CDEL offers volunteer and internship opportunities to college students, law students, and volunteer attorneys in a number of practice areas and settings. We can use everyone's talent and have a project for every skill set and time commitment. Please contact us about volunteer opportunities here.
*** CDEL has transitioned all of our programs to remote environments in light of COVID-19. All of our programs are active!
Full Legal Representation
CDEL places full representation cases with volunteer attorneys.
The time commitment for each type of file varies depending on
the specific facts of the case.
Simple Will and Transfer on Death Instruments
Community Based Projects
POWER OF ATTORNEY WORKSHOPS
CDEL representatives prepare Powers of Attorney for Health Care and Property, as well as Illinois Living Will Declarations, for low-income seniors at senior centers throughout Cook County. Time Commitment: Completion of the required training (1.5 hours) and at least one 3-hour workshop.
HOUSING PRESERVATION PROJECT (HPP)
The HPP, which launched in 2019 with our new Borchard Fellow, aims to preserve homeownership rights for seniors by: ensuring that seniors have a succession plan to pass their property interest to designated beneficiaries; assisting cost-burdened homeowners in securing property tax exemptions; advising about how to defend against a property tax sale for delinquent taxes by taking advantage of unused tax exemptions; ensuring that title is correct; defending against evictions and foreclosures; and advising about access to emergency repair funds. The HPP offers a variety of options for pro bono involvement, including legal clinics and brief service opportunities, one-day workshops with limited client engagement, and litigation opportunities. Time commitment:
Completion of the required training (1.5 hours) and additional commitment will vary depending on the opportunity and the complexity of matter.
DALEY CENTER PRO SE ADULT GUARDIANSHIP HELP DESK
Volunteer attorneys assist the public in completing the necessary documents for adult guardianship (of the person). The Desk is open from 9 am to 1 pm every day the court is in session inside the 12th Floor Probate Clerk’s Office at the Daley Center, 50 West Washington, Chicago. Time commitment: Completion of the required training (2 hours). Volunteers’ schedules vary from one shift a week, two shifts a month, or ad hoc whenever their schedules allow. New volunteers will always be paired with a seasoned attorney.
NEIGHBORHOOD SENIOR CLINICS
CDEL operates ten (10) Senior Legal Assistance Clinics (SLAC) in high-need communities throughout Chicago and suburban Cook County. At the Clinics, eligible seniors meet with CDEL representatives to gather information so that CDEL can evaluate the senior’s legal issue. CDEL also offers direct legal services, including Powers of Attorney and the execution of estate planning documents. The Clinics are held once or twice a month by appointment only. Time Commitment: Completion of the required training (1.5 hours) and commitment to work at a clinic once a month. Volunteers will be paired with CDEL staff initially until they are ready to be at the clinic alone.
PROUD TO THRIVE FOR LGBT ELDERS
Proud to Thrive, another new project that launched in 2019 with the addition of an Equal Justice Works Fellow, provides culturally responsive professional development and legal services for low-income LGBT elders throughout Cook County at mobile legal clinics and Power of Attorney workshops. Proud to Thrive offers a variety of options for pro bono involvement, including legal clinics and brief service opportunities, one-day workshops with limited client engagement, and litigation opportunities. Time commitment: Completion of LGBT elder cultural responsiveness training (1.0 hour); completion of required skill-based training (1.5-2.0 hours) and additional commitment will vary depending on the opportunity and the complexity of matter.
YOUNG ADULT GUARDIANSHIP
The Young Adult Guardianship mobile workshops are designed for families with children with disabilities who are transitioning to adulthood upon their 18th birthday. CDEL representatives go into the community to assist families with completing the necessary paperwork to file for guardianship (of the person). Volunteer attorneys may also provide full representation on guardianship cases that come in through the workshops, where they are eligible for full representation. Time commitment: Completion of required training (2 hours). Participation in at least one 2-hour workshop. For those taking a full representation case following a workshop, add another 5-10 hours.