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DIY Research: Legal Information

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Online legal information 

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Answers to many common legal questions can be found online, but it is important to use a trusted, accurate website. 

Illinois Legal Aid Online – Find answers to many common legal questions and guided, online assistance in filling out some legal forms through this extensive, free resource. Illinois Legal Aid Online is a registered non-profit whose mission is to make the law accessible and understandable for all citizens. 

Findlaw Findlaw includes detailed information about the law and legal issues that are intended to be consumer-facing, or for a public audience that is not formally trained in law.  Findlaw is published by Thomson Reuters, a reputable publisher of legal information.    

The Legal Information Institute – Extensive legal information, much of it in the form of primary materials, is available from Cornell Law School through the Legal Information Institute. The free legal dictionary and encyclopedia are both potentially useful for at-home legal research, but be on the lookout for advertisements.   

In the library 

The library has several in-house resources for legal information. On the shelves, there are legal information books available for checkout on a number of popular subjects, including divorce, powers of attorney, patents and many more. Many are published by a company called NOLO, which is renowned for making legal information approachable for non-legal professionals. (Think of it as the “For Dummies” series for legal topics.) 

Gale LegalForms – Many legal forms are available through Gale Legal Forms, accessible in the library or from home with a Mount Prospect Library Card. 

For deeper legal research, library patrons can access primary and secondary legal sources through WestLaw, available in-house on the public computers. 

Legal assistance 

If you need to speak with an attorney, there are local organizations that provide access to professional legal advice 

CARPLS – Cook County’s largest provider of free legal services, the CARPLS legal aid hotline at 312-738-9200 is open Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 

North Suburban Legal Aid Clinic – This local organization provides legal services in the areas of immigration, housing, and domestic violence. Income restrictions apply for housing and immigration legal services; domestic violence legal services do not have an income requirement. 

Illinois Legal Aid Online – Get connected with available legal support through the “Get Legal Help” form available on Illinois Legal Aid Online. 

With questions about accessing any of these resources, or for help in finding more sources for legal information, please contact the Research Desk to request a reference appointment.     

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