Q:

How do you find out if your state has free legal aid?

A:

Quick Answer

Pro Bono Net provides information on free and low-cost legal aid resources by state through its Law Help website. In many states, legal aid organizations provide free legal services to individuals with limited means. Private attorneys also offer some pro bono services. To find out which attorneys can assist with free or low-cost services, individuals can contact their local bar association or a nearby law school.

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Full Answer

Legal aid societies are non-profit organizations that provide legal representation in civil matters to individuals who cannot afford traditional legal services. These organizations can assist in matters such as divorce, child custody, housing and public benefits. Legal aid societies typically do not provide assistance in criminal matters or in personal injury or malpractice cases. For criminal defense, each state provides the services of public defenders to anyone who cannot afford a defense attorney. For injury or malpractice cases, many attorneys provide representation on a speculative basis. If the case is successful, the attorney collects a percentage of the damages awarded to the plaintiff.

Bar associations also provide referral services to local attorneys. This service typically charges a nominal fee in order to asses the case and recommend an attorney who may be able to provide representation for low or no cost. Bar associations also offer public education workshops on various legal subjects such as estate planning and housing law. Additionally, law schools and some public service agencies provide free law clinics which can assist individuals with routine legal matters.

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