Volunteer attorneys and paralegals will assist clients at Prairie State Legal Services this Saturday Feb. 11. Attorney and paralegal volunteers will staff a free Legal Advice Clinic 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Feb. 11 at Prairie State Legal Services, 331 Fulton Street, Suite 600 in Peoria.
Clients applied for services through Prairie State Legal Services ahead of time to receive help with family law issues, housing issues, debt issues, expungement and other civil legal matters. For poor and underrepresented people, families and communities, financial difficulties often go hand-in- hand with legal issues. When basic fundamentals like health care, housing, food, safety and employment may be out of reach, instances of workplace discrimination, denial of benefits, disability, evictions or domestic violence might push an already struggling family over the edge. While there is a constitutional right to legal representation in criminal matters, no such protection exists for civil legal matters. Receiving legal assistance allows people to rise out of poverty and live more healthy, prosperous and fulfilling lives. Addressing legal issues is also a critical preventative measure, keeping families and communities housed, fed, healthy and safe. Expanding and promoting the availability of civil legal aid for people who are underrepresented or living in poverty is one of the most effective ways to improve their lives and the overall well-being of a community. Almost 33 percent of Illinois’ residents are low-income, with 14.3 percent of the total population living in poverty and 6.8 percent living in extreme poverty. Peoria County has an even higher poverty rate of 16.7 percent.
At this free Legal Advice Clinic, volunteer attorneys and paralegals will provide critical legal assistance to Peoria residents that are part of this vulnerable population. This clinic is sponsored by PILI’s Tenth Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee, Prairie State Legal Services, the Immigration project and the Peoria County Bar Association. PILI’s Tenth Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee is a group comprised of lawyers and judges that strives to enhance equal access to justice by encouraging and promoting pro bono work in the Tenth Judicial Circuit, including Marshall, Peoria, Putnam, Stark and Tazewell counties. Learn more at www.pili.org/10thcircuit. About Public Interest Law Initiative (PILI): PILI is a nonprofit organizations with a mission is to cultivate a lifelong commitment to public interest law and pro bono service within the Illinois legal community to expand the availability of legal services for people, families and communities in need. Founded in 1977, PILI envisions a legal community with a deeply rooted culture of service, where law students, lawyers and legal professionals at all stages of their careers engage in public interest law or pro bono work, and remain committed to addressing the unmet legal needs of the poor and underrepresented. To learn more about this clinic, PILI or the Tenth Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee, visit www.pili.org, or contact PILI Program Director Beth Jensen at email@example.com or 309-999-9890. ###