Skip to Main Content

Details | State of Illinois Office of the Illinois Courts

Updates Regarding the Illinois Supreme Court's Volunteer Pro Bono Program in Criminal Appeals


June 23, 2020

The Illinois Supreme Court recently approved a training curriculum and modifications to eligibility requirements for the Volunteer Pro Bono Program in Criminal Appeals. These updates are intended to streamline operations and increase the availability of eligible attorneys interested in participating in this important initiative.


The Office of the State Appellate Defender (OSAD) is launching a 5-week online training course for the Illinois Supreme Court's Volunteer Pro Bono Program in Criminal Appeals. The online training will run from July 9-August 6, 2020. Attorneys who do not meet current eligibility requirements may qualify to participate in the program by completing this course in its entirety.

The online course will combine live teaching with recorded videos and supplemental materials. On Monday of each week, videos and supplemental materials will be released. Attorneys can review this material, which should take approximately 1.5 hours, at their own convenience. The class will meet on Thursdays from 1:30-2:15 p.m. to review and discuss that week's materials. For a complete overview of the course curriculum, please see OSAD's training flyer for the program. 
Space is limited and registration is open through July 2. For questions and further information, please contact Laura Weiler, Director of Training, OSAD.

Eligibility Requirements

The Illinois Supreme Court modified the eligibility requirements to participate in the pro bono program. Attorneys must now have a minimum of two prior appearances as appellate counsel in civil and/or criminal appeals (as opposed to the former requirement of five appearances within the last ten years). 

In addition, supervising attorneys overseeing the work of other attorneys in their firm for purposes of the pro bono program will no longer have to file an appearance as counsel in the case. It will be sufficient to have the volunteer attorney assigned to the case singularly file their appearance. 
For more information about the pro bono program or to submit an application, please visit the Court's website.