Our Divisions and Units

    The Homicide Task Force is a specialized division of the Law Office of the Cook County Public Defender, consisting of highly skilled and experienced lawyers assigned to represent clients who are accused of homicide offenses. Assistant Public Defenders assigned to the Homicide Task Force have the resources of dedicated investigators and support staff and often work with attorneys throughout the office to provide the best possible criminal defense. Each member of the Homicide Task Force represents his or her client from the beginning of the case after bond court through any sentencing that may take place after trial.

    George N. Leigton Criminal Court Building
    2650 S California Ave Chicago, IL 60608
    (773) 674-6989

    Attorneys assigned to the Law Office of the Cook County Public Defender’s Felony Trial Division represent indigent clients in 34 courtrooms that take in cases from the City of Chicago. These cases range in severity from drug possession to first degree murder.

    George N. Leigton Criminal Court Building
    2650 S California Ave Chicago, IL 60608
    (773) 674-3217

    The First Municipal Division represents indigent clients accused of misdemeanor offenses occurring in Chicago in the branch courts located at 111th Street, Grand and Central, Harrison and Kedzie, the Domestic Courthouse located at 555 W. Harrison and in Traffic Court located downtown at the Daley Center. The attorneys of this division also represent clients in preliminary hearings, challenging whether probable cause exists to charge that client with a felony offense. Attorneys, supervisors, investigators and support staff of the First Municipal Division are located in various locations throughout Chicago and are tasked with representing a large number of clients daily. 

    First Municipal District
    69 W Washington St. 17th Floor Chicago, IL 60602
    (312) 603-8343

    The Law Office of the Cook County Public Defender has five suburban divisions with attorneys, investigators and support staff, located in county courthouses outside of the city of Chicago.

    Each division is responsible for the representation of indigent clients charged with any criminal case - from misdemeanors to first-degree murder - in the suburban area covered by the courthouse. The Skokie and Bridgeview divisions represent some clients from Chicago due to the high volume of cases in the city. In Markham, the attorneys represent juveniles as well as adults. In the other suburban divisions, attorneys from the Juvenile Justice Division in Chicago represent juveniles.

    The suburban division locations are: 

    Bridgeview - Fifth Municipal District
    10220 S 76th Ave Bridgeview, IL 60455
    (708) 974-6470

    Markham - Sixth Municipal District
    16501 S Kedzie Pkwy Markham, IL 60428
    (708) 232-4360

    Maywood - Fourth Municipal District
    1500 Maybrook Dr Maywood, IL 60153
    (708) 865-6140

    Rolling Meadows - Third Municipal District
    2121 Euclid Ave Rolling Meadows, IL 60008
    (847) 818-2470

    Skokie - Second Municipal District
    5600 Old Orchard Rd Skokie, IL 60077
    (847) 470-7400

    The Juvenile Justice Division represents youths accused of crimes ranging from first-degree murder to graffiti. By law, these clients are 17 years old or younger when the incident that triggers their cases begin. Our lawyers also represent children in situations in which the State is seeking to have the case transferred to adult court. Attorneys from the division work at the Juvenile Court facility at 2245 W. Ogden Ave., where they represent clients from the City of Chicago and from the Fourth Municipal District Maywood Courthouse, one of the Cook County suburban courthouses. They also travel to the Skokie, Rolling Meadows and Bridgeview suburban Cook County courthouses to represent juveniles.

    Juvenile Justice
    2245 Ogden Ave
    7th Floor Chicago, IL 60612
    (312) 433-7046

    Family Defense Division attorneys and staff fight to keep families together against the government's attempt to separate predominantly poor Black and Brown families. Skilled and experienced family defenders represent parents in a variety of court proceedings as well as matters out of court using a holistic approach to not only reunite individual families but to advocate for systemic change.

    Family Defense Division
    2245 W. Ogden Ave.
    Chicago, IL 60612
    (312) 433-7046

    The attorneys in the Arrest Response Division are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to provide legal representation at no cost to anyone who is arrested and detained by law enforcement in Cook County. This includes people detained at any police station in Chicago or elsewhere in Cook County, and/or anyone who has a warrant.

    CALL 844-817-4448

    Arrestees and/or their family and friends can make this toll-free call. An attorney will be dispatched to the police station to assist the individual in asserting his or her rights.

