Programs to Help People of Modest Means Obtain Legal Help
Maricopa County Superior Court’s Law Library Resource Center (formerly Self Service Center)
The Law Library Resource Center (“LLRC”) was designed to assist self-represented litigants with handling matters in the Superior Court of Arizona, Maricopa County. This program was developed in collaboration with many other agencies and individuals, including the State Bar of Arizona, private practitioners of law and community dispute resolution. The program features: court-approved forms and instructions, a computer-based interactive form completion prompt system for some common forms; books and electronic resources for legal research; self-serve printing and copying, co-located at 4 Superior Court locations; lists of community-based providers who can help litigants with various aspects of court proceedings; workshops and other assistance on completion of forms; and some locations have additional co-located services, such as the IV-D agency and lawyer program.
Superior Court of Arizona, Maricopa County
101 W. Jefferson St, 1st Floor
Phoenix, AZ 85003
Legal Learn Contact Center/Modest Means/Azlawhelp.org
The LegalLEARN Contact Center has created significant improvements in the delivery of legal services and information to moderate income people. The project is a contact line that provides Arizonans with legal resources such as phone numbers of legal aid providers, court website information and forms and lawyer referral programs. The associated website, www.azlawhelp.org, provides access to similar information and includes an interactive function, where the public can post a question to be answered by an attorney volunteer. LegalLEARN is a gateway to the Modest Means Project. The Modest Means Project addresses individuals who do not qualify for legal aid, but are unable to obtain an attorney at standard rates.
Arizona Foundation for Legal Services and Education
4201 N. 24th Street, Suite 210
Phoenix, AZ 85013
The Cancer Legal Resource Center (CLRC)
The Cancer Legal Resource Center (CLRC) is a national, joint program of the Disability Rights Legal Center and Loyola Law School. The CLRC provides free information and resources on cancer-related legal issues to survivors, caregivers, healthcare professionals, attorneys, and others coping with cancer.
A cancer diagnosis may carry with it a variety of legal issues, including insurance coverage, navigation, and appeals, employment and leave from work, and estate planning. The CLRC has assisted over 160,000 people with these legal issues through a national Telephone Assistance Line, educational seminars, teleconferences, conferences, and other community events.
The CLRC's Professional Panel of over 275 attorneys and other professionals provide additional assistance. The CLRC has collaborated with organizations nationally to provide legal information, resources, and referrals, including partnering with the ABA Health Law Section’s Breast Cancer Task Force.
The Cancer Legal Resource Center
919 Albany Street
Los Angeles, CA 90015
The Center for California Homeowners Association Law
The Center for California Homeowner Association Law (CCHAL) assists homeowners as they resolve disputes with California homeowner associations. CCHAL recognizes that when disputes arise between homeowners and associations, the association is better able to afford protracted litigation than the moderate income homeowner. To level the playing field, CCHAL trains homeowners and attorneys to take key disputes into small claims court. CCHAL conducts a comprehensive program of workshops and web-based training materials, including sample demand letters, videos, pleadings and models of successful small claims suits. It trains attorneys in the intricacies of association law using unbundled legal services. In association with the Chicago-Kent Access to Justice Center, CCHAL is developing an interactive program on small claims assistance to be linked withwww.LawHelpCalifornia.org. CCHAL also matches homeowners with attorneys who can coach them, thus increasing the chance of success.
Center for California Homeowners Association Law
1305 Franklin Street, Suite 201
Oakland, CA 94612
Divorce Helpline (DHL), operated by Sherman, Williams & Lober, is a hybrid law-mediation practice. Seven lawyers and eight staff serve 3,500 to 4,000 people per year - over 16,000 to date. Service is provided by highly experienced lawyer/mediators either at one of two offices or by a high-tech phone system, mail, and fax. The heart of DHL's model is a highly developed customer service program. To achieve a service that is efficient, effective, affordable, and satisfying to all parties, DHL redefined the attorney-client contract and extended the way mediation is practiced. DHL works exclusively outside the adversarial system. It concentrated on settlement and completion, offering information, advice, practical solutions, mediation, document and support services-all at fixed fees. Callers remain pro se; cases that can't settle are referred out. DHL has developed telephone mediation to a high degree, enabling successful resolution between parties in different cities.
615 Mission Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Eviction Defense Network
The Eviction Defense Network was formed in 2003 to address the needs of tenants facing eviction in Los Angeles County who are unable to access existing services. Over 70,000 unlawful detainers are filed in Los Angeles County each year, while many low and moderate income tenants live in uninhabitable conditions or confront landlords seeking to circumvent local rent stabilization ordinances. The Network serves clients, including low and moderate-income families, who are denied services elsewhere because of staffing limitations or because they are not eligible for existing services due to funding restrictions.
Eviction Defense Network
1930 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 208
Los Angeles, CA 90057
The Family & Children’s Law Center
The Family & Children’s Law Center serves persons who are unable to afford a private lawyer and need assistance with family law matters including domestic violence, child support orders, custody and divorce. The Center helps clients fill out forms and proceed pro se, provides representation in selected cases, offers forums and classes for the community and has initiated an innovative lay advocacy program for victims of domestic violence. The Center has initiated a task force of legal service providers in the community to identify and meet unmet legal needs of low and moderate income persons. The Center currently serves over 250 clients per month with seven staff members and 125 active volunteers. Staff have developed guides for clients to prepare their own paperwork and inform the community of changes in the law through radio, television and press in both English and Spanish.
The Family & Children’s Law Center
30 North San Pedro Rd #245
San Rafael, CA 94903
Harriett Buhai Center for Family Law
A co-sponsored project of the LA County Bar Association, Black Women Lawyers and Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles. The decade-old Center provides family law assistance and education to low-income persons throughout Los Angeles County. The center developed and refined a unique delivery model using volunteer lawyers and paralegals. With close supervision by a small legal staff, volunteers are able to provide in-depth family law assistance in a variety of ways: instructing groups of clients with similar legal problems, intensive individual sessions so the client can leave with a strategy for representing themselves, or referral to a pro bono attorney. The assistance includes teaching persons with very little formal education and training to successfully represent themselves in court. The Center offers family law training for volunteers, which is approved for Continuing Legal Education credits. The Center has also published several items: a Volunteer Manual and training video, "Assisting the Limited-Income Client in Family Law Matters", a supplement to the manual,"California Child Support Supplement"; and, a video, "Going to Court on Your Own for a Divorce."
Harriett Buhai Center for Family Law
3250 Wilshire Blvd., Ste. 710
Los Angeles, CA 90010
Since 1997, LawGuru has provided an interface that allows its visitors to submit free legal questions to its attorney members (currently over 6,000 strong); or search its existing database that houses over 600,000 attorney-provided answers. Visitors submit a legal question via an online interface, along with their email and zip code. The question is then distributed to the attorneys based on jurisdiction and practice area. Once answered, the visitor is notified by email and provided a link to the answer.
73700 Dinah Shore Dr., Suite 104
Palm Desert, CA 92211
Legal Advice and Referral Clinic
Held twice a month, the Legal Advice and Referral Clinic (LARC) provides walk-in services where clients receive free consultations with attorneys in nearly every area of law. Clients are not screened based on income guidelines and over 35% of those self-reporting have an income of more than$25,000. These moderate income clients would in many cases not otherwise qualify for free services that are provided to low income individuals. LARC’s unique approach allows clients to be paired with attorney experts in the area of law pertinent to their problems the same day they arrive. The Clinic has volunteer attorneys prepared to provide brief advice to clients in bankruptcy, contracts, civil, collection defense, criminal, employment, family, general consumer, immigration, landlord-tenant, personal injury, probate, real estate, SSI and workers’ compensation law. By the end of the meeting clients are either given assistance with finding an affordable attorney through the Bar Association of San Francisco’s Lawyer Referral Information Service or put in a position to manage their legal problems independently.
Bar Association of San Francisco
301 Battery Street, 3rd Floor
San Francisco, CA 94111
In 1996, Jeffrey Hughes established The Legal Grind neighborhood coffeehouse in Santa Monica, California, offering easy access to "coffee and counsel" for a $20 fee. The innovative business model offers clients from all income levels reasonably priced unbundled legal services in family law, entertainment law, criminal law, tenant/landlord, and workman's compensation, while it generates referrals for participating lawyers. Legal Grind provides people with a relaxed atmosphere as they discuss their legal issues with lawyers. The information gives the café customers the opportunity to proceed on an informed basis. Some retain the lawyers they have met and others go forward on a pro se basis, perhaps with additional information from books in the Legal Grind bookstore. Mr. Hughes has also established the Legal Grind Foundation dedicated to helping educate young people about legal rights and responsibilities.
