Who is ILAO?

At ILAO, we believe in justice. We believe the law is for everyone. We know, however, that not everyone is equal in the eyes of the legal system. Race and culture, language, education, location, time, disability, and income are enormous barriers to using the law to get justice.

For more than 20 years, Illinois Legal Aid Online (ILAO) has opened opportunities to justice so that people can resolve their problems, especially those with the least access to the legal system. Through innovation and partnership, we make the law actionable and accessible. 

We believe that, with the right knowledge and guidance, people can be their own best advocates. We mobilize people with plain-language, 24/7 tools - in three languages - so families can understand and assert their legal rights. ILAO helps people, who are unable to find or afford attorneys, open opportunities for justice.

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Our values

These core values drive our work:

  1. Putting those we serve first.
  2. Focusing with intention on equity. 
  3. Respecting and serving the diverse communities of Illinois. 
  4. Simplifying complicated concepts into actionable tools and resources. 
  5. Cultivating connections and activating partnerships.
  6. Courageously trying new approaches and taking calculated risks.
  7. Continuously learning and improving.
diverse community online Zoom conference
Anti-Racism, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Illinois Legal Aid Online (ILAO) is open to all. Working with and helping people with a wide variety of lived experience brings us closer to meeting our ideal of a society where all people can get justice. Because our services and products—like the law—are for everyone, we believe in including everyone. We know that justice is scarcest for those who need it most. People with intersectionalities of historically oppressed identities face the greatest barriers to justice. ILAO seeks to break these barriers. ILAO believes that, equipped with the right tools, opportunities, and connections, people can shift the power differentials and use the law to get justice.

Inclusion, equity, and diversity are key in our work to champion opportunities, equality, and justice for those who need it most. As a community and individuals, we honor and respect differences; practice equity; and support the professional development and wellness of our colleagues.

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ILAO does
  • Even the playing field for people who can't afford a lawyer. With ILAO, people without lawyers are not without help or hope. Over 3 million people will use our tools this year to help with crises such as eviction, debt, food insecurity, domestic abuse, deportation, and divorce.
  • Use technology to scale the number of people helped. ILAO's Form Library provides over 70 apps that generate free legal papers for those seeking solutions to their legal problems. With nearly 30,000 personalized documents created last year, ILAO believes that the law is for everyone.
  • Always open. Over 100,000 people visit us every month from 5:00 pm to 9:00 am, when traditional legal services are closed. ILAO is the only legal aid service in Illinois where people can get free legal aid 24/7/365.
  • A game changer. Our tools and services are used by unsung heroes across Illinois, who take the initiative to advocate for themselves, their families, and their communities.
  • Multilingual. We help people whose first language may not be English. Every month our Spanish-language tools are visited by over 50,000 people. Since 2019, we also provide free tools in Polish.
  • Accurate. We track changes in Illinois law and keep our tools up-to-date in real time.