Resources for Self-Represented Litigants
PLEASE NOTE: The Illinois Supreme Court has issued extensions for deadlines in the Appellate Court and Supreme Court. Please see the Appellate Court Districts and Resources section for information about your local courthouse or contact the clerk in your county or appellate district.
Attending Court by Phone or Video?
Find answers to questions and tips for court users going to court using Zoom and other resources
For E-filing Information
You must electronically file (e-file) all court documents in civil cases in Illinois unless (1) you are an inmate in a prison or jail and you do not have a lawyer; (2) you are filing a will; (3) you are filing into a juvenile court case; (4) you have a disability that prevents you from e-filing; or (5) for good cause. The first 4 exemptions are automatic and you do not need to submit additional paperwork.
The fifth exemption (good cause) requires you to fill out and file a
Certification for Exemption from E-Filing, and to check off one of the following reasons to be exempt from e-filing:
(a) I am representing myself and do not have the Internet or a computer in my home. My only access is through a public terminal at a courthouse, library, or other location. This poses a financial or other hardship.
(b) I am representing myself and have trouble reading, writing, or speaking in English.
(c) I am filing a document in a sensitive case, such as a petition for an order of protection or a civil no contact/stalking order.
(d) I tried to e-file my documents, but I was unable to complete the process because the equipment or assistance I need is not available.
E-Filing Overview and Guides
For a general overview of e-filing, please review this flyer in
English and Spanish.
For information about how to successfully e-file in Odyssey eFileIL, please review
these resources. Para obtener información sobre cómo presentar correctamente “e-filing” en Odyssey eFileIL, revise estos recursos.
For Case Information
For information about a pending court case, please contact your local
Circuit Court Clerk.
For Information About How to Find A Lawyer
For Free or Low Cost Legal Advice
If you are representing yourself and have a question about your case, you can submit a question to the
Illinois Free Legal Answers and have it answered by a pro bono lawyer. You must meet income qualifications to use the program.
In Chicago and Cook County, please call
CARPLS at (312) 738-9200 for free or low-cost legal advice and referral information. Please note that you may have to wait for up to 20 minutes to speak with an attorney. For $25 you can schedule an appointment. Please visit the website for more information.
In Chicago and Cook County, the
Justice Entrepreneurs Project and the Greater Chicago Legal Clinic may also offer reduced cost legal representation in certain areas of law.
In Northern Illinois (outside of Cook County), please contact your local
Prairie State Legal Services office.
In Southern Illinois, please contact Land of Lincoln Legal Aid
Legal Advice and Referral Center at (618) 394-7300 or toll free at (877) 342-7891.
For Referrals to Lawyers to Hire
For help finding a lawyer, please contact the
Chicago Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service or see the Limited Scope Referral Panels (in Chicago) or the Illinois State Bar Association Lawyer Finder (statewide).
If you are looking for a lawyer outside of Illinois, please visit the
American Bar Association Lawyer Referral Directory.
For Information About Court Staff and Other Help
These resources can only provide you with information and CANNOT give you legal advice. For legal advice, contact a lawyer (see information above).
COVID H.E.L.P. Chat Bot
COVID H.E.L.P. (Housing and Economic Loss Prevention) is a statewide initiative to provide no-cost legal guidance and referrals to representation to Illinoisans experiencing common legal problems due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Illinois residents can access free legal assistance 24/7 at COVIDhelpillinois.org.
Legal Self-Help Centers
Find a self-help center in your area by
clicking here and scrolling down to the “Find a self-help center” section, selecting your county, and seeing the location and contact information for the centers.
Illinois Legal Aid Online Live Chat
Go to www.illinoislegalaid.org. From any page, click on the Live Chat button on the right-hand side of the page. The agents can help you find information on the website about your legal issue. If the icon does not appear, there is no one available to chat with.
Cook County Court Information Helpline
Call 872-529-1093 to speak to an Illinois JusticeCorps volunteer about court operations and procedures, virtual court appearances, court forms, e-filing, and other legal information or referrals.
Need more information?
Disclaimer: Information and resources presented on this website do not constitute legal advice and are not a substitute for legal counsel. If you are in need of legal advice, you must speak with a lawyer. The resources provided herein are provided for informational purposes only and are neither legal authority nor a substitute for the requirements found in the Illinois Supreme Court Rules