Chief Judge Evans announces expansion of court's In-Court Lawyer Referral Program
Released on 5/10/2012 4:37:23 PM

Cook County Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans today announced that he has expanded participation in the In-Court Lawyer Referral Program in two of the court’s suburban districts to increase the number and diversity of attorneys available to offer defendants immediate representation in court.

The expansion went into effect Monday, May 3, 2004, with the participation of additional local and ethnic bar associations in the court-sponsored public service program. The new bar associations joining the In-Court Lawyer Referral Program in the court’s west suburban Fourth Municipal District court facility in Maywood are the West Suburban Bar Association, the Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois and the Puerto Rican Bar Association. The Northwest Suburban Bar Association will join the program in the northwest suburban Third Municipal District court facility in Rolling Meadows.

Under the In-Court Lawyer Referral Program, judges refer defendants appearing in court without an attorney for traffic offenses, misdemeanor offenses, and felony preliminary hearings to attorneys waiting in court who are supplied by local bar associations. The purpose of the program is to ensure the availability of legal representation at a reasonable cost to defendants who do not qualify for representation by the Office of the Public Defender. The bar associations currently providing "bar attorneys" are the Chicago Bar Association and the Cook County Bar Association.

"By making the program more inclusive, the court is responding to the cultural and language needs of the geographic population it serves in the various suburban district courthouses," said Chief Judge Evans. "We also broaden the spectrum of legal representation available to defendants by accepting more attorneys into the program," Chief Judge Evans added.

Other benefits of the expanded program are that representation of defendants in more complex cases is facilitated by bar attorneys with practices in proximity to the courthouse, and that bar attorneys also agree to perform pro bono work as needed.