Self-Help Web Center

Location: 6th Floor, Room 602, Richard J. Daley Center, 50 West Washington
Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday
Phone: No Phone

The Self-Help Web Center has two Internet enabled computer workstations that give pro se litigants access to user-friendly web-based tools and legal resources created by Illinois Legal Aid Online (formerly known as the Illinois Technology Center for Law and the Public Interest).  Illinois Legal Aid Online is a collaborative effort to provide reliable, user-friendly information and resources regarding legal issues commonly faced by lower-income persons.  These web-based resources include:

  • Preparation of Joint Simplified Dissolution of Marriage court forms through an interactive graphical interface;
  • Legal information in 21 areas of law, including instructions for solving common problems and multimedia training; and
  • A Search tool for free and low-cost legal representation.

Legal advice and assistance is not available at the self-help web center, but law students are available to help people utilize the tools and resources.   The Self-Help Web Center is the result of close collaboration between the Chief Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County, the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County; and Chicago-Kent College of Law’s Justice Web Collaboratory, Advice Desk and Illinois Legal Aid Online.

Divorce and Other Domestic Relations Matters

Domestic Relations Assistance Desk

Location: 30th floor, Richard J. Daley Center, 50 West Washington
Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Monday through Friday
Phone: (312) 738-9200

The Domestic Relations desk is a joint initiative of the Circuit Court, The Chicago Bar Foundation and CARPLS that offers free legal consultations to low-income people who cannot afford an attorney. The Desk, staffed by attorneys and volunteers from CARPLS, is designed to help people represent themselves in court on simple family matters and to resolve post-decree issues.  Litigants should bring any relevant court documents with them.  People will be served on a first come, first served basis.  No prior appointment is necessary.

Guardianships for Minors

Guardianship Assistance Desk for Minors

Location: Room 1020, Cook County Administration Building, 69 West Washington
Hours: Appointments 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday. Receptionist available 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Assistance by appointment only.
Phone: (312) 603-0135

A joint initiative of the Circuit Court, The Chicago Bar Foundation and Chicago Volunteer Legal Services (CVLS), this desk offers assistance for people who are representing themselves in seeking guardianship of a minor.  Qualified individuals can meet with court staff and a CVLS attorney who will help prepare the necessary court documents.  In complex matters, CVLS will match clients with pro bono attorneys.  This desk will help prospective guardians gain guardianship of the person, but not of the estate.  The Guardianship Assistance Desk also offers self-help packets for individuals who wish to prepare their own forms. The packets contain necessary forms with instructions on how they should be prepared and explanations on guardianship requirements.

Evictions and Other Matters Facing Defendants in 1st Municipal Division

Advice Desk

Location: 6th Floor, Room 602, Richard J. Daley Center, 50 West Washington
Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday
Phone: (312) 603-3579

The Advice Desk provides free legal assistance to pro se defendants in municipal court cases; pro se plaintiffs are not eligible for assistance.  The Advice Desk is staffed by an attorney, interns and law student volunteers who interview and advise defendants. General legal advice, help with the preparation of court-required documents such as pleadings and motions, and assistance with settlement negotiations are available at the Advice Desk. The desk also provides full representation for qualified litigants in some eviction cases. Help is available on a first come, first served basis, except for disabled persons and senior citizens who call to make an appointment at least 24 hours ahead. To be certain to be seen that day, defendants should arrive between 8:00 and 8:30 a.m. and sign up on the sign-in sheet outside Room 602. Defendants arriving later in the day may see an attorney only if time permits.

This Advice Desk is sponsored by the Circuit Court of Cook County and the Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago-Kent College of Law.

Foreclosures and Other Chancery Court Matters

Chancery Division Advice Desk

Location: 13th Floor, Room 1303, Richard J. Daley Center, 50 West Washington
Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., Monday through Friday
Phone: No Phone

Launched by the Circuit Court, The Chicago Bar Foundation and the Chicago Legal Clinic (which staffs the Desk), the Chancery Advice Desk assists pro se litigants facing foreclosure on their mortgages as well as other cases they may be facing in the Circuit Court’s Chancery Division.  If litigants qualify, this desk will also make referrals for appointment of counsel through the Chicago Bar Association’s Access to Justice Program.  Other than mortgage foreclosures, the subject matter of the cases heard in the Chancery Division includes name changes, partitions, administrative review, and a host of other matters. 

Domestic Violence - Civil

Pro Se Assistance Area - Domestic Violence - District 1
Independent Civil Order of Protection Courtroom

Location: 6th Floor, 28 N. Clark
Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday
Phone: (312) 827-2450

District 1 (Chicago) Civil Order of Protection Courtroom hears cases related solely to domestic violence. All Orders granted are civil.

The Office of the Circuit Court Clerk of Cook County manages the Pro Se Assistance Area (PSAA.) The PSAA serves all victims of domestic violence who choose to go ‘Pro Se’ – to request an order of protection in the Independent Civil Order of protection Courtroom. Clerk’s staff is trained in domestic violence issues and can give referrals, forms and assistance in completing the forms. A simple guide is available to help the pro se petitioner in the completion of the forms. A bi-lingual Spanish-speaking clerk is available. Staff is not allowed to give legal advice.

Domestic Violence Advocates from several domestic violence agencies are available to offer assistance, help in completing the forms, support in court, referrals, and information on safety issues. Domestic Violence Advocates are not attorneys.

Pro Bono Advocates (PBA) is also located on the 6th floor for victims of domestic violence who need legal assistance. Attorneys staff PBA. Victims of domestic abuse may qualify for assistance from PBA - dependent on specific federal income guidelines. Open office hours for PBA: 8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Monday through Friday.

