Who Provides Legal Aid?

What Is Legal Aid & What Type Of Services Does It Provide?

Legal aid provides free legal assistance to low- and middle-income people who have non-criminal legal issues. It helps ensure equality for all before the law, no matter how much money you have.

There are mainly 3 types of services Legal Aid provides:

Direct services by pro bono volunteers and legal aid attorneys like legal representation during a court proceeding and legal advice to help identify legal problems and possible solutions.

Identifying and addressing systemic issues such as complicated data collection and helping to figure out how to solve the problems faced by a large number of people.

Self-help and community education for people delivered through workshops, medical/legal partnerships, telephone helplines, online information and chat tools, and downloadable court forms. All of these things can help people understand their rights and responsibilities, when they may need legal help and where they can find it, and get assistance with self-representation when necessary.

Who Provides Legal Aid & Who Receives It?

LSC-Funded Organizations

The Legal Service Corporation (LSC) is the single largest funder of civil legal aid programs in the United States. The LSC is a federally-funded nonprofit corporation, which distributes over 90% of its total federal appropriation to 134 independent nonprofit legal aid organizations in the country. These organizations help people who live in households with annual incomes at or below 125% of the federal poverty guidelines.

Non-LSC-Funded Organizations

There are also many independently-run nonprofit civil legal aid organizations that don’t get LSC funds. Many of them are not limited to people who earn above 125% of the federal poverty guidelines. Some programs, for example, may serve any older American or domestic violence victim regardless of income. Self-help and informational services are available to everyone.

Legal aid serves Americans of all backgrounds and ages, including families, children, veterans, seniors, and the sick or the disabled.

How To Get Legal Aid?

There are many ways to get legal aid if you can not afford a lawyer:

1. Contact Bar Associations

Research your local or state bar associations and contact them. Bar associations have abundant information about family lawyers or programs that can provide services free of charge or at a greatly reduced rate.

2. Visit Your Local Law Firms

Pay a visit to your local law firms, and tell them the details of your case and your financial status. If you meet their standards, you may receive free legal aid.

3. Look Into Legal Aid Offices

Legal aid offices employ lawyers and paralegals to offer free services to those who are qualified. They are exceptionally helpful in handling many common legal matters, such as divorce cases, landlord and tenant issues, and employment problems. To find a legal aid office, do a simple online search or check your area’s phone directory.

4. Get Free Legal Services From Law Schools

Many law schools run legal clinics where you can get free legal services from law students under the supervision of experienced lawyers. Such clinics can take on all general civil or criminal matters or may be specialized in only one type of legal case. Contact your local law schools for the details.

5. Take Advantage Of The Free Legal Services Offered By Your Local Courts

Many courts offer free legal clinics or Friend of the Court to people who are involved in certain types of lawsuits, typically in cases relating to family law. So check your local court’s website or talk to its clerk to see what kind of free legal assistance they provide and if you are eligible.