Self Help Resources in and around 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 am to 4:30 pm, 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.  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,
  • 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, Chicago-Kent College of Law’s Justice Web Collaboratory, Advice Desk and Illinois Legal Aid Online.

Debt Collection

CARPLS Self-Help Collection Desk

Location:  14th floor, Conference Room in Courtroom 1401, Richard J. Daley Center, 50 West Washington
Hours:  Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 12:00 pm.
Phone:  no phone.

The Coordinated Advice & Referral Program for Legal Services (CARPLS) Self-Help Collection Desk provides information, advice and referrals to pro se debtors and creditors who appear on the post-judgment collection call each day in 1401.  It is staffed by CARPLS staff attorneys, volunteer attorneys, law students and an intake coordinator.   CARPLS staff also uses informational brochures to educate pro se litigants about their rights and responsibilities on a variety of common collection issues.   This advice and brochures are also available in Spanish.
  
The Desk is currently open on Monday through Friday from 9:00 am - 12:00 pm. Appointments are made on a first-come first-served basis.

The Collection Desk is supported by:  The Chicago Bar Foundation, the Illinois Equal Justice Foundation and the Circuit Court of Cook County..

Divorce and Other Domestic Relations Matters

Domestic Relations Assistance Desk

Location: 30th floor, Richard J. Daley Center, 50 West Washington
Hours: 9:00 am to 1:00 pm, Monday through Friday.  A sign-in sheet is available at the desk at 8:30 am.
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.

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 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday
Phone: (312) 603-5626

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  attorneys, 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.

This Advice Desk is sponsored by the Circuit Court of Cook County and the Chicago Bar Foundation.

Expungement

Cabrini Green Legal Aid - Expungement Help Desk

Location: 10th Floor, Room 1006, Richard J. Daley Center, 50 West Washington
Hours: 9:00 am to 12:00 pm, Monday through Wednesday; 9:00 am to 12:00 pm, 1:00 to 4:00 pm, Thursdays.

If you have been arrested by the Chicago Police Department, you must have a copy of the Chicago RAP sheet to receive legal assistance.  RAP sheets are available from the Chicago Police Department's Access and Review Division at 3510 S. Michigan Ave.  Access and Review is open from 8:00 am - 12:00 pm, Monday through Friday and the cost is $16.00.

The Expungement Help Desk:
  • Provides information on how to clear a criminal record in Illinois through expungement, sealing and clemency.
  • Assists individuals with completing the forms necessary for relief if eligible for expungement or sealing.

The Help Desk operates on a first-come, first-served basis.  Help Desk staff are able to assist the first 25 individuals that sign-in at the Desk each day. At the Help Desk, we will review your rap sheet and help qualifying individuals complete expungement or sealing forms.

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 am to 4:00 pm, 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.

Guardianship

Guardianship for Adults

Adult Guardianship Help Desk

Location: 12th Floor, Room 1202, next to the Forms Desk, Probate Division of the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County, Richard J. Daley Center, 50 West Washington
Hours: 9:00 am to 1:00 pm, Monday through Friday on all days that Court is in session.
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 Help Desk is administered by the Center for Disability and Elder Law. For more information, please call the Center at (312) 376-1880.

Guardianship for Minors

Circuit Court of Cook County Guardianship Assistance Desk for Minors

Location:  Room 1020, George W. Dunne Administration Building, 69 West Washington
Hours:  Receptionist available 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday. Assistance by appointment only.
Phone: (312) 603-0135

This desk may be able to help you prepare court forms to file for the guardianship of a minor.  You can obtain a "Do It Yourself" Guardianship Information packet from the Chicago office and fill out the forms yourself.  You can also request to have the packet mailed to you.  To make an appointment, call or drop in at the office.

Small Claims Matters

Pro Se Help Desk

Location: 6th Floor, Room 602, Richard J. Daley Center, 50 West Washington
Hours: 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday (arrive by 3:30 pm to receive assistance by 4:30 pm)
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 $3,000. Includes auto damage, clothing loss, or damage, debt collection and tenant/landlord claims.  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.

Other Self-Help Resources at the Daley Center

Child Advocacy Room: The Rhoda Bresler Children's Room

Location: 13th Floor, Room 1319, Richard J. Daley Center, 50 West Washington
Hours: 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday
Phone: (312) 603-6252

Free child care with proof of court date or a referral from judge or court staff (bathroom-independent children ages 2-12).

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.

Cook County Law Library

Location: 29th Floor, Richard J. Daley Center (and other Cook County court locations), 50 West Washington
Hours: 8:30 am to 7:00 pm, Monday through Friday; 12:30 pm to 4:30 pm, Saturday
Phone: (312) 603-5423

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 am to 3:00 pm, Monday through Friday

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


 





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