Find free legal advice.
Legal Services Corporation provides free legal advice for low and moderate income families across the nation. People of all backgrounds are assisted, including seniors, veterans, families with children, and many others. In addition, it is also the largest non-profit organization that provides assistance to the poor.
The types of civil cases covered by the free legal consultations are extensive. LSC supports a wide variety of programs. The lawyers that are part of the organization offers services as well as other resources that help people who are facing foreclosure, bankruptcy, eviction, domestic violence, and it offers legal aid for many other situations.
Both local and national aid is coordinated. The organization works with pro-bono law firms as well as volunteer attorney across the country as well to ensure there is an opportunity for face to face communication. The goal is to ensure that people who need free legal advice can get it. Low income families or senior citizens who need the the assistance of lawyers, attorneys and other legal professionals will have a place to go to for support.
LSC awards grants to local attorneys and legal service providers across the nation. They also review the organizations who receive the funds to ensure the programs they offer are high quality. Any pro-bono firms that is helping the less fortunate needs to comply with all federal regulatory and statutory requirements. The organizations also provides training, counseling and technical assistance to programs at the state level.
In total, Legal Services Corporation provides funding and support to almost 140 independent, non-profit legal programs at the state level. Together these various firms operate almost 1,000 offices across the nation. Almost all cities and counties are covered. The lawyers will provide free legal consultations to low or moderate income families as well as individuals throughout the nation. In fact, almost five million people receive help every year. They offer services at no charge to those who qualify.
Who do the free legal advice programs help?
A wide variety of people can receive help from this type of Legal Aid Society. They include low and moderate income people or those facing poverty. Typical clients are the working poor, renters who are facing an eviction, veterans, or families with children. Senior citizens can also get support no matter their income. Assistance is also for other families as well. There may be legal aid for farmers, low income people with disabilities, homeowners who have received a foreclosure notice, victims of domestic violence or natural disasters, and the elderly.
Most people who ask for help from an attorney are women. In fact, three out of four clients of the program are female, many of whom are struggling to keep their families safe as well as their children together. A large number of single moms also request help from a pro-bono law firm. However there are no gender or race requirements.
What type of legal assistance is available from lawyers?
While the Legal Services Corporation and the non-profit organizations as well as attorneys offer support and provide a wide range of free legal advice to clients, here are some more common items that people need help with. They include the following.
Foreclosure Legal Aid and Housing Assistance: Over 25 percent of the clients who are seeking help from the program involve foreclosures or evictions. These cases can range from people who need help to prevent a foreclosure or modify their loan, resolve landlord-tenant disputes, legal counsel that can assist renters who have received an eviction notices if their landlord is being foreclosed on, etc. Attorneys can even provide help to individuals who are trying to maintain federal government housing subsidies such as section 8.
Unfortunately the demand for free foreclosure assistance is tremendous, and some local attorneys just do not have the resources to address the housing crisis that is plaguing the nation. Learn more on how lawyers can help modify home loans and provide foreclosure prevention advice.
Eviction defense, discrimination, and other tenant assistance programs are also provided as part of these free legal services. Hundreds of non-profit law firms that are part of the Legal Services Corporation network support low income renters to ensure they have a home to live in and that they are not illegally evicted by a property owner.
Whether it is a landlord that refuses to make repairs to an apartment, a property owner that discriminates and will not lease a home to a minority or disabled person, or some other matter, free legal aid can be used. The process will be comprehensive and address all applicable housing regulations for that state. Find more details on attorneys that offer eviction defense.
Family law: Attorneys will help victims of domestic violence by obtaining restraining and protective orders. They will also assist family members obtain guardianship for children without parents, offer advice to help parents obtain and keep custody of their children if needed, and a number of other services can be provided for other family law matters. This is the most common need that people have, as almost one third of all cases closed by the local programs are related to family law cases.
Consumer Legal Issues: About 10 percent of all cases to the program involve protecting the elderly, minorities, the disabled, and other vulnerable groups from being victimized by unscrupulous banks, lenders, or other local businesses. Free legal advice is also available from lawyers at these non-profit law firms to help people file for bankruptcy when appropriate.
Another service offered by some firms is they can often help people manage their debts and deal with creditors as well as aggressive collectors. This form of assistance is covered by LSG guidelines as well. Click here to read more on how lawyers can provide legal support and arbitration for debt settlement.
Income Maintenance: About 12 percent of the clients need help in dealing with their employers or filling applications for public aid from government programs. The legal assistance provided can involve helping people obtain or retain both state and federal government benefits such as disability or HUD housing to which they are entitled. Income Maintenance is also a key service for households living in poverty. Working Americans can also get help with obtaining promised compensation from private employers.
Representation - Attorneys may represent a client in local court at no cost to them. They will go over the process, answer any questions that the client or the judge has, and in general provide the assistance that the individual needs for their civil case. Lawyers from across the community work as part of the Legal Services Corporation organization to provide this service to the poor.
Utility and heating issues - Hundreds of thousands of families and individuals face disconnection of their utilities, electric, gas, and heat every year. Some shut-offs may be questionable or illegal. Attorneys can help you get your utility service reconnected, or ensure it stays on from the start. Read more on the laws for your state.
Veterans and active military members - Free legal advice is provided to current members of the armed forces, veterans, and also to their immediate family members. A wide range of issues can be addressed by Legal Services Corporation sponsored attorneys. Some examples include assistance in applying for the VA benefits they are entitled too, housing matters, filing for disability claims, and much more.
Who is eligible for free legal help?
Millions of people can take advantage of the program. Overall, the individuals and families who seek free legal assistance from a lawyer tend to be the most vulnerable among us. They also come from very diverse backgrounds and they are a reflection of our nation. Clients encompass all races, ethnic groups and ages.
In total, it is estimated that over 50 million people, including almost 20 million children, are eligible for some form of free legal advice from attorneys supported by the Legal Services Corporation. Many of them are not even aware of that fact. There are some income guidelines that need to be met in order to be eligible for aid.
Are the programs effective?
Yes. They are very effective in dealing with civil issues only. Due to this, the demand for free legal services are very high. Many of the local programs and law firms that are paid for by federal government grants from the Legal Services Corporation say they face rising requests for help. Unfortunately the limited funding is starting to impact how many people are able to receive assistance. As as result, many centers will have waiting lists or they need to turn clients away.
Even issues such as the great recession and the nation’s housing crisis has placed new pressure and demands on the system. The increase has been in particular on legal specialties and services like foreclosure advice or eviction help. This is an example of where only a few of the lawyers and attorneys who are part of the program contribute their services free of charge as many do not have great expertise with this matter.
It is now becoming common for legal aid offices to turn away two potential clients for each one they can help as the funding is drying up and the demand is not slowing down. Some firms are now even using paralegals to help take on some of the case load.
How do I sign up?
You can contact the main federal office at (202.295.1500) to learn more about the free legal programs in your state and local area. The caller may be referred to a pro-bono firm, in which they can ask a lawyer their questions for free. Or find information below on the services and participating attorneys in your community.