"Building for the future: sharing in a legacy of justice" - Plaque on wall

Address Hours Contact Information Resources

302 North First Street

Champaign, Illinois 61820

9:00 to 5:00


Office: (217) 356-1351

Toll Free: (800) 747-5523

Fax: (217) 356-7621

New Applicants: (877) 342-7891

Email: champaign@lollaf.org

Legal Advice and Referral Center: (877) 342-7891

Web Site

Legal Aid in Illinois

en Español


The Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Eastern Regional Office in Champaign provides vitally important services to low-income residents of the 14 counties it serves: Champaign, Clark, Coles, Crawford, Cumberland, DeWitt, Douglas, Edgar, Effingham, Ford, Jasper, Moultrie, Piatt, and Vermillion. The business has been at its current location since 2008. The Champaign location is one of five regional offices; the other four offices are located in Alton, Carbondale, East St. Lewis, and southern Illinois. Three satellite offices are located in Decatur, Charleston, and Mt. Vernon.

The services provided by Land of Lincoln include free legal help and advice about housing, family, consumer, public benefits, health, senior citizen, and education legal issues. Specific cases include: evictions, foreclosures, lock-outs, utility shut-offs, contract for deed problems, domestic violence, protection orders, custody cases, divorce, debt collection, repossession, garnishments, home improvement problems, consumer fraud, food stamps, and Medicaid.


In 1972, seven local legal aid offices combined to form Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance, which served 13 counties. Five more counties were added to the service area in 1977, when the first satellite offices opened in Springfield and Decatur, the latter a result of a merger with Legal Aid Society of Macon County. Over the next few years many counties were added and new offices opened; in 1981 the numbers stabilized at 13 offices, with a projected staff of 126 and covering 65 counties.

The following year, however, funding was cut nationally at the Legal Service Corporation (LSC) by 25%, which by 1985 resulted in 5 office closures and a staff reduction of 30 positions. That same year, the Lawyers Trust Fund of Illinois made its first distribution of funds to Land of Lincoln. This organization has become the second-largest funder for the legal assistance organization, driving most shifts in technology use. Prior to 1991, Champaign staff used IBM Selectric Typewriters and analog Dictaphones; while the typewriters have been retired, the Dictaphones are still used occasionally. That year, funding from the Lawyers Trust Fund provided the first computers to all Land of Lincoln offices.

In 1996, LSC funding was cut by 28%, leaving 8 offices with a staff of 66 and only 44 attorneys to provide services to 65 counties. The following year Land of Lincoln conducted long-range planning, and given the budget cuts developed goals of diversifying its funding sources, developing new service-delivery methods, and implementing a centralized intake-and-advice unit. In 1999 the Legal Advice and Referral Center opened, and within two years was providing telephone intake, advice, and referral to all counties in Land of Lincoln’s service area. By 2000, the organization had diversified its funding sources to the extent that the LSC contributed less than half of total revenues.

Still, in 2005, when LSC funding was cut further in light of 2000 U.S. Census data, Land of Lincoln reorganized to leave only 5 regional offices with 3 satellite offices, still serving the same 65 counties. The Champaign office serves 14 of these counties, with a staff of 10 attorneys, 4 other full-time employees, one part-time employee, 1 attorney in a satellite office in Charleston, and numerous volunteers.

Technological advances have been prompted by funding increases from the Lawyers Trust Fund of Illinois, so that when interest rates increase it means updated technology for the offices. This organization also drives statewide changes that affect other legal aid organizations in Illinois, including Prairie State and Legal Assistance Foundation (LAF), together covering the northern Illinois counties not covered by Land of Lincoln. In 2008, for example, all of the legal aid organizations moved to a system called LegalServer for case management. This system is online, which makes it possible for attorneys at the regional offices to coordinate and communicate client details with the Legal Advice and Referral Center, the telephone hotline run out of East St. Louis. It also permits attorneys to access client information from a remote location, allowing them to work within the system when away from the office.


Land of Lincoln offers specific services, including the following: [1]

  • Housing - evictions, foreclosures, lock-outs, utility shut-offs, contract for deed problems or trouble getting the landlord or housing authority to make repairs
  • Family - cases for victims of domestic violence, such as orders of protection and divorce; custody cases when the parent who has been child's caretaker is in danger of losing custody; and some divorces
  • Consumer - debt collection, repossession, garnishments, home improvement problems, and consumer fraud
  • Public Benefits and Health - Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), general assistance, food stamps, or Medicaid
  • Other Services for Senior Citizens and Disabled Persons - wills and powers of attorney for persons age 60+ and persons who are HIV positive. Nursing home quality of care
  • Education - cases for children with disabilities and for wards of the Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS)

Applying for services

The individual who needs legal help should first contact the Legal Advice and Referral Center (LARC) at (877) 342-7891 between 9:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. However, if you are a victim of domestic violence age 60 and over, you should call the regional office directly. [1]

Be prepared to answer the following questions:

  • What kind of problem can we help you with?
  • Where do you live?
  • What is your name?
  • Who is involved with your legal problem?
  • How many people live with you?
  • How much is your household income?
  • How much money do you have on hand or in the bank?
  • Are you a citizen or legal resident?


[1] "What is Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation?" (n.d.). Pamphlet.


This CU wiki entry began as a UIUC research project.  For more on that see Study of UC2B Anchor Institutions' Technology Use