2640 Lincoln Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90405
Levitt & Quinn Family Law Center
Levitt & Quinn was founded after closure of the local legal aid office’s family law unit with the theory that if clients paid what they could, they would be invested in their cases and fees would underwrite the cost of representation provided by volunteers. The fundamental idea that legal representation should be available to low and moderate-income families continues. Levitt & Quinn uses an evolving sliding-fee scale to provide family law legal services to families who are unable to obtain representation from other legal services providers or afford private attorney representation. The model continues to shift and the sliding scale modified to accommodate changes and fill gaps left by traditional legal aid organizations. Changes are based on feedback from the community and a demographic study conducted by Levitt & Quinn that revealed more applicants were below the federal poverty level than previously known.
Levitt & Quinn
1557 Beverly Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90026
(213) 482-1800 extension 300
Los Angeles Superior Court's Domestic Violence Clinics
California law provides a means for the victims of domestic violence to seek protection through the issuance of a court restraining order. However, most victims of domestic violence require legal assistance to pursue this remedy, but cannot financially afford the cost. The Los Angeles Superior Court's Domestic Violence Clinic was initially piloted in its Southeast District in 1989 and has since been implemented in eight other Districts to provide these victims with legal assistance free of charge. The program utilizes student interns and pro-bono lawyers, referred by local bar associations, to assist victims in preparation for court hearings and completion of court orders following the hearings. By providing a sympathetic, though objective setting, victims of domestic violence face a less stressful experience upon their arrival at the Courthouse. In fiscal year 1993-94, it was estimated that the program assisted approximately 28,000 victims and saved the Court an estimated $559,000 in staff time due to the efficiencies in the preparation of legal documents and reduction in court time.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County
110 N. Grand Ave, Room 428G
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Lowboknow.com connects those who earn too much to qualify for free legal help, and yet not enough to afford market rate (i.e., 'regular people'), with solos and small firms who are willing to reduce their standard rates without reducing. Clients post descriptions of their case/issue, and attorneys can browse available cases and then make an offer to assist the client. Clients can review the offers and schedule a free 15 minute telephone conversation with the attorney of their choice.
Proboknow is a non-profit that connects low-income clients with attorneys looking to gain practical experience; the attorneys work pro bono, and are guided through their cases by more experienced attorney mentors. The idea is to allow newer attorneys and attorneys looking to transition practice areas to gain the practical experience they need while helping those in need. Attorneys and clients are connected directly though the platform, and attorneys can seek the guidance of mentors. The attorneys get practical experience, the mentors double their impact by ensuring quality representation while training new attorneys, and the clients get the help they need but can't afford.
The Online Self-Help Center: Judicial Council of California
In 2001, the Judicial Council of California established a comprehensive court-sponsored online self-help center. The site contains over 900 pages designed to help individuals navigate the court system, learn more about state law, work smarter with their lawyer, represent themselves in some legal matters, and find low-cost legal assistance. The Online Center helps achieve the Judicial Council’s goal of ensuring meaningful access for all Californians, and is part of a broader bench-bar effort to increase the availability of legal assistance for low and moderate-income litigants. Those who go to the Online Center have access to extensive information about court procedures, including ADR, and links to LRIS, free and low-cost legal assistance. Materials are available for family and juvenile law, domestic violence, elder law and landlord/tenant matters. The Judicial Council actively encourages other courts that are interested in establishing similar models of information and legal services.
California Administrative Office of the Courts
455 Golden Gate Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94102
The Orange County Bar Association's
Modest Means Program
The Orange County Bar Association's (OCBA) Modest Means Committee was formed in October of 1993 to develop a program which both increases the access to legal service by the middle-income public and provides adequate compensation to the participating lawyers. The program, under the umbrella of the OCBA's Lawyer Referral Service, was implemented on June 13, 1994. The Modest Means Program is designed to meet the need for access to the justice system by those of low and fixed income where access to legal aid and pro bono assistance is not possible, and household resources are insufficient to pay prevailing hourly rates. The program will meet this need by providing those residents to a panel of lawyers who will agree to charge $80 an hour for legal services. Through an OCBA Help-line lawyer participants have access to guidance from experienced lawyers in many areas.
Orange County Bar Association
PO Box 6130
Newport Beach, CA 92658
Pangea Legal Services
Pangea is a non-profit serving immigrants in the United States, primarily in the area of deportation defense. Pangea offers pro bono services as well as low-fee options through their sliding scale fee structure. Direct services include affirmative and defensive asylum, cancellation of removal, DACA, U-visa, family based petitions and consular processing. The organization is also involved with policy advocacy and community education.
Practical Plans is an interactive website that helps families of moderate income prepare important estate planning documents at an affordable cost. The process is automated, but it is not mindless. Practical Plans’ clients learn about estate planning through the site's education sections and then use the automated system to make decisions about the design of their plans. Each plan is reviewed by an experienced attorney, who is available to answer questions by email.
1 Park Plaza, Suite 300
Irvine, CA 92614
San Fernando Valley Bar Association
The San Fernando Valley Bar Association (SFVBA) began making lawyer referrals in 1948. Since the 1970s the LRIS has operated a Senior Program where panel attorneys conduct consultations at several senior centers and one courthouse. In 1985, the Association and Neighborhood Legal Services (NLS) jointly created the Family Law Center to provide legal representation to women in divorce, domestic violence, child and spousal support, and child custody cases. In 2000, the SFVBA and NLS established and helped staff a Self-Help Legal Access Center at a San Fernando Valley courthouse. There are now four centers with more planned. In 2004, the LRIS began its operations of the Limited Scope Family Law Panel. In 2007, working with the State Bar Judicial Counsel, the LRIS has begun expanding the Limited Scope Representation program to bankruptcy, landlord/tenant matters and general civil litigation.
San Fernando Valley Bar Association
32360 Califa St.
Woodland Hills, CA 91367
Sustainable Economies Law Center
The mission of the Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC) is to support community resilience and grassroots economic empowerment. The SELC has two complementary programs aimed at increasing access to transactional legal services for low-income entrepreneurs and change-making organizations, such as worker cooperatives, nonprofits and urban farms. First, SELC’s Resilient Communities Legal Cafe is 1/3 legal advice clinic + 1/3 living classroom + 1/3 community-building space. Three times per month in a welcoming café-like space in the San Francisco Bay Area, attorneys and law students provide donation-based legal assistance to low and moderate-income clients. The Legal Cafe often includes workshops on a wide range of legal topics. SELC recently published a guidebook to replicating the Legal Cafe model. Second, SELC’s Fellowship Program is an incubator supporting attorneys all over the country who are starting new law practices and nonprofit law centers serving a similar client base. Each Fellow receives training, mentorship, networking and other support opportunities. Many Fellows gain hands-on experience in SELC’s Legal Cafe, while others receive mentorship remotely as they take on the legal needs of clients such as homemade food entrepreneurs, housing cooperatives, and worker-owned businesses.
The Center for Out of Court Divorce, together with The Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System at the University of Denver
The traditional court process can be adversarial and complex, and often beyond the means of families. To address those issues, IAALS first launched the Resource Center for Separating and Divorcing Families (RCSDF) in 2013 as a two-year pilot project on the campus of the University of Denver. The RCSDF was then replicated in the community as the Center for Out-of-Court Divorce (COCD), operating as an independent nonprofit. The COCD works in partnership with the legal system, leveraging interdisciplinary services and empowering parents going through a divorce to work together toward positive outcomes for their children. The model coordinates a package of services including: therapy, financial counseling, legal education, mediation, court filing, and a court-sanctioned final hearing with an onsite judge. Often clients also use unbundled legal services from local attorneys as needed. Building on the COCD Denver experience, IAALS intends to replicate this model, with an ultimate goal of decreasing the adverse effects, and thereby better the outcomes, for children and families of divorce across the country.
