Client Services

LAF (formerly the Legal Assistance Foundation) provides free civil legal services to people living in poverty in Cook County.  We make Equal Justice a Reality and help people get back on track.  

All clients must be registered by telephone and screened for eligibility through our Client Screening Unit at 312.341.1070. Our phone menu and staff communicate in English and Spanish. Read more about contacting LAF on our How to Reach Us page.  We do not accept requests for assistance by email or by signing up for our email list. 

For Ombudsman for seniors in nursing homes and assisted living facilities in suburban Cook County and Lake County, Illinois, call 888.401.8200 toll-free.

Get Help Now by calling 
312-341-1070 or Apply Online.

What types of legal services does LAF provide?

LAF offers a range of legal services in five main areas of law:

LAF also partners with volunteer attorneys and community organizations to offer free legal clinics and help desks.  Please see our list of Legal Clinics and Help Desks here.

LAF does not handle the following types of matters:

  • Criminal matters *
  • Personal injury
  • Malpractice
  • Workers’ Compensation
  • Traffic violations
  • Probate (wills/estates)
  • Private pension cases.

* We do not handle criminal matters, but we do have a Help Desk that focuses on juvenile records expungement.  We do not represent landlords in eviction cases. We generally do not file small claims cases.

All of LAF's Priorities in the Provision of Legal Services can be read here (and the annual report on the Priorities can be read here).  Visit our Other Legal Help in Illinois page for other free or low-cost legal services.


Who is eligible for services?

Persons with limited assets and income at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty level are financially eligible for services.  We have higher income limits for homeowners at risk of foreclosure, seniors, veterans, people living with HIV-AIDS, and domestic violence survivors seeking protection from an abuser.

In addition, a person must be a:

  • U.S. citizen
  • Lawful Permanent Resident
  • Asylee, Refugee, or a person who has been granted Withholding of Removal
  • An Adjustment of Status applicant who also has a U.S. citizen spouse, parent, or child (under 21)
  • A victim of human trafficking
  • A victim of domestic battery (including domestic violence), sexual assault, extreme mental cruelty, or a number of other crimes which are included in the U visa laws

We can provide limited services for:

  • H2A (agriculture) or H2B (forestry) workers
  • Lawful temporary residents

While we cannot provide legal assistance in all immigration cases, we can talk to you to find out what kind of help you might need, and refer somewhere where we think you can get that help.

See all of LAF's legal services.