Frequently Asked Questions

As a result of the high volume of requests for information which the Section receives through the web site, only questions that can not be answered below will be considered.   Please review the information below carefully prior to submitting a request for information.

Legal Advice
Attorney Referrals
Attorney Complaints
Pro Bono Services
Research Services
Membership Information


FAQ Categories

Does the Criminal Justice Section provide legal advice or attorney referrals?

The American Bar Association and the Criminal Justice Section sponsor a number of programs to improve the justice system, but are not able to help people with specific legal problems or cases. Neither the Association or the Section are able to refer you to an attorney.

There are many local programs that are designed to help people to find an attorney, or to otherwise obtain assistance with legal problems. We suggest that you pursue one of the following alternatives:

1. If you need assistance in finding and hiring an attorney with appropriate expertise:

Consult the closest program listed in The Association's on-line list of Public Service Lawyer Referral Programs.

Seek assistance from a prepaid legal services plan. On-line information about such plans can be obtained here .

Use the Assocition's Lawyer Locator service.

2. If you are poor and cannot afford to hire a lawyer:

Contact the staff legal aid office in your area. Most such offices are funded through the federal Legal Services Corporation , and comprehensive information can be found using this link. You may also wish to look under "Legal Aid" in your local telephone book.

Contact a local pro bono program -- an organization in your area that links poor people with private lawyers who have volunteered to take cases without charge.

Directory of Pro Bono Programs

Can the Criminal Justice Section help me with regard to filing a complaint against an attorney, or discipline an attorney for misconduct?

The Section is not involved in any way with licensing or disciplining attorneys. If you believe that a lawyer you have hired has engaged in serious misconduct, contact the lawyer disciplinary agency for your state.

Listing of Agencies

Can the Section conduct personal legal research or provide me with research materials for an academic project?

Due to the large number of research requests that the Section receives everyday, we are unable to provide individual research. An exception exists for that information which the Association or Section has made available to the public, and which is not available through a local library. However, the Section has posted a number of legal information sites on the internet which may be helpful with your research. For a listing of these sites, please visit the Informational Resources section of the web site. In addition, a visit to the Reference Desk of your local law and/or regular library may be beneficial as well.

Who is eligible to join the Criminal Justice Section, and what are the benefits?

Section membership is open to all persons licensed to practice law in at least one (1) state, territory, possession, or other jurisdiction of the United States. Certain individuals who are not licensed members of the bar may join the Section due to their professional affiliation, or status as a current law student. Please visit the Membership Information Services area of the Section web site for complete information on eligibility requirements, access to a membership application, and a detailed listing of the benefits and privileges of Section membership.

If your question has not been answered above, and you wish to submit an inquiry to the Section staff, please click on the link below and make sure to include the subject matter in the reference line of the message.