Landlord Tenant Resource Center
DC Bar Pro Bono Program
Recognizing that 99 percent of tenants sued in the Landlord Tenant Branch of the DC Superior Court are not represented by counsel, and that nearly 14 percent of landlords are also without representation, the DC Bar Pro Bono Program, in cooperation with the Landlord Tenant Court, established the Landlord Tenant Resource Center. Regardless of the facts of their cases, unrepresented tenants face a high risk of eviction, and inexperienced landlords risk having their cases dismissed, often due to procedural missteps. In response to this need, the Center is available to unrepresented landlords and tenants in need of legal information, resources, and, if appropriate, referrals for representation from local legal service providers. Volunteer lawyers from nine participating law firms consult with interested parties each weekday morning.
Landlord Tenant Resource Center
Court Building B, Room115
510 4th Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20002
The DC Reduced Fee Lawyer & Mediator Referral Service (DC Refers) has launched an online directory of reduced fee lawyers as a pilot project. The mission of DC Refers is to "connect clients who need affordable legal and mediation services with qualified attorneys." The directory will include pre-screened attorneys who are willing to charge reduced fees to modest-means clients with incomes falling within 200-400% of the federal poverty guidelines.
Pinellas County Clerk of the Circuit Court Legal Self Help Center
The Pinellas County Clerk of the Circuit Court Legal Self Help Center provides affordable legal services to the citizens of Pinellas County and assists them with filing small claims, tenant evictions and family cases. The Self Help Center sets attorney appointments for a nominal fee of $1 per minute with a minimum of $15 and a maximum of $60. Fees paid by the litigants fund the Self Help Center attorneys and no person is turned away based upon income. The Self Help Center also provides specialized software that assists in filling out forms, maintains and sells packets for civil court actions, provides notary services and processes copy requests. The Clerk of the Courts Self Help Center is a collaborative effort between the Clerk of the Circuit Court, the Sixth Judicial Circuit, the Community Law Program and the Clearwater Bar Association and services are available at three different locations.
Pinellas County Clerk of the Circuit Court Legal Self Help Center
324 S. Ft. Harrison Ave.
Clearwater, FL 33756
Get Smart Legal
Get Smart Legal believes that everyone should have access to value priced professional legal advice from a licensed attorney to better address all present and future legal needs. Get Smart Legal specializes in web-enabled legal documents bundled with legal advice for a fixed fee. The Get Smart Legal business model employs web-enabled interface technology at reduced costs and increased productivity. This allows the firm to efficiently serve its target market of informed consumers with the ability to correctly choose their legal document and accurately answer the questionnaire content. However, customers also have the option, at anytime during the process, to request assistance for any required functions.
4780 Davie Road, Suite 101
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33314
Essentia Legal offers full legal representation and document services in a broad array of disciplines. Founded in July 2008 by three former corporate attorneys with litigation and transactional experience, Essentia Legal’s mission is to make top-notch legal services available at affordable rate to moderate income clients. With offices located at a shopping mall storefront in South Fulton, Essentia Legal offers free consultations and payment flexibility to walk-in customers. It also supports an extensive community outreach program, partnering with churches, neighborhood associations, and local businesses to deliver free legal clinics where bankruptcy, estate planning, intellectual property, business formation and other pertinent issues are discussed. Essentia Legal also leverages new technology to provide document preparation services to online customers and adds value by reviewing the documents for correctness and substantive compliance.
3645 Marketplace Blvd.
Atlanta, GA 30344
The Manely Firm P.C.'s Justice Cafe
The Manely Firm, P.C.’s Justice Café delivers limited scope family law, juvenile law, and criminal defense services for $75 per hour. Every client receives a minimum one hour consultation with a licensed attorney who has special training in their particular field of law. In addition to the consult, clients can receive a host of services including, drafting, document review, legal research, and even representation at court. All services are tailored to the specific needs of the client. The Café currently has three locations. All are near the county courthouses, visible, accessible, and designed to encourage “on the spot” legal help. Café attorneys are trained by senior Manely Firm associates, meet specific training and CLE criteria, are supervised by a Cafe lead attorney, and have access to the guidance and advise of firm attorneys as needed. Café attorneys earn 1/2 of the $75 billable hour. Through limited scope service, utilizing part-time attorneys at moderate compensation, and maintaining low overhead and high volume, The Justice Cafe is designed to be self-supporting while keeping its billable rate low. Its model is simple, straightforward and responsive to an ever growing need.
The Manely Firm P.C.'s Justice Cafe
92 Peachtree Street
Atlanta, GA 30303
Idaho Court Assistance-Office Project
Idaho Supreme Court
The Court Assistance Office (CAO) integrates technology with personnel services to provide a one-stop clearinghouse to access legal services and other resources for those involved in family law cases and other civil court matters. There are currently court assistance offices in twenty-two courthouses around Idaho. Some of the court assistance office resources, such as an attorney roster, court forms and instructions, can be accessed directly from the Project's website at www.courtselfhelp.idaho.gov. For other services and materials, people may call or visit the nearest Court Assistance Office. Project planning was led by the Idaho Supreme Court's Committee to Increase Access to the Court, beginning in 1998. Service began July 1, 1999. This is an Idaho Supreme Court project with support from the State Justice Institute, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, participating counties, and the University of Idaho College of Law.
Idaho Supreme Court
Clerk of the Courts
P.O. Box 83720
Boise, ID 83720
Mauk & O'Connor LLP
Mauk & O’Connor, LLP is a two-attorney law firm devoted exclusively to representation of families involved in special education disputes with local schools in northern Illinois. The firm is committed to assuring vigorous, comprehensive advocacy for parents and their disabled child, and seeks to maximize access to representation in meritorious cases by offering flexible fee and retainer policies. The firm will not decline representation of a meritorious case based on the family’s limited means. The business plan for the firm relies on recovery of attorney fees from the local school district as part of a settlement or after prevailing in a due process hearing before a state board of education hearing officer. The firm has been successful over the past six years in two ways: first, in representing scores of low and moderate income families each year; and second, in sustaining the firm through recovery of attorney fees from school districts. More than 90% of firm revenue is received from school districts rather than the clients.
Mauk and O’Connor, LLP
1427 W. Howard St.
Chicago, IL 60626-1426
Attorney Anthony Perrelli set out to help bring attorney-reviewed estate planning and information online with Smarter Will (www.smarterwill.com). Smarter Will is a hybrid: the cost and convenience of an online legal service with the attorney-review process of a traditional law firm. It utilizes the DirectLaw platform in an innovative way, by creating a stand-alone brand (not simply an online portal for traditional clients) marketed towards middle-income families new to estate planning.
One Overlook Point, Suite 250
Lincolnshire, IL 60069
IllinoisLegal Aid Online
Illinois Legal Aid Online’s (ILAO) Statewide Virtual Legal Self-Help Center uses technology to bridge gaps in the legal services delivery system by coordinating and supporting legal self-help centers across Illinois, providing low and moderate income residents with user-friendly online resources and tools to help them resolve their legal matters, and training and supporting court staff and public librarians who often interact with those seeking legal services. The backbone of this project is www.IllinoisLegalAid.org, an award winning, comprehensive website that provides those seeking legal help with free legal information, self-help resources and referrals to legal services. The site also has a live chat feature, “LiveHelp,” which allows visitors to communicate directly with trained law students who provide online navigation assistance.
Illinois Legal Aid Online
Chicago Legal Clinic
The Chicago Legal Clinic began in 1981 to address the legal needs of workers who had lost their jobs due to reductions of steel mill operations in South Chicago. The clinic was created by a local parish priest and lawyer, Most Rev. Thomas J. Paprocki, and a newly admitted lawyer, Edward Grossman. The clinic’s goal is to make legal services accessible to those who are impacted by poverty, abuse and discrimination. It provides a number of programs, including two advice desks at the Cook County Circuit Court, a domestic violence program, an immigration program, and advocacy for consumers in debt, seniors and the disabled. The clinic is supported by client fees, provided on a sliding-fee scale, and donations from a variety of sources. The clinic provides direct representation, coordinates pro bono services and provides a series of community educational seminars.
Chicago Legal Clinic, Inc.