Debt Collection

CARPLS Self-Help Collection Desk

Location: 14th floor, Room 1401, Richard J. Daley Center, 50 West Washington
Hours: Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, 9:30 AM - 12:30 PM. 
Phone: No phone.

The CARPLS Self-Help Collection Desk provides legal assistance to lower-income defendants in post-judgment collection proceedings. The desk will be staffed by CARPLS staff attorneys, law clerks and volunteer private attorneys. The desk attorneys will not represent individuals in court.

All post-judgment proceedings in the First District Municipal Department of the Circuit Court of Cook County are heard in Room 1401 of the Daley Center. Judges Thomas M. Donnelly and Sanjay T. Tailor preside in this courtroom.

The desk assists individuals who fit into one or more of the following categories:

  • The person is a defendant in a lawsuit brought by a creditor to collect a debt;
  • A court has entered a judgment against the defendant;
  • The defendant is not represented by an attorney (pro se); and
  • The defendant must appear in court in response to a proceeding brought by the creditor to determine whether the defendant has income or property available to pay the amount of the judgment.

In order to maximize the legal resources available at the new Collection Desk, CARPLS determines the order of assistance based on the level of need. CARPLS staff will also use informational brochures to educate pro se defendants about their rights and responsibilities on a variety of common collection issues. Pro se defendants seeking legal assistance will be screened in by CARPLS’ staff in Room 1401 and referred to the Desk. This Desk was developed by a partnership of the Circuit Court of Cook County, The Chicago Bar Foundation, CARPLS, the Chicago Bar Association Young Lawyers Section, Illinois Legal Aid Online and several dedicated individuals.

Small Claims Matters

Pro Se Help Desk

Location: 6th Floor, Room 602, Richard J. Daley Center, 50 West Washington
Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday
Phone: (312) 603-5626

In Pro Se Court (pro se is Latin for "in one's own behalf"), individuals represent themselves before a judge in cases seeking to recover monetary damages of up to $1,500. Pro se plaintiffs may visit the Pro Se Help Desk for free assistance throughout their cases in interpreting and filling out court-required documents. Trained staff members also advise pro se plaintiffs and defendants of any required court fees and provide explanations of how to follow the judge's orders. The staff of the Pro Se Help Desk does not provide legal advice.

Typical cases filed in Pro Se Court involve auto damage, clothing loss or damage, debt collection and tenant/landlord claims. Foreign language interpreters are available upon request. To request an interpreter for a language other than Spanish or Polish, please notify the Pro Se Help Desk at the phone number above prior to your arrival.

Guardianship for Adults

Adult Guardianship Help Desk

Location: 12th Floor next to the Forms Desk, Probate Division of the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County
Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays; 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., Wednesdays.  Hours current through August 23, 2004.  Subject to change with each new semester.
Phone: No phone

The Help Desk offers assistance to Pro Se petitioners (those without an attorney) seeking guardianship of the person for a disabled adult. It offers assistance in understanding the procedure for filing for guardianship. The staff will assist petitioners in filling out forms, but the desk does not offer legal advice. Assistance is for the guardianship of the person only, not of the estate. Petitioners are served on a first come, first served basis.

The Adult Guardianship Help Desk is staffed by law students from Loyola University Chicago School of Law. The Help Desk is operated by the Loyola University Elder Law Initiative. For more information or updated help desk hours, please call the Elder Law Clinic at (312) 915-6775.

Expungement

Cabrini Green Legal Aid Clinic Exoungement Help Desk

Location: Richard J. Daley Center, 50 West Washington
Hours: Currently, the desk is open on Mondays, 9:00am to 12:00pm. Beginning October 31, 2005, the desk will be open Mondays through Wednesdays, 9:00am to 12:00pm.

CGLA's Expungement Help Desk helps individuals seeking to clear their criminal record through expungement, sealing, or executive clemency. The goal of this help desk is to enable individuals with arrests or convictions in their past, who have demonstrated positive life changes, to become more productive members of our community. 

Other Self-Help Resources at the Daley Center

Cook County Law Library

Location: 29th Floor, Richard J. Daley Center (and other Cook County court locations), 50 West Washington
Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The Cook County Law Library offers access to a wide range of legal resources for attorneys and pro se litigants.

Notary Public at the Bond Desk

Location: 12th Floor, Richard J. Daley Center, 50 West Washington 
Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Pro se litigants can get court forms notarized here. Notarization costs $1.00 and requires a driver’s license or state ID.

Child Advocacy Room: The Rhoda Bresler Children’s Room

Location: 13th Floor, Room 1309, Richard J. Daley Center, 50 West Washington 
Hours: 8:45 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., Monday through Friday
Phone: (312) 603-6252

The Circuit Court of Cook County's Children's Advocacy Rooms are safe and nurturing environments where children may stay while their parents or guardians attend court proceedings in eight Circuit Court locations. Designed as friendly, child-centered sites, the Children's Advocacy Rooms are intended to spare children from exposure to the stressful, emotionally charged atmosphere of a courtroom. In the Children's Advocacy Rooms, children are supervised in cheerfully decorated areas by trained, professional staff with assistance from volunteers and interns. Games, books, toys, arts and crafts and other appropriate materials selected to meet a wide range of needs are offered. Nutritional snacks are provided through donations from The Greater Chicago Food Depository.

 


© 2002 - 2017, Office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County. (Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy)

Stay Informed!

Receive the Latest Info!

Sign up for email updates on eFiling and other Clerk’s Office services

By submitting your email address you agree to be sent information about Electronic Filing and other notices from the Office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County. Your information will not be used for any other purpose.

Thank you for your submission.

Close this window

By submitting your email address you agree to be sent information about Electronic Filing and other notices from the Office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County. Your information will not be used for any other purpose.