Get Pro Bono Legal Help
Sometimes you need legal help right away and you may not be able to afford it. There are legal agencies throughout the United States that have access to affordable lawyers who can help you with your case. Most legal aid cases deal with issues like housing, domestic violence, family law (such as custody cases), or public benefits (such as being denied Social Security).
Some legal assistance agencies also deal with immigration issues, consumer law, disability law, and other types of cases. Larger legal aid agencies may have entire departments devoted to one type of law or another. If your legal aid office gets funding from the government, they may be limited as to what types of cases they can handle. Legal aid, also referred to as Pro Bono legal aid or pro bono legal services, can be as in depth as full in person representation and legal counsel, or as simple as assistance in drafting legal documents and initial legal advice. Whatever the level of legal aid you need, there are pro bono options available. Unfortunately, not everyone will qualify for legal aid or pro bono legal services.
How Do You Qualify for Pro Bono Legal Counsel?
According to Findlaw.com, whether or not you qualify for pro bono legal counsel will depend on your health status, financial status, safety, location, and whether or not you have a criminal or civil issue to take care of. These are all aspects of your life that you will need to share with the attorney you are hoping to hire, or their law firm. Most law firms have their own set of qualifications that prospective pro bono clients need to meet in addition to those above. Some attorneys and law firms will only take your case pro bono if there is precedent to win your case.
An attorney at an aid agency may also be able to help you determine what kind of fees for which you may be responsible for and how to pay them. In some cases, you may be responsible for filing fees, mediation, witness fees, or appeal fees. Your aid attorney may be able to help you get those fees waived. Some lawyers and legal offices will offer monthly or yearly payment plans, to help avoid a large one time payment that could harm you financially. Some law firms have pro bono divisions with reserves of funds to help pay these fees and go forward with the case with little to no cost to you.
When you go to a law agency, you need to be honest about both your situation and the case. Concealing any information could reduce your chances of a positive outcome.. Everything you say to an attorney at a legal agency or law firm should be treated as confidential. You can ask for confirmation that this is the case during any initial consultation. Always tell your lawyer the truth about your issue.
You can also find pro bono legal counsel at law clinics usually associated with universities, your local bar association, or other public service agencies. If you find that your local legal agencies are unable to help you, reach out to your state assistance programs.