2938 E. 91st St.
Chicago, IL 60617
The Post-Decree Divorce Self Help Project of the Coordinated Advice and Referral Program for Legal Services (CARPLS)
CARPLS was created in response to the findings of the 1989 Illinois Legal Needs Study that called for a streamlined delivery mechanism to handle limited representation cases. The result of the combined efforts of the Illinois Bar Foundation, the Chicago Bar Foundation and the Lawyers Trust Fund of Illinois is a hotline that is the technological equivalent of storefront legal services, giving clients immediate access to a lawyer. The Post-Decree Divorce Self-Help Desk was established to address the large number of people in need of those services. The Desk is located in the courthouse, where staff attorneys help people represent themselves by filling out forms and drafting motions to enforce or modify existing judgments, usually involving child support and custody. CARPLS serves individuals with incomes up to 350 percent of the federal poverty guidelines.
Beckman Law Offices
Free Wills Over the Web
The Burlington, Iowa, law firm of Beckman Law Offices, P.L.C., offers free simple wills through their Internet web site. The firm created a document assembly program that enables web site viewers to make their wills by answering a series of questions. The technology then “creates” the will. The firm advertises the availability of the free wills in local newspapers and in the Yellow Pages. In order to make certain the wills reflect the intent of their makers, and to assure they are validly executed, those seeking free wills are asked to come to the firm’s office, after the firm screens for conflicts of interest. The lawyer provides a brief consultation and supervises the execution of the wills. Clients from 18 to 85 years old have used the service.
Beckman Law Offices
314 North Fourth Street
Burlington, IA 52601
The Lafayette Volunteer Lawyers’ (LVL) Counsel on Call program allows Lafayette Parish residents to discuss various legal issues with one of two volunteer attorneys every Friday morning. Participants are assisted on a first come - first serve basis and are allowed a 15-minute conference with the volunteer attorney to discuss their issues. These services are offered to participants without regard to financial ability and are open to all seeking basic legal advice from attorneys in the area. Recognizing that some attorneys may be hesitant to give even limited advice to non-clients, as part of the implementation of this program, LVL has prepared the appropriate documents to ensure both the attorney and participant are protected and has worked with the Bar Association to ensure that all volunteers are protected by the appropriate insurance with no cost to the attorney.
Lafayette Bar Association Building
2607 Johnston Street
Lafayette, Louisiana 70503
Maine Legal Services
The Maine Legal Services websites, developed by Hugh Calkins and Kathleen Caldwell, receive over a million visitors a year. These websites, including www.ptla.org, www.HelpMeLaw.org, www.mejp.org, www.vlp.org, and www.mainelse.org, provide accessible legal information for the benefit of people of low and moderate incomes. For example, www.HelpMELaw.org supplies easily-readable information regarding court procedure for pro se litigants and offers interactive legal templates, simplifying the process of filing of pleadings. Litigants answer questions phrased in plain language and their answers are pasted into the appropriate section of the pleading. After the pleading is completed, the pro se litigant will then be given directions on how to file it. These sites utilize open source technologies, such as the HelpMELaw search engine. Maine Legal Services encourages other legal service providers to employ these technologies across the country.
Pine Tree Legal Assistance
88 Federal Street
P.O. Box 547
Portland, ME 04112
Based out of the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, JustAdvice is a faculty and student executed program that provides legal assistance for $10 to people who do not qualify for free legal services yet cannot afford traditionally priced assistance. The program relies on a skills-based teaching model that provides students with a learning experience while simultaneously serving the needs of the community. Clients receive brief legal advice supported by wrap around services from the Schools of Medicine, Pharmacy and Social Work. After the 30 minute consultation, clients leave with a roadmap of how to proceed, including referrals and a list of important legal concerns.
University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law
500 W. Baltimore Street
Baltimore, MD 21201-1786
Maryland Courts Self-Help Centers
The Maryland Courts Self-Help Centers provide free limited legal help in civil cases for people who do not have a lawyer. Services in all civil case types are available by phone, chat, or in-person, and the Maryland Law Help app brings court resources and legal help together and allows users to click to chat or call for help. The program is open to all regardless of income. Seventy-four percent of self-help center users report a household income of less than $50,000 annually. Self-Help Centers offer assistance in all civil case types including housing, foreclosure, family, consumer, domestic violence and expungement. Specifically, the Family Law Self-Help Centers have been offering walk-in help for divorce, custody, domestic violence and child support for more than 20 years. In 2009, the first of three District Court centers opened, offering walk-in assistance in landlord-tenant, small claims, return of property and domestic violence matters. Finally, recognizing that not all individuals can access walk-in centers, the Judiciary launched the Maryland Courts Self-Help Center, offering remote self-help services via phone, chat and email weekdays until 8 p.m. to eliminate barriers to accessing civil legal help.
Mid Shore Pro Bono Lawyer Referral Program/Legal Services Provider
Mid-Shore Pro Bono’s (MSPB) maintains an office, open Monday through Friday, that provides residents an opportunity to walk-in and discuss their legal issues with staff, or, to attend weekly clinics staffed by volunteer lawyers during which residents discuss, in confidence, a wide range of legal issues (domestic, bankruptcy, foreclosure, etc.). Equally important, MSPB provides a one-stop-shop for lawyers to find clients in need of reduced fee (or free) representation. On at least a weekly basis, MSPBs staff provides the members of the local bar with a running list of reduced fee and/or pro bono clients in need of legal assistance.
Mid Shore Pro Bono
216 E. Dover Street
Easton, MD 21601
The Virtual Courthouse (VCH) is an internet-based service that enables parties to submit disputes in digital form for resolution by a neutral party of its Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) services. These ADR services include arbitration, mediation, neutral case evaluation or a settlement conference by members of a panel of neutrals. VCH provides an independent forum by enabling parties to select qualified neutrals, submit digitized materials, schedule an ADR event and track other activities throughout the effort to resolve the matter. Critical to the design of this service is its neutrality; VCH impartially facilitates neutral selection by providing structured communication among parties via a controlled and secure message service. VCH streamlines every step in the process and minimizes the need and cost of unnecessary face-to-face meetings, mailing and copying. VCH enables a party to obtain a fair, impartial and expeditious dispute resolution for as little as $200, expanding access to dispute resolution to those who would face higher costs by using the courts or other dispute resolution mechanisms.
2527 Lyon Drive
Annapolis, MD 21403
The Maryland Legal Assistance Network
The Peoples Law Library
The Peoples Law Library is one of the first legal information and self-help advocacy websites in the country. It includes 1,100 page of information and has nearly 90,000 unique visitors each year. PLL is the centerpiece of a multi-pronged effort to provide the working poor and those with moderate incomes with legal information, forms, and connections to self-help and lawyer resources. The home page is designed so that people can access information from easy-to-identify topics. A navigation bar then links visitors to additional resources, such as lawyer and mediation referral opportunities and court resources. PLL is the first web site to fully comply with the ABA Best Practice Guidelines for Legal Information Web Site Providers. In addition, the site includes diagnostic tools to assist pro se litigants to determine the circumstances where the assistance of a lawyer is critical to the outcome of their matter.
The Maryland Legal Assistance Network
500 East Lexington Street
Baltimore, MD 21202
MDFamilyLawyer.com was developed in 2001 by Richard Granat, a Maryland lawyer, in an effort to use technology to deliver unbundled legal services in family law matters to the moderate means population of Maryland. The site serves as a virtual law firm, and offers substantial cost savings to clients who pay flat fees for legal advice and attorney prepared documents.
Granat Legal Services, P.C.
9148 Reisterstown Road, Suite 43
Owings Mills, MD 21117
The Pro Se Project
Montgomery County Maryland
The Pro Se Project of Montgomery County, Maryland, is a free walk-in clinic that provides information and advice about family law matters, including divorce, custody, support and visitation. Using family law forms developed by the state, the Project helps clients determine which forms are appropriate, how to complete the forms and how to navigate the process. Although the Project helps people of all income levels, those with incomes under the Project’s guidelines receive limited legal advice, while those with incomes over the guidelines receive only general legal information. The Project refers those who need a lawyer to local pro bono programs and the lawyer referral services. The Project is staffed with two lawyers and a bilingual paralegal, located in the county court, with hours from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday.
