Seeking Legal Aid from NSLAC

Navigating Legal Aid: Your Guide to Seeking Legal Aid Assistance from NSLAC

Making the first call to receive legal help can be intimidating. This marks a crucial first step in safeguarding your rights and addressing your concerns with the care they deserve. At NSLAC we understand the significance of every case, and our dedicated team is committed to providing you with the support and guidance you need. The information below will help you understand what to expect as you seek legal aid and know that our team is here to help you every step of the way. 

What legal services does NSLAC provide? 

NSLAC is a non-profit providing free legal aid services in the areas of domestic violence, housing, and immigration 

Are NSLAC’s services free?  

Yes, NSLAC’s services are free of charge if you meet our eligibility requirements.  

What are NSLAC’s eligibility requirements?  

To qualify for NSLAC’s free legal aid services, you must be a resident living in north suburban Cook County or Lake County and have a household income less than 250% of the federal poverty level.  There are no income requirements for victims of domestic violence. NSLAC does not assist in criminal cases.  

What if I do not meet NSLAC’s eligibility requirements?  

If you do not meet NSLAC’s financial or service area requirements, we will do our best to refer you to other legal aid organizations or outside resources. 

Who will I speak to when I initially call NSLAC?  

When you first call NSLAC’s office, you will be assisted by an NSLAC intake specialist. Intake specialists are proficient in screening clients for eligibility, collecting client information, providing translation and interpretation support, and offering referrals. Please keep in mind that intake specialists are not attorneys, and no legal advice will be given during your intake call. If an intake specialist is unavailable at the time of your call, another team member will assist you, but an eligibility screening will not be conducted during this time. In such cases, please expect a callback from an intake specialist within 24-48 hours. 

Can NSLAC provide interpretation services if I do not speak English?  

Yes, NSLAC has a diverse team proficient in Spanish, Ukrainian, Russian, Pashto, Dari, and Urdu. If needed, we also offer over-the-phone interpretation services for other languages. 

What can I expect from my initial call?  

During your initial call, an intake specialist will prescreen you to determine if you are eligible for NSLAC’s services.  

What is a prescreen?  

A prescreen is an initial eligibility assessment, that involves gathering information about a client’s legal issue and financial situation to determine if they are eligible for NSLAC’s free legal services.  

How long will my prescreen take? 

A prescreen can typically last between 10-45 minutes, depending on your legal need.  

Does the intake process vary depending on the practice area? 

Yes, depending on your legal need, the intake process will vary. Generally, if you are calling for NSLAC’s housing legal aid, you may be asked additional questions regarding your household income. 

What information will be asked for during my initial call? 

During your initial call to NSLAC, you may be asked for some or all the following details: 

  • First name and Last name 
  • Location and Zip Code 
  • Email 
  • Date of Birth 
  • Phone Number 
  • Household Income 
  • Preferred Language 
  • Referral Source (How did you hear from us) 
  • Summary of your legal issues 
  • Courthouse where your case is located 

Additionally, NSLAC will ask questions regarding your demographics. This information enables us to better serve our clients. All information is confidential. 

Should I have any documents or information on hand during the prescreening process?  

No specific documents or information are required during the prescreening process. However, having the following information, when applicable, will be helpful as we assist you.  

  • Housing Legal Aid Services: 
    • A rough estimate of household income, the name of the landlord or management company, case number, and/or the courthouse where your case is located.  
  • Immigration Legal Aid: 
    • Your court date, date of arrival in the U.S., case number, and/ or the courthouse where your case is located 
  • Domestic Violence 
    • The courthouse where your case is located (if applicable) 

After my prescreen, when can I expect to hear back from NSLAC? 

If after a prescreen, an intake specialist believes you are eligible for NSLAC’s services, you will be given a consultation date to speak with an attorney. Depending on the practice area, your case may be reviewed, and you will receive a call back to confirm your consultation.   

What if NSLAC cannot help me?  

If NSLAC finds it cannot provide you with legal aid services, we will do our best to refer you to other legal aid organizations or outside resources. 

 If I qualify for legal assistance, what is the next step?  

After you have been given a consultation, an NSLAC attorney will call you at your scheduled time. Consultations typically last 45 minutes to an hour. From there, an attorney will evaluate your case and determine if NSLAC can take your case.  

 Will I always work with the same attorney? 

Yes, if your case is approved, you will typically work with one attorney. However, practice assistants and other attorneys might also contribute to your case as needed.  

What if my case involves more than one practice area?  

If your case involves more than one practice area, an intake specialist will conduct separate intakes and arrange separate consultations for each specific practice area.  

Have more questions? 

If you have more questions regarding NSLAC’s services, please call NSLAC at 847-737-4042 or email info@nslegalaid.org. Interpreters are available upon request in all languages. Services are available regardless of immigration status.  

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