Cook County Civil Legal Aid
CVLS is an organization of over 3,000 volunteer attorneys who donate free legal services to thousands of low-income Chicagoans. Our services are free, accessible and real.
With 22 legal clinics across the Chicago area, hosted evenings and weekends at community organizations and churches, where you can talk with an attorney about your legal problem, CVLS works to ensure that everyone has access to justice, not just those who can afford it.
Six-year old Faith relies on many people to keep her interests front and center. Among these are a mother who cares about her, and Jalinea, the devoted guardian who has been responsible for her for most of her life. Faith also has the help of volunteer guardian ad litem Rose Gallagher, who works hard to ensure that Faith's needs are met during her childhood and beyond.
When Vernice was threatened with foreclosure, volunteer Travis Moore slogged through 15 years of mortgage records from three different banks. To his surprise, he discovered that the foreclosing lender had, in error, increased her principal loan balance in a prior modification. He called the error to the lender's attention. No one cared. So Travis filed a counterclaim under the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Practices Act. The lander cared about that-and forgave 80% of her principal debt. Now Vernice has a fair loan that she can afford.
When Juan and his family moved out of their apartment, their landlord of six years refused to return their security deposit. After waiting several months, Juan Sued.
But his landlord hired an attorney who countersued. Without his own attorney, Juan didn't stand a chance. Then Juan went to a CVLS neighborhood clinic and got his own attorney. Heidi Schmid took the case to trial and won.
Juan got a check for the entire security deposit plus interest.
Olukayode and his family were losing their home to foreclosure. Their lender ignored their repeated inquiries and kept losing their financial documents.
Kathleen Robson knew her clients were eligible for a federal HAMP loan modification. Refusing to be ignored, she researched federal programs, resubmitted documents, argued and got the lender to pay attention. Kathleen did it all and got her clients the loan modification that kept them in their home.
Taylor was a bright student near the top of her high school class, until she got sick with a debilitating illness that caused her to miss school. Although her mother worked with the school to obtain special accommodations, her teachers ignored them, penalizing Taylor for the absences which caused her grades to decline. Her mother turned to CVLS for help. Thanks to volunteer Carolynne Paulsen's advocacy, school officials agreed to cooperate and assigned Taylor and administrative liaison. As a result, she graduated on time and is enjoying her freshman year at an out-of-state college.
Kalveena's older sister tried to care for the 15-year old because their parents could not, but she simply couldn't do it alone.
When she petitioned for guardianship, the court appointed CVLS as Kalveena's Guardian Ad Litem. GAL Katherine Walton thought that a Chicago residential program could be the perfect place for Kalveena, so Katie, working with program staff, helped her young client navigate a multi-step admission process.
Now, thanks to a caring attorney, Kalveena is safe and happy.
Although Barbera always paid her car insurance premiums on time, when her car was stolen and she filed a claim, the insurance company denied it.
Adam Tondryk, Barbara's CVLS attorney tried to settle, but when the insurer refused to budge, he said, "Fine. We'll file a lawsuit." The insurer's attorneys asked for a little more time. Barbera's attorney agreed. As that deadline loomed, he made it clear he was going ahead with the lawsuit.
Two days later, the insurance company paid in full.