Montgomery County Circuit Court
Family Law Self Help Center
50 Maryland Ave
Rockville, MD 20850
The Women's Law Center's Family Law Hotline
The Family Law Hotline is an innovative project staffed by pro bono lawyers who provide free legal information to moderate income people experiencing family law problems. The Hotline was designed by the Women's Law Center's (WLC) Executive Director and its Young Lawyers Section. The WLC is a non-profit organization which educates the public about its legal rights. The Hotline began on a citywide basis in Baltimore in 1990. The Baltimore Bar Association contributed by assisting in preparing a manual for volunteers and helping to recruit lawyers to staff the Hotline. The WLC began a second hotline in 1991 which allows callers to reach it from all over the state on an "800" number. The Maryland State Bar Association assisted with recruitment of staff. WLC continues to operate both the City and State Hotlines one day a week, serving over 3,000 callers annually. To deal with the critical lack of services in family law volunteer lawyers receive calls in their own offices through a unique call forwarding system.
The Women’s Law Center of Maryland, Inc.
305 West Chesapeake Avenue
Towson, MD 21204
Heisler, Feldman, McCormick & Garrow, PC
Heisler, Feldman, McCormick & Garrow, PC represents only low and moderate income tenants, consumers, employees and victims of discrimination in litigation. Prior to opening the office in 1996, moderate income clients did not have access to legal representation, despite having legitimate claims, because they did not quality for free assistance and could not afford to pay retainers and hourly rates charged by most private attorneys. Heisler, Feldman, McCormick & Garrow created a fee-shifting provision in federal and state civil rights and tenant laws. According to the model, no client makes an advance payment. Instead, the firm takes the financial risk of the litigation and receives payment through settlement or a fee petition. The firm is unique in that it is often the only firm available to serve the legal needs of clients in the practice area.
Heisler, Feldman, McCormick & Garrow, PC
1145 Main Street
Springfield, MA 01130
Access Legal Care
Access Legal Care, established in May of 2011, is a Michigan law firm that provides affordable help for common legal needs. By using a model that includes fixed fees and other methods of reducing costs, the law firm is able to offer services that cost 40-60% less than the industry average. Methods of reducing costs include centralizing operations for economies of scale, leveraging technology and automating tasks, utilizing “of counsel” lawyers who have their own independent practices, relying on limited scope representation, and other approaches to streamline services. The firm focuses on the 20% of legal services that most lower and middle income people are likely to need, while referring out other services. Such an efficient and streamlined model is not specific to Michigan and demonstrates a creative combination of cost-reducing processes that may be implemented in other states.
Access Legal Care, PLLC
28473 Warren Rd.
Garden City, MI 48135
Veterans Law Clinic and Project Salute
Established in 2007, the Veterans Law Clinic, Veterans Appellate Clinic and Project Salute assist low and moderate income veterans and families with obtaining VA benefits. The clinics provide direct representation of veterans who are within 200% of the poverty level. Project Salute provides in-person and webinar training to attorneys, conducts intakes, pairs veterans with trained attorneys, and provides ongoing support. If attorneys represent additional clients, they can charge a contingency fee based on retroactive benefits; attorneys who prevail at the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims collect Equal Access to Justice fees. In addition to the clinics and Project Salute, the program also conducts ongoing community-based informational sessions, provides referrals and pro se clinics regarding benefits and other legal issues, assists in setting up veterans' diversionary courts in Michigan, and provides consultation and assistance to entities interested in implementing similar programs. Mobile law offices bring services to clients, traveling to homeless shelters, Stand-Downs, rural communities and other locations to provide services (54 Michigan cities, 25 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico). The program has partnered with various entities including State Bar of Michigan, ABA Young Lawyers Division and District Courts.
University of Detroit Mercy School of Law
UDM Law Clinic: 651 E. Jefferson, Detroit MI 48226
313-596-0235 or 1-888-UDM-LAW4 (1-888-836-5294)
Project Salute: 1-888-836-5294 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Settle Today is an internet-based dispute resolution technology that provides a secure, low cost solution to resolving civil disputes. Settle Today uses a non-confrontational and easily understood web interface to make conflict resolution more affordable and accessible. The patent-pending process follows simple steps of case submission, rebuttal, final statements, review and resolution. The goal of Settle Today is to render a legally binding decision within 24 hours of final statements. Participants can easily follow the process online. Settle Today helps divert lengthy civil disputes from the court systems. It brings professional dispute resolution as an Internet connection, eliminating travel and expenses and delay. Settle Today is available to anyone, anywhere and at anytime.
PO Box 342
Macatawa, MI 49434
Legal Assistance Center
The Legal Assistance Center is a project of the Grand Rapids Bar Association that provides assistance to those of moderate and low income who cannot otherwise obtain legal assistance. Many of those served are attempting to address their legal matters on a pro se basis. The Center’s staff responds to each participant’s specific needs, assists them with necessary paperwork and makes appropriate referrals. By collaborating with various community agencies, the Center offers “one stop” assistance, coordinating responses to the unique issues of participants and addressing the root of their legal matters. Bilingual staff and specialized tools for those with disabilities help the Center extend its capabilities.
The Legal Assistance Center
Kent County Courthouse
180 Ottawa Ave, N.W.
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Hennepin County Self-Help Center
The Hennepin County Self Help Center (SHC) provides procedural assistance, education and referrals to self-represented litigants, without regard to income, in Minnesota’s most populous county. SHC coordinates with volunteer and legal services lawyers to provide brief advice. The program aims to improve access to the courts, reduce dismissals and continuances, prepare litigants for hearing, improve the quality of information available to judges, achieve fair outcomes and educate the public about the courts and the role of lawyers. The county now has two centers; in the main courthouse and in the Family Justice Center, and provides services in a suburban courthouse one day each week.
Hennepin County Govt. Center
300 South 6th Street
Public Service Level
Minneapolis, MN 55487
Minnesota Appeals Self-Help Clinic
The Appeals Self-Help Clinic was founded in January of 2016 to assist pro se parties in Minnesota's appellate courts. It is currently available once per month for three hours to assist any pro se parties who have questions about the appellate process. It is staffed by volunteer lawyers who are members of the Appellate Practice Section of the Minnesota State Bar Association, as well as the staff librarians at the State Law Library.
Email form or email@example.com
Jacksonville lawyers are counseling persons one-to-one in the neighborhoods identified by city council members as being areas of high need and low to moderate income. The attorney teams counsel persons individually in 15-20 minute interviews. The attorneys are not opening cases, but instead are identifying the legal questions, providing guidance on how the person may proceed, and suggesting where the person may go to get additional assistance. Persons with issues that may require legal representation are referred to a legal services organization or to the local lawyer referral service. The program is staffed and coordinated entirely by pro bono attorneys.
Jacksonville Bar Association
126 West Adams Street
Jacksonville, FL 32202
ALPS Attorney Match allows lawyers to connect via a free, secure online network to seek job opportunities, find other lawyers looking to take over existing practices, facilitate mentorships, and span geographical hurdles to bring the legal community closer together. ALPS Attorney Match was conceived in 2011 as a possible solution to the nationwide problem faced by many of ALPS’ partnering State Bars. The State Bar of South Dakota, in particular, was facing a steady decline of lawyers in rural parts of the state creating critically low access to justice for many South Dakotans. In partnership with the Bar’s Project Rural Practice initiative, ALPS first launched Attorney Match in South Dakota in early 2014. In addition to South Dakota, ALPS has officially launched Attorney Match with its state bar partners in Vermont and Virginia, and will be rolling it out in more states next year.
Civil Law Self Help Center
The Clark County Civil Law Self-Help Center’s mission is to increase informed access to the courts by providing education, information, legal forms, community referrals, and support services to self-represented civil litigants, regardless of income or citizenship. The Center was developed through a creative partnership between the Clark County courts, Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada, and the Neighborhood Justice Center (a county mediation service) and provides educational materials and training on various legal topics, including small claims, landlord/tenant, foreclosures, and protection orders, among others. The Center's staff assists with identifying and completing legal forms and makes referrals to other community resources. The Center conducts an "Ask-A-Lawyer" program, at which litigants can meet with pro bono attorneys regarding landlord/tenant issues. The Center also provides forms and information via its website.
