About Us

Who We Serve

The Center for Disability & Elder Law (CDEL) was founded to provide legal services to low income residents of Cook County, Illinois who are either elderly or who have permanent disabilities. Studies report that more than eighty percent (80%) of all low income individuals are unable to obtain legal representation, and that all of those who live in poverty will experience at least one legal problem each year.

The need for legal assistance and services on the part of these clients has increased dramatically over the past ten years and continues to grow.  The number of persons in the United States over 65 is expected to double by 2030. Ten years ago almost fifty million Americans were affected daily by a disability - one out of every five. This number is also expected to increase significantly.  These national trends are evident in Illinois and in Cook County as well.

Who Provides Legal Services

Dedicated volunteer attorneys from some of the largest law firms in Chicago and from firms and corporations located throughout Cook County, as well as paralegals, provide nearly ninety percent (90%) of the all of the legal services CDEL delivers, pro bono, to our clients. Because CDEL staff screens and creates client files, coordinates the Initiatives, and provides training and support to our volunteers, they are able to focus their valuable time on direct provision of legal services. CDEL strongly encourages the  involvement of newly-licensed attorneys, as well as paralegals, law students and interns, to engage their interest and foster their commitment to pro bono public interest law early in their careers.

Please take a few minutes to learn more about CDEL’s History, Mission,  Our Team, Board of Directors and Young Professionals Board.