Luke Somogye, Annette Rauch and Bob Bradley recently visited the WJBC studio to discuss the new JusticeCorps program in McLean County. (Photo by Beth Whisman/WJBC)
By Beth Whisman
BLOOMINGTON - If you wind up in court at the McLean County Law and Justice Center and you don't have an attorney, a new program in the downtown building's legal library could help.
JusticeCorps uses college students and professional volunteers "to enhance access to the justice system for the growing number of unrepresented people." The McLean County program is the first Illinois JusticeCorps to be located outside of Chicago.
It's not a replacement for legal advice, but students from Illinois State University and Illinois Wesleyan University with an interest in pursuing legal careers or a general curiosity about the law are available to help a person navigate the system. From filing the proper documents to finding the right legal resource, the volunteers offer a helping hand.
Bob Bradley, professor emeritus at ISU, is coordinating the project through both schools and the 11th Judicial Circuit. He said the inspiration came from the success of the AmeriCorps program.
Bradley said students are working on building awareness about the new program in both English and Spanish language media in Central Illinois. He stressed that the volunteers are not attorneys, but do offer invaluable assistance to people who are new to the legal system or need a simple matter handled in court.
Beth Whisman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.