Second Judicial Circuit Chief Judge Melissa Morgan is proud to announce the Circuit has been awarded an Access to Justice grant for the second consecutive year. The grant is made possible by the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Access to Justice and the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts and seeks to fund programs aimed to assist self-represented litigants. This time last year, the Circuit created a program known as “Lawyer in the Library” in Franklin County which consisted of a local attorney meeting one-on-one with individuals at the library and providing them with free legal information and guidance. This year’s grant award will expand these services to four counties across the Circuit: Franklin, Gallatin, Hamilton, and Richland.
Serving as the Project Lead for this year’s grant is Jefferson County native, Erica Summers. Mrs. Summers has served as the Administrative Assistant to the Chief Judge since January, and she will be coordinating various aspects of the program including advertising, funding, and other administrative responsibilities. “Having previously worked in the court system with the Jefferson County Circuit Clerk’s Office, I have seen first-hand how programs like this benefit self-represented litigants. I have always had a passion for helping people and I am excited to be part of this program that enables me to do that,” stated Mrs. Summers.
Chief Judge Morgan added, “I am so thankful to the Illinois Supreme Court’s Commission on Access to Justice and the Administrative Office for this year’s grant award because it lets us build on the program’s success last year. We started with one library in one county and wanted to focus on making it a sustainable program. Our goal was simple - to help people in our community who were attempting to navigate the court system without a lawyer. This year, we are expanding and will be providing these services in four counties across the Circuit. Having Erica Summers on board will be a tremendous asset to everyone involved, and I feel so fortunate for the partnerships we have formed with libraries, courthouses, and attorneys throughout our area to make this possible.”
The Second Judicial Circuit is comprised of twelve counties: Crawford, Edwards, Franklin, Hamilton, Hardin, Gallatin, Jefferson, Lawrence, Richland, Wabash, Wayne, and White.
(Pictured: Erica Summers, Project Lead and Administrative Assistant to the Second Circuit Chief