Legal Self-Help Center Resource Toolkit

Welcome, Legal Self-Help Center Navigator!

Take a short tour of the resources available in this toolkit

What is a legal self-help center (LSHC)?

Legal self-help centers do not provide legal advice or help in filling out court forms. A legal self-help center is a place where the public can learn about the law, their legal rights, and how to go to court. If someone has a legal issue, they can go to a legal self-help center in their community to use a computer for free, search online for answers to your legal questions, find and prepare court forms, and get other help depending on their location.

At many legal self-help centers, staff can help patrons find free legal information on, including the following:

See Illinois Legal Aid Online's Legal Self-Help Center Directory for a list of centers throughout Illinois. Illinois Legal Aid Online (ILAO) partners with and supports Legal Self-Help Centers statewide.

What is a LSHC Navigator?

A Navigator is a guide who is trained to help people with legal issues find and use the legal information and tools on A Navigator provides legal information; they do not provide legal advice.

What is Illinois Legal Aid Online?

For more than 20 years, Illinois Legal Aid Online (ILAO) has simplified the law so that people can seek justice and resolve their problems. Through innovation, we make the law understandable and accessible. We give people tools to help themselves get the justice they seek. Because of ILAO, people can navigate the legal system with confidence and don't feel alone. ILAO's website,, provides free legal information to empower people to resolve their own legal issues. 

ILAO's Navigator Listserv provides monthly updates about free legal information resources on and other resources and services that will help you assist your patrons who do not have lawyers. 

If you work at a library or courthouse, fill out this form to subscribe to the Listserv!

We have business cards that can be used to refer the public to our website, Cards are in English and Spanish, and each box contains 200 cards. To order: click the button to the right, scroll down to the Contact Form, and select "I am a partner organization and am seeking materials, training, or other support."

Steps to become a LSHC.pdf

Checklist for new LSHCs

This flyer provides a list of steps for libraries, courthouses, and other organizations interested in becoming a Legal Self-Help Center.

The Justice Gap Report Executive Summary

The Justice Gap Executive Summary provides statistics pertaining to the unmet civil legal needs of low-income Americans. This illustrates the importance of the help that Navigators and Legal Self-Help Centers provide.