Our Mission

The mission of the Highland Park-Highwood Legal Aid Clinic is to provide legal services to those in need that live or work in Highland Park, Highwood or West Deerfield Township in the areas of immigration, domestic violence and housing.

Who We Serve

We offer our services to residents and those who work in Highland Park, Highwood or West Deerfield Township who meet our income level qualifications. In general, the Clinic will work with residents who are at or below 250% of the Federal Poverty Level, about $60,000 for a family of four. We work with lawfully admitted immigrants to the U.S. and with those who entered without inspection and are therefore undocumented.

How We Work

Highland Park-Highwood Legal Aid Clinic works with volunteer attorneys who are licensed to practice law in Illinois. They have volunteered to take cases which we refer to them and not charge the client a fee. If we match the client to an attorney, the attorney takes over management of the legal issue. We provide support to the assigned attorney and will stay with the case until completion, whether it is resolved favorably or not.

To be approved for this referral, the client must meet the eligibility requirements of income, living or working in Highland Park, Highwood or West Deerfield Township and having the case involve immigration, domestic violence or landlord/tenant issues. We are expanding our services to include house closings and interpretation of documents. The client needs to submit a signed intake form authorizing the Clinic to release information about the client and the legal issues with an attorney and staff in order to provide legal assistance. If the case is accepted, the will be asked to sign a retainer agreement with the attorney. Some court costs may be waived according to the rules of the Circuit Court of Lake County.

Clinic: We will have office hours during the week, when clients can call for an intake appointment or meet with a staff person, and walk in clinics on a monthly basis on Saturdays. Evening hours will be established as well.

Workshops: We invite citizens of Highland Park, Highwood and West Deerfield Township to attend open workshops that are designed to assist with specific matters that may affect them. Generally, there are no income qualifications, and attendees are free to access the services offered at these workshops without being screened for income verification. We assign cases to volunteer attorneys for follow-up only if their needs cannot be met during the workshop, at which time income eligibility will apply. Some of our partner agencies that will be sponsoring the workshops, specifically on DACA and Citizenship applications, will request a donation of $50.

Immigration Defense Fund

Help us fund a $40,000 Matching Challenge Grant to support our immigration practice!

69% funded

Success Story

Late on a Friday afternoon, we received a phone call from Open Communities, an organization that works on housing issues for residents of north suburban Chicago. They had a distress call from an undocumented family in Highwood that was threatened with eviction the following Monday morning. They had received a court order that notified them of the impending eviction.

Because the landlord had sued the wrong family (a prior tenant), the tenants had been given no notice of any eviction proceedings. They could not afford an attorney to fight the eviction and felt they had no recourse. We contacted one of our volunteer attorneys, who agreed to take the case. He met with the tenants on Saturday morning and was in court early on Monday with a Motion to Vacate the Order. The judge agreed that the eviction was flawed and vacated his order. The sheriff was immediately called and the eviction was cancelled.

Partner Agencies

A Safe Place
A Safe Place provides safe housing and supportive counseling options to survivors of domestic violence at no charge. Additional services include abuser intervention groups, and education programs for professionals, students and the community-at-large.

HACES’ mission is to strengthen the lives of immigrants through quality programs and services assisting individuals to restore their self-confidence by closing education, language and cultural gaps between clients and the larger community.

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