Land Records Free Legal Help Desk

2023 NACo Achievement Award Winner

Cook County, Ill., IL

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About the Program

Category: Civic Education and Public Information (Best in Category)

Year: 2023

One of the most important assets any person will own is their home, and unfortunately, filing essential documents such as those that ensure a home can pass easily to heirs without red tape remains a difficult process that requires most to hire an attorney or title agent. Further complicating the matter are laws that prevent office staff from answering legal questions or assisting with the preparations of documents. Even attorneys who work for the office cannot provide this assistance, as it would amount to a conflict of interest. To ensure that Cook County’s most vulnerable populations like the elderly and disabled are not simply turned away and left to hire someone on limited resources, or worse, to fail to take actions that can help their families, the Clerk’s Office created the Land Records Free Legal Help Desk, and partnered with a nonprofit legal assistance foundation to provide pro bono consultations via a network of volunteer attorneys. Since its launch, the Program has interacted with hundreds of county residents across a wide geography and has filled all available in-person appointment slots each month and is now seeking to expand to serve even more people.

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