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Self-Representation Guide (Illinois) - Assistance for Pro Se Litigants: Home

This guide provides resources for those representing their case in the courts. Content by Corrine Vogel and Michelle Hook Dewey. Additional content and LibGuide created by S.K. Van Poolen

Guide Introduction

The goal of this guide is to provide patrons, who are representing themselves in a legal matter, with basic legal research and to provide specific materials needed to conduct legal research. The law refers to self-representing parties as a "pro se." While this guide focuses on Illinois sources, the guide covers federal and general legal sources.

There are three parts to this guide: 

  1. General Overview: Briefly outlines ways that legal research might differ in terminology, the organization of materials and level of background knowledge required.
  2. Resource List: Describes sources of information and the types of legal resources offered such as cases, statutes, and regulations. While most legal research is written for practicing attorneys, some materials address the pro se litigant.
  3. Referral: Organizations that assist pro se litigants or those in need of further assistance.

The law uses a very specific language that differs from other disciplines. Here is a link to our page of dictionaries that provides call numbers for dictionaries in our reference collection. If you need to look up a term or to study a more in-depth discussion, we provide links to more detailed resources as well.

Our Dictionaries Encyclopedias & page here: 

NOTE: This guide is not intended to provide legal advice or counsel. It serves only to provide resources for individuals seeking to advocate for themselves in a legal dispute or represent themselves in court. Basic guidance for developing a research plan is also provided.


The Law Library

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Law Library
504 E. Pennsylvania Ave.
Champaign, Illinois 61820
Reference Desk : (217) 244-0614


Research Guides & Resources

The following guides develop a foundation for legal research needs.

Book Resources

 College of Law |   504 East Pennsylvania Avenue    Champaign, IL    61820    Phone (217) 333-0931     |     Albert J. Jenner, Jr., Law Library