800 S. 8th St.
Las Vegas, NV 89101
Ask a Lawyer Program, Eighth Judicial District, Court of Nevada
The "Ask A Lawyer" program is a court/community effort to address the needs of moderate to low-income self-represented litigants in the Family Court. When pro se litigants have access to attorneys, they are more informed regarding their rights and obligations and have realistic expectations for the outcome of their case. Attorneys from legal service providers, the private sector, and court-certified law students provide free 15-minute consultations one afternoon a week. "Ask A Lawyer" assists over 100 litigants each month. Over 98% of litigants responding to a survey found the attorney’s services to be helpful. The program has also received strong support from judges, who have issued a proclamation, promoted the program during attorney luncheons, and personally thanked participating attorneys.
Eighth Judicial District Court
200 Lewis Avenue
Las Vegas, NV 89101
Community Legal Services, Inc.
Community Legal Services (CLS) is a non-profit corporation with a goal of making the court system more open and affordable for everyone - not just the wealthy and the very poor. CLS lawyers provide unbundled legal services, ranging from legal advice to document preparation and court appearances. Clients pay a set fee for services and, after the initial meeting, may receive a lower price by doing community service. CLS serves both New Hampshire and Massachusetts consumers.
Community Legal Services, Inc.
PO Box 242
Union, NH 03887
Partners for Women and Justice
Partners for Women and Justice empowers low-income, abused women to secure futures for themselves and their children by providing equal access to justice. Many of Partners’ clients have low-paying jobs that barely cover the necessities but make them ineligible for most free legal assistance programs. Through a combination of staff and pro bono attorneys on call, Partners offers free legal assistance – ranging from phone advice and counsel to representation in court – in family law and related matters.
Partners for Women and Justice
60 S. Fullerton Ave. #211
Montclair, NJ 07042
Legal Resources for the Elderly Program
The Legal Resources for the Elderly Program (LREP) is a free, statewide helpline for New Mexico residents age 55 and older. The Program does not have any income restrictions. LREP is a joint project of the New Mexico State Bar Foundation and the New Mexico Aging and Long-Term Services Department. LREP has been in existence for nearly 30 years.
5121 Masthead NE
Albuquerque., NM 87109
The Financial Clinic
The Financial Clinic improves financial security for the working poor – those who fall into the wage gap—earning too much for public assistance but too little to be self sufficient. The Financial Clinic undertakes projects where financial coaches and attorneys can find customers in the best position to succeed by partnering with organizations that have already identified a strong need for financial development services. Examples include MoneyUP, a joint initiative with the United Way of New York City, where The Financial Clinic combines free tax preparation services with financial coaching and legal services; Single Stop, where The Financial Clinic complements free benefit screenings provided to the community with one-on-one financial coaching and legal services; and Greenlight, a partnership with United Way of New York City and Human Resources Administration which enhances services offered to customers through the domestic violence shelter system. The Financial Clinic attorneys provide “Know Your Rights” workshops to better meet the needs of domestic violence survivors in shelter, in addition to providing traditional legal services. Staff attorneys represent clients in legal proceedings that involve a wide range of topics on financial issues, including, consumer debt collection cases, consumer bankruptcies, resolving tax and student loan debts, and foreclosure defense.
Health Care Rights Initiative
The Health Care Rights Initiative (HCRI) provides advocacy and education services to patients with employer-based health insurance. HCRI has developed a patient advocacy model that breaks advocacy into component parts, encouraging patients and loved ones to engage in elements of health care advocacy where a law license is not required. Based out of a legal incubator, HCRI utilizes the community lawyers in the incubator to represent patients on a sliding scale while providing them with CLE training and support. HCRI has exported their model to pro bono legal projects at multiple law schools and has integrated their advocacy model into their cancer care certification program. HCRI also connects community lawyers with outside health policy projects to augment their training and generate additional income.
Health Care Rights Initiative
233 Fifth Ave, Suite 4A
New York, NY 10016
New York Legal Assistance Group
The New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG) was founded in 1990 to provide free civil legal services to New Yorkers who cannot afford private attorneys. Recognizing the multiple, overlapping legal needs of low- and moderate-income clients, NYLAG's practice has continuously expanded over two decades to provide more holistic services, including public benefits, immigration, family law (prioritizing domestic violence), elder abuse, consumer law, financial counseling, housing, eviction and foreclosure prevention, workers' rights, LGBT rights, health care, home care, and advance directives.
New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG)
7 Hanover Square, 18th Floor
New York, NY 10004
Lantern Legal Services
Natoli-Lapin, LLC created Lantern Legal Services to offer cost-effective flat-rate legal services to entrepreneurs, small businesses, independent inventors and artists. It was apparent that this group was largely underserved and often left with one of two options: 1) use non-lawyer document preparation websites that offer no legal guidance, or 2) hire a business lawyer who typically required a large retainer and a high billable hourly rate. Understanding the value of accessible legal help, Lantern Legal Services chose to offer the middle ground, and developed very successful and comprehensive service packages in the areas of business and intellectual property law. Lantern Legal Services clients benefit from the low over-head and a virtual service model, as cost savings are passed directly to the client.
304 Park Avenue South, 11th Floor
New York, NY 10010
The Community Advocacy Center, Inc.
Angelo DiGangi wrote the blueprints for the Preventive Legal Services for the Elderly Program in New York City. In 1988, Mr. DiGangi founded the Community Advocacy Center Inc. (CAC). CAC was established to make society aware of the socio-economic and legal problems which affect senior citizens. The Community Advocacy Center has as its specific goal to work with foundations, universities and community leaders in order to stimulate the development of Preventive Law for the Elderly Programs throughout the United States. Preventive Law is based on the concept that the best legal service is most often accomplished through educating a target population. To this end, Mr. DiGangi established the Legal Awareness Clinic. Staff lawyers, interns and volunteers go into senior citizen centers to lecture on various topics of law which affect the senior population. After such lectures, there is an opportunity provided for private consultation, with any senior citizen who feels she/he may be in need of assistance.
The Community Advocacy Center
657 Fairview Ave.
Ridgewood, New York 11385
Upsolve has created software to take pro se debtors end-to-end in a Chapter 7 case, with very limited pro bono attorney assistance. The centerpiece of the software is an intake website that uses cartoons and plain language taken from Harvard Law research, asking clients the questions needed to complete the official bankruptcy forms. The software auto populates the official forms, prior to a 1 hour pre-filing review by a pro bono attorney. By contrast, a typical chapter 7 case usually takes pro bono attorneys around 4 to 6 hours.
UNC Law Pro Bono Program Wills Project
The Wills Project began in March 2009, through a unique partnership with the University of North Carolina Law Pro Bono Program, the Center for Civil Right and Legal Aid of North Carolina. The project’s goal is to give landowners the opportunity to decide how to distribute their property to reduce the possibility of losing long-held family land. Students and attorneys travel to rural counties, where they prepare wills and advanced directives for medium and low wealth clients. After setting up small offices and community centers with laptops, notes, and printers, students and attorneys interview clients, draft document, and execute wills and advanced directives for clients.
University of North Carolina School of Law
CB #3380 VanHecke-Wettach Hall
Chapel Hill, NC 27599
North Carolina’s 26th Judicial District Self-Service Center
The Judicial District’s Self-Service Center provides a continuum of services to assist pro se litigants in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. Foremost, the Center provides forms and filing instructions on family law and other civil law topics. The Center also includes videos on family law topics to further explain the filing process, clinics that explain how to complete the forms, a website and a list of local lawyers providing unbundled legal services to assist pro se litigants meet their legal needs. The Self-Service Center, which opened in 1999 and is the only one of its kind in North Carolina, also provides referrals to appropriate community resources and agencies, frequently asked questions and contact numbers. It provides workspace, telephones, typewriters and legal reference materials, free to those pursuing their legal concerns at the courthouse.
North Carolina 26th Judicial District Self-Serve Center
832 E. Fourth Street
Charlotte, NC 28202
Columbus Bar Association's Lawyers for Justice Program
The Lawyers for Justice (LFJ) program involves local lawyers in the direct representation of indigent residents of central Ohio. Since LFJ began accepting cases on July 1, 1993, it has joined 296 lawyers-from small, medium and large firms, sole practices, corporate legal departments and governmental entities-in its effort to improve the delivery of legal services to that segment of the population whose legal needs were not being adequately addressed by existing legal aid providers. To date, LFJ volunteer lawyers have committed 6,190 hours of pro bono civil legal services, and have provided representation to approximately 290 individuals. LFJ is operated as a telephone referral service and will accept cases that are not handled by other organizations providing legal services. Clients cannot earn more than 150% of the federally determined poverty level.
