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King County Bar Association free legal assistance.

Numerous legal services are available in King County from volunteer attorneys, paralegals, and support staff. Much of the aid is coordinated by the Bar Association, and dozens of different programs and resources are offered for low income families. The pro-bono assistance provided by the on-site lawyers is intended to help those that are less fortunate and would not otherwise have access to representation. Much of what is offered is also referred to as Volunteer Legal Services, or VLS.p

Support for consumer issues can help clients with a number of needs. A workshop is known as Make Change! and this was organized as a free debt education class. Credit counselors and local attorneys will inform people about the legal issues surrounding filing for bankruptcy, predatory loans, and other consumer debt issues.

Clinics are held in neighborhoods across Seattle and King County. When they take place, a qualified low income individual will be able to meet with an attorney from the Bar Association on any civil legal issue they may be facing. They will determine whether the client has a valid problem that can be dealt with. If so, they will suggest possible options and provide appropriate referrals to a solution if that is the best course of action.

The pro-bono firms in the area offer direct representation to individuals and families with certain types of civil legal issues. The King County Bar Association organizes a panel of lawyers and paralegals that support the working poor and struggling people. There may also be different types of support for the disabled, HIV/AIDS, homeless people, people with limited English, as well as immigrants.

Assistance in applying for government benefits is available from VLS, or Volunteer Legal Services. Staff will provide qualified clients with direct representation when applying for public assistance, including  SSI/SSDI, Medicaid, SNAP food stamps, and more. Or if your benefits have been reduced, or maybe the application was denied, then the team can assist with that need as well. The King County Bar Association assists with both federal and state of Washington programs.

Help for housing needs is offered as part of a project known as HIP. There is legal assistance for tenants facing eviction or homeowners dealing with a foreclosure filing. Clinics are held at Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent as well as the Seattle King County Courthouse on a regular basis. The goal of Housing Justice Project is to administer a homelessness prevention program providing accessible legal services to low-income families.





Some of the specifics include negotiations with landlords for tenants facing eviction as well as free advice or representation for tenants. If a hearing is required, then clients can get help in completing any paperwork as well as an attorney may even represent them as a hearing. There may also be advice disbursed over the phone as well as face to face.

Estate Planning is a resource available at the Neighborhood Legal Clinics in King County. The locations have specialty programs which offer clients advice and a consultation if needed. This is mostly for seniors and the elderly in western Washington. They can create wills, living trusts, and put plans into place to ensure their funeral arrangements and expenses are paid on time.

Family Law is for parents that meet income conditions. Either single or married individuals may qualify. Some examples of the civil case that are covered include petitions to establish a parenting plan, domestic violence cases, and abuse. A type of divorce service is available as well, and this is known as the Self Help-Plus Program. It will help all parties arrange for child-support, create parenting plans, and other forms of support.

The Kinship Care Solutions Project from King County Bar Association will offer free legal aid for caregivers (such as aunts, uncles or grandparents) that are seeking custody of a child. This service is mostly provided by volunteer attorneys, and will come with a number of restrictions.

The programs listed above are only examples of what is offered. If the issue that someone needs assistance with is not listed, then referrals and other support may be provided too. Appointments can be made at the Neighborhood Legal Clinics across King County for more details. At these sessions people will be able to talk to an attorney and receive free information.

How to find free legal aid in Seattle area

The King County Bar Association is located at 1200 5th Ave, Suite 600, Seattle, Washington 98101, dial (206) 267-7100. Or if you would like to get a referral, then dial KCBA's Lawyer Referral Service at 206-267-7010.


By Jon McNamara














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