Top 8 Ways to Get Free and Low Cost Legal HelpJuly 20, 2017
If you’re on a tight budget and cannot pay for an attorney, you have a variety of resources to get free and low cost legal help. Whether you need help with public assistance, immigration, elder conditions, or housing, the United States justice system is here to help. In this article, we will be going over the top eight ways you can get low cost, or even free, legal help whether you are sick, disabled, or without income.
1. Public Defenders
If you have been charged with a crime, you may not have to money to pay for an expensive lawyer. Luckily for you, you can seek out the help of a public defender that will not charge you for legal services pertaining to your case. This measure is in place because the United States Constitution allows for citizens to obtain legal services, even if they can’t afford them. Throughout your trial, this attorney will help you through your case, even if you lose your case they can help you through your appeal process. To learn more about public defenders, contact your local public defender's office for more information.
2. Pro Bono Programs
In their spare time, attorneys who either work in a firm or have a private practice also cover pro bono cases. Pro bono cases are assigned to people who have less than 125 percent of the average federal poverty line or poor annual household income. However, there are exceptions to these requirements. In order to use this option, you should view your state’s pro bono requirements and limitations.
3. Online Legal Information
From Google searches to LawHelp.org or Nolo.com, there are plenty of online resources to help you through legal troubles. However, you should make sure that the information your receive is reputable and up-to-date before making any legal decisions.
4. Social Justice Organizations
Usually, you can seek the help from an attorney if your legal case involves a form of social justice. These social justice issues include freedom of speech, discrimination, sexual harassment, as well as workplace harassment, to just name a few. However, there are a variety of organizations that are dedicated to offering legal services for free on social justice cases. These organizations include NAtional Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), among others.
5. Legal Aid
A lot of communities offer some kind of free legal aid clinic for those who are unable to pay for legal services. Whether you are looking for free legal assistance or representation, you can benefit from visiting a legal aid clinic. In order to qualify, you will need to meet certain income and other requirements.
6. Law School Clinics
Law school clinics often provide free legal services to low income individuals. This service is offered by current law students while being supervised by a licensed attorney or clinical professor. These programs typically offer services in more than one legal area, like family, healthcare, landlord-tenant, elder, and financial laws. Additionally, the law students working in these legal areas can perform a variety of legal services including researching and writing legal documents, interviewing clients, negotiating, and preparing for court.
7. Unbundled Legal Services
Unbundling legal services means that a lawyer will handle part of your case and you will deal with the rest on your own. Instead of having to pay a general fee, you will only pay for the services that the lawyer provides.
8. Sliding Scale Programs
There are also certain programs that charge for legal services using a sliding scale. These programs can easily be found through a quick online search. Before you sign up for anything, check out the requirements first. Some of these programs are only available for those with low income.
There is no need for financial concerns to keep you from receiving the legal help you need. With the assistance of these eight programs, you will surely be able to find help when you need it. For more information on the low cost legal aid programs in your area, contact your state’s bar association.
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