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Legal Aid in Illinois: Selected Social and Economic Benefits

By: Jonah Kushner

Equal access to the justice system is a fundamental principle of American democracy. The U.S. Constitution guarantees equal protection of the laws and due process in the courts to allAmericans—not just those who can afford a lawyer. By providing legal counsel to those who cannot afford it, legal aid helps ensure that all Americans receive equal protection and due process, and that the laws passed by Congress and state and local governments are applied equally.

Across Illinois, nonprofit legal aid providers offer free legal advice, representation, and other legal services to low‐income, disadvantaged Illinoisans who have civil legal problems and cannot afford counsel. These legal aid providers afford access to the justice system for clients facing eviction and foreclosure, domestic violence, termination of vital benefits, and other threats to the health and safety of themselves and their families.

The study quantifies four economic benefits from cases closed in 2010 by the seven legal aid providers.  The estimates it presents can help inform policymakers and other stakeholders as they make decisions about the future of legal aid.

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Uploaded on: Dec 17, 2015
Year Published: 2012
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