This article discusses the incredibly effective use of legal assistants in the project implemented to assist poor urban youth with legal issues—Legal Services to Youth sponsored by the University of Chicago Law School's Center for Studies in Criminal Justice, under a Ford Foundation grant, was directed to a specialized consumer group, boys under 17 and girls under 18, the jurisdictional age ceiling in the Cook County, Illinois Juvenile Court. Legal assistants were recruited in the area served, and an attempt was made to locate persons who were by background and experience likely to be sympathetic to youth "in trouble." The legal assistants, besides assisting in the office, were able to find witnesses that would have otherwise been unknown to the police, and assist in recruiting youth from the neighborhood. Because the research project had a pre-determined longevity of not more than 18 months, it was crucial to the venture's success that area residents learn of the office as quickly as possible. The project was a success in great part due to the effectiveness of the legal assistants.
Lay Advocacy and "Legal Services to Youth": Summaries on the Use of Para-legal Aides, 47 J. URB. L. 127