Illinois JusticeCorps is an innovative program through which students serve as guides to make courts across Illinois more welcoming and less intimidating for people without lawyers. Illinois JusticeCorps recruits, trains and provides the necessary support for college and law students to provide this procedural and navigational assistance.
Illinois JusticeCorps is an important complement to the legal assistance provided by court-based pro bono and legal aid programs and the services provided by clerks, law library staff and other court personnel. JusticeCorps volunteers help to demystify the legal process for people without lawyers by helping them find their way around the courthouse and connecting them with assistance available there, helping them to find and use appropriate online resources, and helping them with referrals to legal aid and other services. Many JusticeCorps students have diverse backgrounds with strong connections to client communities, and they often can provide legal information to people without lawyers in their own languages.
The CBF launched Illinois JusticeCorps as a pilot program in Chicago in 2009. In 2012, the CBF expanded JusticeCorps with AmeriCorps funding from the Serve Illinois Commission and additional funding and in-kind support from the CBF and The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Access to Justice. JusticeCorps currently places volunteers in courts in Chicago, Markham and Bloomington.