Columbus Bar Association
175 S. Third St., Ste. 1100
Columbus, OH 43215
Small Business Legal Clinic
The Small Business Legal Clinic (SBLC), an independently funded program of the Lewis & Clark Law School, provides affordable business transactional legal services to primarily low-income small and emerging businesses. The SBLC provides its services through two distinct programs: the Intern Program (IP) and the Pro Bono Project (PBP).
The PBP requires that clients meet certain low-income guidelines, while the IP serves clients who exceed these guidelines but still cannot afford a private attorney. All clients are charged a $25 administrative fee per matter, but IP clients may be charged an additional, but still relatively modest, flat fee per matter based on their income. These fees range from $50 to $350. The SBLC’s IP clients consult with Lewis & Clark law students who are closely supervised by a clinical law professor. PBP clients consult with attorneys who are working on a pro bono basis. The PBP is the only coordinated opportunity in Oregon for business transactional attorneys to provide pro bono services.
Lewis and Clark Law School
310 SW Fourth Avenue, Suite 1000
Portland, OR 97204
St. Andrew Legal Clinic
St. Andrew Legal Clinic addresses the family law needs of the Portland, Oregon working poor and is dedicated to providing security for children, support to women in crisis, and justice for families. Clinic clients receive quality representation for child support, child custody, divorce, guardianship, spousal support, visitation, step-parent adoption and domestic abuse prevention. Since most clients do not qualify for legal aid and cannot afford to hire private counsel, the clinic charges clients a sliding scale fee that considers family size, complexities of the case and ability to pay. Requiring a fee for service ensures that clients have a voice in their own legal representation.
St. Andrew Legal Clinic
807 NE Alberta Street
Portland, OR 97211
503/281-1500 Ext. 24
Access to Justice Program
Chester County (PA) Bar Association
The Chester County Bar Association began the Access to Justice Program in July 2004. The program targets those who fall into the gap by making too much money to qualify for legal aid, but not enough to afford private full-serve representation. In the past, the bar sponsored a reduced fee program and attempted to serve the “working poor” by limiting fees to $50 per hour. However, people were unable to afford services at that cost. Legal aid accepts clients with incomes up to 125 percent of poverty guidelines, which would be $11,638 per year for an individual and $23,563 for a family of four. The Access to Justice Program serves those who make up to 187.5 percent of the poverty guidelines, or $17,456 for an individual and $35,344 for a family of four. The bar recruits and provides volunteer services for those who fall below these limits.
Chester County Bar Association
15 West Gay Street
West Chester, PA 19380
(formerly Senior Citizen’s Judicare Project)
For more than 20 years, the SeniorLaw Center has been dedicated to meeting the legal needs of the elderly living on limited incomes in Philadelphia. SeniorLaw Center provides legal representation and counsel, community education, outreach and advocacy for Philadelphia’s senior citizens, through the energies of its legal staff and panel of approximately 100 practitioners. Since its founding in 1978, SeniorLaw Center has provided free legal services to more than 26,000 needy seniors, educated more than 65,000 seniors through community-based education, and assisted over 100,000 seniors by providing advice, information and referral services. SeniorLaw Center employs a model that combines fixed fee and pro bono legal services of local attorneys. Through its multi-faceted approach, which includes direct legal services, extensive community legal education, professional training and advocacy, SeniorLaw Center and its panel attorneys work to safeguard and defend the legal rights of the elderly. The program focuses its efforts on the most severe recurring legal problems of the elderly, including housing, elder abuse and financial exploitation, consumer protection, grandparent custody and visitation, and end-of-life issues. SeniorLaw Center holds workshops for elders as well as training sessions for other professionals working with the aging population to help bolster their efforts to prevent, recognize and terminate exploitation, abuse, victimization and fraud of the elderly.
Land Title Building
100 S. Broad Street
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19110
The Rhode Island Bar Association's Legal Information & Referral Service for the Elderly/Reduced Fee Services & Programming
The primary objective of the Legal Information & Referral Service for the Elderly is to make legal services readily available to senior citizens ages sixty and over. Last year alone over 1,500 elderly clients, the majority moderate income, contacted the Elderly Referral Service for help. For those elderly citizens who needed further legal services lawyer members provided reduced fee representation in the areas of income maintenance, consumer finance, civil, criminal, real estate and family law. Lawyers participating in the reduced fee service for the elderly agree to provide the initial consultation at no charge and to charge a fee that does not exceed $25 per hour if the client needs further legal service. Outreach programming includes, "Ask a Lawyer" and "Legal Clinic" programs, celebration of May as Older Americans' Month and Law Day with team presentations and the Senior Citizens Handbook, Taking Care of Business.
Legal Information and Referral Service for the Elderly
115 Cedar Street
Providence, RI 02903
The People’s Law School
The Center for Consumer Law
University of Houston Law School
The Center for Consumer Law was founded in 1983, by Professor Richard Alderman, to help educate individuals about their rights as consumers and to help foster the practice and teaching of consumer law. The People’s Law School was established 15 years ago as a Center program to enhance the public’s knowledge of law and the legal system. The People’s Law School has had nearly 25,000 "students" taking classes throughout the state on subjects such as consumer law, wills, small claims court and law on the Internet. Volunteer lawyers, judges or law professors teach each topic. "Students" of the People’s Law School receive materials including the book "Knowing Your Rights! Answers to Texas’ Everyday Legal Questions." The Center is expanding beyond the core curriculum and is developing courses on narrower topics, including "The People’s Law School Goes to Work," which addresses employment law.
University of Houston Law Center
100 Law Center
Houston, TX 77204
Southeast Texas Legal Clinic
The Southeast Texas Legal Clinic is a legal clinic in the Houston area providing services to HIV infected and affected individuals. Its work plan goes beyond attaining the goals outlined in various grants. It focuses on eliminating barriers to service created by location, culture, language and ignorance. With the full funding of the Legal Clinic in April, 1994, it has provided services to approximately 225 persons. The Legal Clinic has set up various sub-sites in the other HIV-service providers' offices throughout 11 county service delivery area. The Legal Clinic has staff lawyers and an internship program with Texas Southern University, Thurgood Marshall School of Law.
Southeast Texas Legal Clinic
3400 Montrose Ste. 233
Houston, TX 77006
San Antonio Community Law Center
The Law Center was founded by Brother William Dooling, a member of the Congregation of the Holy Cross, and David C. Lopez, a San Antonio native. The two Harvard classmates submitted a proposal to Patrick Florez, the Archbishop of the Catholic Diocese in San Antonio, who agreed to donate start-up costs and agreed to serve as the chairman of the Center's board of advisors. Another religious order contributed, the founders' Harvard classmates donated and the Texas Equal Access to Justice Foundation awarded the center funds through the IOLTA program. The center operates on a sliding fee schedule and requires that the clients submit an affidavit that their case has been rejected by other lawyers.
San Antonio Community Law Center
322 W Woodlawn Ave # 3
San Antonio, TX 78212
The Community Justice Program (CJP) is a collaborative effort by the San Antonio Bar Association and Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA) to provide free legal services to individuals who may not otherwise have access to the legal system. The mission of the CJP is to support legal representation for low-income and working poor middle class residents of the San Antonio area. A closely related purpose is to provide local attorneys with the opportunity to engage in pro bono work within an efficient clinic setting. TRLA prescreens clients to determine their eligibility. The CJP holds the Family Law Clinics to provide complete representation for uncontested civil matters (mostly simple divorces) with volunteer attorneys, mentors, clerks, notaries, translators, paralegals, law students and judges. The clinics at St. Mary’s University School of Law Center for Legal & Social Justice provide wills and ancillary documents. The CJP also holds a Wills Clinic for Habitat for Humanity homeowners. San Antonio is known as Military City, USA and has the second largest population of veterans in Texas and our Veterans Clinic at the Audie L. Murphy Veterans Hospital serves veterans and their spouses with advice and will preparation.
Law Office of Virginia Sudbury
The Law Office of Virginia Sudbury (LOVS) provides" unbundled" (limited scope) family law legal services to the middleclass. This approach leads directly to empowerment of clients, lowered costs, and coordinated solutions with existing services. LOVS, one of the first law firms in the Salt Lake City area to actively offer unbundled services, provides an innovative fee scale allowing clients to choose the services needed and "construct" their case strategy, depending upon their legal needs and their budget. LOVS follows standard, easily replicated intake and assessment protocols and forms to insure that each client receives services distinctly tailored to his or her needs.