    For more information on what to do if someone has been arrested, and to understand their rights, click here.

    The Public Defender's Investigation Division assists attorneys in all types of cases, gathering information, reviewing evidence and interviewing witnesses. Investigators conduct field investigations on cases, as well as personal background investigations, which also include any witnesses involved in a case. Investigators are instrumental in working with attorneys in preparing cases on behalf of the clients we represent throughout Cook County.

    George N. Leigton Criminal Court Building
    2650 S California Ave
    Chicago, IL 60608
    (773) 674-3217

    The Forensic Science Division of the Law Office of the Cook County Public Defender litigates cases involving any forensic evidence, including, but not limited to, DNA analysis, fingerprint analysis, ballistics comparisons and cell phone location technology. It also provides training, case reviews and litigation assistance for Assistant Public Defenders in cases involving forensic science.

    69 W Washington St.
    17th Floor Chicago, IL 60602
    (312) 603-8569

    Attorneys assigned to the Multiple Defendant Division of the Law Office of the Cook County Public Defender represent clients in felony and first-degree murder cases where more than one person is accused. These attorneys are very experienced and represent indigent accused throughout the county. They act independently of other divisions in the office to prevent any effects from a conflict between public defender clients.

    Civil Division
    2245 W Ogden Ave.
    7th Floor Chicago, IL 60612
    (312) 433-5320

    The trial technology division provides technical support of all kinds to the attorneys, investigators and support staff of the Cook County Public Defender’s Office. The division helps to prepare visual presentations for use at trials and hearings and offers training and support in the use of technology for all purposes of the staff of the office. The division also works closely with the Cook County Bureau of Technology to ensure that the Public Defender’s Office is creating and maintaining the most up-to-date technology to facilitate communication within the office and across the county with other criminal justice agencies.

    Mitigation specialists endeavor to provide the Court with a holistic understanding of our client as a person. They support the work of our public defenders to effectively represent clients to achieve favorable outcomes at sentencing. In their investigation, mitigation specialists interview our client and collateral contacts, review important historical records and create a written narrative explaining their life experience and the social, biological and environmental factors that have influenced them. Mitigation specialists are trained to recognize the difficulties that impact functioning such as addiction, poverty, mental illness, trauma and developmental disability.

    The primary responsibility of the Legal Resources Division is to represent the clients of the Law Office of the Cook County Public Defender in post-trial matters, post-conviction petitions and appellate cases. Attorneys assigned to the division also work to enhance the performance of lawyers in the various trial divisions of the Public Defender's Office by providing legal research, training and litigation assistance.

    69 W. Washington
    15th Floor
    Chicago, IL 60602

    Professional development of management, attorneys, investigators and support staff at the Law Office of the Cook County Public Defender includes in-house training events, external training sources and a library of videos and manuals. Our programs include a four-week training for new attorneys, trial advocacy training for summer law clerks and our annual three-day Nutshell Indigent Defense Conference featuring presenters and lecturers from around the country. Other in-house training opportunities are week-long workshops, day and half-day seminars, orientations, brown-bag lunches and informal sessions.

    The Domestic Advocacy Unit handles cases involving family or intimate relationships where a crime is alleged to have occurred such as domestic battery, violation of order of protection and other such offenses.

    Domestic Violence Courthouse
    555 W. Harrison St.
    Chicago, Illinois.

    Our office has designated assistant public defenders for each Cook County Problem-Solving Court (PSC). These public defenders are trained on the topics that are essential to these courts, such as substance use disorder, mental illness, disability, trauma and others. 

    For more information on the PSCs please click here.

    The Immigration Division aims to protect noncitizen clients from deportation in two ways: 1) through specialized support for our office’s assistant public defenders who represent noncitizens in criminal cases and 2) through representing noncitizens before the Chicago Immigration Court. For more information on the division and what kind of cases are accepted, please click here.

    The Mental Health Resource Unit supports assistant public defenders and their clients with forensic case consultation, mental health and psychosocial evaluations, and connection with mental health and social services. The unit is staffed by a licensed clinical psychologist and mental health clinicians.

    The Pretrial Division at the Cook County Public Defender’s Office handles cases in their earliest stages, from arrest through initial appearance and detention hearing, ensuring that clients have seamless representation. The attorneys in this division are specialists in seeking and obtaining pretrial release for clients whenever possible and for advocating for minimal conditions of release.