NEW MOBILE APPLICATION PUTS LAW IN THE PALM OF ILLINOIS RESIDENTS
Illinois is the first state to develop a mobile platform of free self-help legal information and resources for the public
CHICAGO, IL, November 15, 2011 – Lower-income Illinois residents who cannot afford a lawyer can now find resources to resolve their legal problems with the click of a button on their cell phones. The Illinois Legal Aid Mobile App, developed by Illinois Legal Aid Online, delivers free information about legal rights and responsibilities, self-representation instructions, and referrals to legal services providers.
Illinois, a national leader in applying technology to the delivery of free legal services, is the first state to launch a free mobile application for the lower-income public experiencing legal issues. The Illinois Legal Aid Mobile App is currently available for Apple and Android devices.
“We have a system where you must advocate for yourself. With this new app, all the information you need is right there,” said Hon. Michael Hyman of the Circuit Court of Cook County. “It’s hard to think what Illinois would be like without Illinois Legal Aid Online. Its self-help resources level the playing field and ensure justice is obtained in every case.”
Mobile apps are becoming an increasingly critical means for delivering information, especially to minority and lower-income populations. A study released this past July by the Pew Research Center reported that “smart phone owners under the age of 30, non-white smart phone users, and smart phone owners with relatively low income and education levels are particularly likely to say that they mostly go online using their phones.” Mobile phones can provide Internet access for those who cannot afford a home computer with broadband. Currently, over 11% of visits to IllinoisLegalAid.org are from mobile devices.
The Illinois Legal Aid Mobile App provides zip code-based referrals to local legal services programs, including county-based legal self-help centers, and free, plain language legal information for the most common legal problems. Comprehensive legal guides contain FAQs, easy-to-understand definitions and self-help instructions on specific legal issues. This new tool makes navigating a confusing legal system easy, free and available 24/7 to residents facing legal problems such as domestic violence, mortgage foreclosure, child support, and more.
“The unfortunate reality is that the poor economy has forced more people into poverty, and legal aid programs like Prairie State Legal Services are unable to serve many of these people,” said Mike O’Connor, Executive Director of Prairie State Legal Services. “The new Illinois Legal Aid Mobile App will make it easier for people to access information anytime and anyplace, right when it is needed.”
“This helps people to help themselves whenever this is possible, and helps legal aid programs by helping clients find their way to the right program when only the assistance of a lawyer will do,” he said.
In October Illinois Legal Aid Online released a mobile app designed for legal professionals who volunteer with legal aid organizations. The free Illinois Pro Bono Mobile App, available in the iTunes Store and Android Market, gives its users instantaneous access to a statewide database of volunteer opportunities, a calendar of MCLE trainings and community events, and in-depth legal articles.
About Illinois Legal Aid Online
Illinois Legal Aid Online is a nationally-recognized, groundbreaking statewide technology center for legal services. Since 2001, ILAO has put the law within reach for lower-income Illinois residents by developing technology and information to increase access to justice. For more information, please visit www.IllinoisLegalAidOnline.org.
Illinois Legal Aid Online | More news from this organization