Law Office of Virginia Sudbury
3440 S 1300 E
Salt Lake City, UT 84106
Open Legal Services
Open Legal Services is a nonprofit law firm for clients with moderate income. Their mission is to serve clients who earn too much to qualify for pro-bono, but also cannot afford a traditional private firm. Open Legal Services offers family law, crimial defense, and private guardian ad litem services. Depending on income and family size, prices range between $60-145 per hour.
Open Legal Services
66 East Exchange Place
Salt Lake City, UT 84111
The Senior Lawyer Volunteer Project of Utah Legal Services
The Senior Lawyer Volunteer Project (SLVP) is an estate planning pro bono legal services program for low-income Utah residents. Since April 1993, SLVP has utilized twelve retired or semi-retired lawyers to provide free wills, health-care directives, and simple estate planning services to socially and economically needy clients, addressing unmet legal needs. As the project has developed and become a part of the network for the aging in Utah, it has provided increased assistance with planning for incapacity, powers of attorney, property transfers, and financial exploitation and physical abuse of the elderly. The privately funded project, while essentially self-contained, is affiliated with Utah Legal Services (ULS) and shares their offices, computer network and telephone system. ULS also provides the SLVP with professional liability coverage, CLE training opportunities, part-time secretarial services, access to its library and staff lawyers, and a part-time lawyer who serves as the SLVP coordinator. The coordinator screens all applications and responds to 50 calls a week. SLVP is in the process of training volunteer lawyers to speak to community groups about living wills, special powers of attorney, and healthcare directives.
Utah Legal Services
Senior Lawyer Volunteer Project
205 North 400 West
Salt Lake City, Utah 84103
Have Justice Will Travel
Have Justice Will Travel is a non-profit organization whose mission is to stop the generational cycle of abuse in rural American families by making a difference in the lives of women and children who are victims of family violence by bridging the legal, cultural, psychological, geographical, and economic gaps that exist for victims. Have Justice Will Travel provides legal services within Vermont, offering in-home consultations, transportation to and from court hearings and free legal services to domestic violence victims. In addition, Have Justice Will Travel also provides victims with social services. These services include assisting victims with income and budget expenses, helping them apply for mortgage and car loans, filling out welfare forms and applying for subsidized housing.
Have Justice Will Travel
9580 Vermont Route 113
Vershire, VT 05079
Hunton & Williams' commitment to pro bono legal service is embodied by the firm's entirely separate and self-contained pro bono office in the Church Hill area of Richmond, Virginia, the oldest and one of the poorest neighborhoods of the city. The office was founded in June 1990 and serves the working poor throughout the city. Through it, the firm provides legal representation for basic family, guardianship and housing problems at an affordable cost to people whose incomes are too large to make them eligible for legal aid, yet too small to hire a private lawyer. During the Church Hill office's first year in operation, ten volunteer lawyers handled 120 cases and recorded more than 1,200 hours. Each subsequent year, the number of cases and the number of volunteers have increased dramatically. As of late 1994, there were more than 40 volunteers. The office has become a model for 38 projects across the country.
Hunton & Williams LLP
2300 East Marshall Street
Richmond, VA 23223
A partnership between William & Mary Law School's Lewis B. Puller, Jr.
Veterans Benefits Clinic and Starbucks’ Armed Forces Network
Through the Military Mondays program, professors and students from the Puller Clinic provide advice and counsel twice monthly at a local Starbucks to veterans seeking assistance with disability compensation claims, discharge upgrades and separation from service. During this “legal triage” they help decipher decisions, share resources, advise next steps, help with form completion for claims and appeals and answer questions. During a recent afternoon they met with a terminally ill Vietnam veteran who had been awarded a Bronze star for his service. Before being able to meet with him again, he ended up in the hospital. Frantic steps were taken to ensure that he signed the forms necessary to continue his claims in the event of his death, and when he passed away days later, his claims were preserved for his widow. Approximately 25% of the time, the professors and students undertake longer-term representation and often provide follow-up research. There is now a Military Mondays in California, and there are others being planned in Arizona, Missouri, D.C., New York, Ohio and Florida, with additional interest growing, and a variety of legal services to be offered.
Avvo Advisor delivers on-demand legal advice from lawyers to consumers via a 15-minute phone call, for a fixed fee, accessible online or via an iOS app. Consumers purchase an Advisor session and select the practice area in which they need legal help – such as small business or divorce – and within 15 minutes an attorney in the area will call them back. Callers are prompted to have their documents prepared, write down their questions, and be ready to take notes before they opt to check out. Attorneys participating in Avvo Advisor then receive a text notification when a consumer in their area has purchased an Advisor session within their legal category, and have the option to claim the consumers’ session before the two parties are connected over the phone. At the end of the 15-minute session, the two parties can swap contact information if they wish to continue working together. Avvo Advisor is currently available in fifteen states.
705 5th Avenue South, Suite 600
Seattle, WA 98112
Centro Legal is a non-profit law firm serving individuals who need legal assistance with family law or criminal misdemeanor defense cases. Through grants and other donors, Centro Legal provides free family law representation to domestic violence survivors, which includes child support, custody, placement and divorce matters. Other family law services and criminal defense services are provided on a sliding scale, based upon client income and household size, with all clients living below 300% of the federal poverty guidelines. In addition to direct representation, Centro Legal offers free family law and criminal defense consultations on Wednesday afternoons to help clients fill out appropriate forms and proceed pro se. In addition, Centro Legal offers family law classes for many community partners to help dispel legal myths and provide general guidance in family matters.
611 W. National Ave, Suite 103
Milwaukee, WI 53204
Community Justice Inc.
Community Justice Inc. is a non-profit law firm that provides a range of individual legal services to those with low and moderate incomes. Clients are those who earn too much to qualify for legal aid, but lack the resources for lawyers who charge market rates. Clients may not have family incomes above 300 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. The clinic is supported by client fees and donations from a variety of sources. In addition to direct representation, the clinic works collaboratively with social service providers, courts, bar associations, practitioners and clinical programs to develop innovative programs to deliver legal services and information.
Community Justice Inc.
222 S. Hamilton Street, Suite 22
Madison, WI 53703
Small Claims Assistance Program
The Small Claims Assistance Program is the result of a collaborative effort between the Dane County Legal Resource Center and the Dane County Bar Association to provide support to the increasing number of pro se litigants. The program offers weekly clinics at the Dane County Courthouse. Volunteers assist with the completion of small claims forms, procedural questions, and offer general information about small claims legal issues. Examples of questions from program participants include how to get security deposits back from landlords, or how to make a consumer complaint and start a small claims action. The program is staffed by trained, volunteer attorneys and paralegals. In addition to the weekly clinics, program volunteers have assisted in drafting informational brochures and booklets, specific to Dane County procedures and resources.
Dane County Courthouse
Dane County Legal Resource Center
215 S Hamilton Street
Madison, WI 53703
Law Help Ontario
Law Help Ontario is a self-help center, based at the Superior Court of Justice in Toronto, Ontario, that provides brief services to help litigants meet specific goals and navigate through the justice system. Furthermore, Law Help Ontario intentionally serves Ontarians who earn too much to qualify for legal aid. Its income eligibility guidelines are 200% of legal aid’s, and a significant portion of its resources are available on the project website to all users. Services available through LHO include self-help procedural and substantive materials; public use computers and automated document assembly software to help litigants prepare their own court forms and pleadings; summary legal advice and duty counsel representation; resources, including Live Chatting, on the project website: www.lawhelpontario.org; and referrals to Ontario’s Lawyer Referral Service and Mediation Projects.
Pro Bono Law Ontario
258 Adelaide Street E, Suite 200
Toronto, Ontario M5A1N1
Thistoo – Your Personal Divorce Assistant
Thistoo is a tool that aims to help self-represented litigants and users of the family law system minimize the amount of money they spend on their separation and divorce. Thistoo generates custom separation agreements, managing the entire process, and provides valuable big data case insights. Planning and organizing tools are free, and other products and services are all available individually on an unbundled basis or via a flat monthly rate. All of the users are encouraged to seek independent legal advice.