Laurel Whitehouse Spahn, J.D.

Laurel Spahn is a Staff Attorney with the Legal Advocacy Service, a division of the Illinois Guardianship & Advocacy Commission. Ms. Spahn provides trial representation of respondents in civil involuntary commitment and involuntary treatment proceedings. She is in appellate practice in mental health law, arguing in the Illinois Supreme Court and in all five State appellate districts. Ms. Spahn provides assistance to colleagues with trial preparation/motion practice/appellate briefs and mentors new staff attorneys. She does educational presentations on mental health law topics. Ms. Spahn also coordinates advance directives clinics and provides assistance with legislative initiatives. She received The Richard J. Phelan Public Service Award from the Chicago Bar Association and Chicago Bar Foundation for her work representing clients facing involuntary civil commitment or forced treatment.

About the Legal Advocacy Service (LAS)

The Legal Advocacy Service (LAS) was created so that eligible children and adults, who have a disability, could obtain legal advice and representation to protect and enforce their rights guaranteed by Illinois' mental health laws. LAS attorneys provide needed assistance to persons with disabilities in a variety of settings: mental health facilities, residential programs, community placements, and nursing homes. Issues addressed include, but are not limited to: admission and discharge from hospitalization, adequate treatment, refusal of unwanted services, and confidentiality of mental health records. Assistance takes the form of information, referral, and legal representation in court hearings and administrative proceedings.