If you live in Chicago and have a low to moderate income, now you have an option for obtaining “reliable and affordable legal assistance.” The Justice Entrepreneurs Project (JEP) is one of a number of initiatives the Chicago Bar Foundation (CBF) has undertaken to provide the community with “equal access to justice.”
The CBF, through the JEP program, pairs new lawyers who want to serve the community with legal consumers who don’t qualify for free legal aid and who can’t afford traditional law firm rates. The lawyers are chosen through a “competitive selection process,” and they “are technologically savvy,” “welcome innovation,” and “understand the need to reinvent the traditional law practice.” The JEB website gives the following description of the program and services offered:
The Justice Entrepreneurs Project (JEP) is a network of independent lawyers who are committed to making quality legal services accessible and affordable for regular people. Lawyers in the JEP offer fixed fees and flexible representation options (like unbundled, a la carte services) to help accomplish this. Their practices seek to be client-centered and emphasize approachability and collaboration between the attorney and client.
Lawyers in the JEP currently assist clients in the following areas:
- Family Law – including divorce, spousal support, child support, custody, visitation and orders of protection
- Landlord/Tenant – including eviction proceedings and security deposit claims
- Consumer Law – including debt collection issues, consumer disputes and Chapter 7 bankruptcy
- Estate Law – including wills, probate and guardianships
- Employment Law – including discrimination and wage claims
- Small Business/Non-profit – including business formation, contracts and intellectual property issues
- Real Property Law – including foreclosure proceedings and real estate purchase/sale
- Criminal misdemeanors, traffic tickets, license suspensions and ordinance violations
- Immigration Law – including visas, residency, naturalization and asylum
LPR applauds the CBF and all of the JEP lawyers who serve their community. While it is unfortunate that so many people are priced out of traditional law firm assistance, the good news is that there is now what appears to be a great option for that demographic.