-Second Judicial Circuit Seeks to Help Those Representing Themselves in Court

The Second Judicial Circuit is proud to announce it was recently awarded a grant to establish a new program aimed at providing free legal advice to individuals who are representing themselves in court. The grant, made available through the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Access to Justice (ATJ Commission) and the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts will be used to fund a new program in which a licensed attorney will be available to meet with individuals in the library and provide them with free legal coaching, document review, e-filing, and referrals.

The funding will also establish a Self-Represented Litigant Coordinator who will not only oversee this specific project, but will also assess the needs of self-represented litigants (SRLs) throughout the Circuit and the resources currently available to them. The goal of the program is to then seek new resources and develop new programs geared toward providing assistance to SRLs. Second Circuit Chief Judge Melissa Morgan has announced that DeeDee O’Bright will serve in this Coordinator role and the program is set to kick-off in the West Frankfort Public Library in Franklin County.

Chief Judge Morgan stated, “This program, referred to as “Lawyer in the Library” has been offered in not only different areas across the state, but the country as well, and I am excited for the opportunity to initiate it in the Second Circuit. So many people attempt to navigate the legal process without the benefit of an attorney because they have limited resources, but we are committed to providing them assistance and access to justice. I am extremely grateful to the ATJ Commission and the Administrative Office for this grant and the establishment of a Coordinator that will work to improve our court services for self-represented litigants.”

“Ms. O’Bright has already met with an experienced attorney who has agreed to participate in this program, and we will be circulating flyers throughout the area announcing this initiative and more details in the coming weeks,” added Chief Judge Morgan. The program is available to residents of the Second Circuit which is comprised of twelve counties: Crawford, Edwards, Franklin, Gallatin, Hamilton, Hardin, Jefferson, Lawrence, Richland, Wabash, Wayne, and White.