In-Court/Bar Attorney Program

Get Help in the Courts
The Criminal In-Court Lawyer Referral Program operates under the auspices of the Circuit Court of Cook County.  The program works in the public interest by providing experienced legal counsel (Bar Attorneys) at a reasonable cost to defendants who appear in the criminal courts without an attorney.  The Chicago Bar Association administers the program for the courts.

Bar Attorneys appear daily in criminal courts in Chicago and throughout Cook County wearing special Bar Attorney badges.  The judge in each participating courtroom announces the availability of the Bar Attorney at the beginning of the court call.  Approximately 200 lawyers are assigned to a total of 13 criminal courts.

The three types of courts in which Bar Attorneys are available include:
  • Traffic
  • Misdemeanor
  • Felony/Preliminary Hearing
If you are unsure whether or not a Bar Attorney is available in your courtroom, ask the on-site sheriff or court clerk to assist you.

Who are the Bar Attorneys?

Bar Attorneys must have extensive experience in criminal matters. Following are general requirements for admittance to the Criminal In-Court Lawyer Referral Program:
  • Member in Good Standing of the Illinois Bar
  • Five Years of Legal Experience With Emphasis in Criminal Law
  • Acceptance by a Screening Panel of Experienced Criminal Lawyers
  • Form Detailing Criminal
  • Experience, References, and Malpractice Insurance


What are the Bar Attorneys Fees?

A Bar Attorney consults with a defendant at no charge to determine the extent of the legal problem and what actions might be taken.  During this initial meeting, the attorney also discusses fees for handling the case.  Bar Attorneys often represent defendants for the Cash Bond Refund (CBR).  When feasible, a lawyer may conclude a case the day of the court appearance.

For more information on the program contact Vanessa Williams, In-Court Administrator, at 312-554-2072.

The Courts served by the Program are listed below:

Traffic Court
50 W. Washington, Chicago

First District
Branch 23, 50 - 5555 W. Grand, Chicago
2600 S. California, Room 100 Chicago
Branch 29, 42 - 2452 W. Belmont, Chicago
Branch 35, 38 - 727 E. 111th, Chicago
Branch 43, 44 - 3151 W. Harrison, Chicago
Branch 60, 61, 62, 63, 64 - 555 W. Harrison, Chicago
Branch 34, 48 - 155 W. 51st, Chicago

Second District
5600 Old Orchard - Skokie

Third District

2121 Euclid - Rolling Meadows

 Fourth District
1500 Maybrook Drive - Maywood

Fifth District
10220 S. 76th - Bridgeview

 Sixth District
16501 S. Kedzie - Markham