The Center for Disability & Elder Law (CDEL) provides free legal services to the elderly and persons with disabilities through a vast network of volunteer attorneys, paralegals, law students, and social work students located throughout the Chicagoland area. Over 1000 attorneys, who practice in such diverse settings as large law firms, solo practice, corporate counsel, and government agencies, generously donate their time, expertise, and energy to our clients, assisting them with their legal needs. By capitalizing on these free resources, CDEL provides legal services in the most cost efficient way possible. CDEL represents clients in many areas of the law, with practice areas including: ADA, Bankruptcy and Collections, Contracts, Consumer Fraud, Elder Abuse, Family Law, Government Benefits, Housing Discrimination, Insurance, Landlord/Tenant, Real Estate, Special Education, and Wills/Probate. CDEL specifically does not assist with criminal, personal injury/tort, and traffic.
To qualify for CDEL's services, clients must have a permanent physical, mental or developmental disability, or be a senior citizen (age 60 or over) and must live within Cook County. The clients must also fall within the federal poverty guidelines.
CDEL also administers the Adult Guardianship Help Desk (the “Help Desk”) in conjunction with the Cook County Circuit Court and the Office of the Cook County Circuit Clerk-Probate Division. The Help Desk assists persons who intend to appear pro se, without an attorney, in proceedings for adjudication of disability for an alleged disabled adult and appointment of a personal guardian. Help Desk staff provides information and assistance regarding the process and procedures; obtaining and completing required forms; directions for filing the Petition; assignment to a Calendar, Judge and Courtroom; scheduling a hearing; issuing and serving Summons; serving Notice; and procedures for the hearing. The Help Desk does not provide legal advice or legal representation.
Help Desk services are provided on a first-come, first-served basis Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on all days that the Circuit Court is in session. Help Desk staff does not provide assistance for proceedings in which a guardianship of the estate may be required and/or if the guardianship proceeding may be contested. Staff will provide referral information to other resources and/or to private attorney referral services for representation in these cases.
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