Our Application Process
Before applying for help, you may want to check out our resource pages for nonprofits and small businesses. Please note: Our applications for small business help are temporarily paused. You might also find help through our Employer Hotline or our Bootcamp program for founders of nonprofit startups.
There are multiple steps in the application and attorney selection process, so it may take several weeks for your case to be assigned to an attorney. Here are the typical steps in the Community Law Project application process:
After you submit your complete application (meaning a signed application with the application fee paid), a staff attorney will review the application to determine if your organization meets our eligibility criteria.
After review, the staff attorney will contact you within 7-10 business days and inform you if additional information is needed or if the file is ready to be placed.
If the file is complete, we will find a volunteer attorney with the appropriate skills to work with your group. This process may take a few days to a few weeks; if the file is incomplete, you will need to supply the additional information before we attempt to place it with a volunteer.
Once an attorney has volunteered, we will send him or her your legal assistance application materials.
The volunteer attorney then reviews the file and submits it to the law firm’s conflicts and pro bono committees for approval. Unfortunately, the Community Law Project does not control this part of the process. It may take several weeks.
Once the firm has given the lawyer the go-ahead to represent you, we will call you to schedule the Initial Client Meeting.
The Initial Client Meeting will likely take place at the volunteer lawyer’s office in downtown Chicago. A Community Law Project staff attorney will attend the meeting along with a representative(s) from your organization. If you have questions before the initial client meeting, you should feel free to contact us.
To apply for help with an existing or established nonprofit, or to get help with a Community Benefits Agreement, complete this form.
To apply for help with a social enterprise, complete this form.