When you have a low income and have a legal problem, it can be intimidating to know how to go about seeking legal advice. If you’ve been charged with a criminal offense, the court can appoint an attorney for you free of charge in the United States. However, in civil cases, you’ll need someone to represent you to ensure the best outcomes in your legal situation. If you need free legal advice, have a legal question, or need a volunteer lawyer to represent you, read on for some things to consider.
Nearly all lawyers offer a free initial consultation. It’s during this time that you can get some basic free advice from a lawyer about your case. While, in most cases, that free legal help won’t extend beyond your initial consultation, it can be a great way to know where to start, if you have a situation that warrants a lawsuit, and more. For some people, meeting with a lawyer is a great way to know if they need to hire an attorney or if they can handle court papers themselves, depending on how serious their legal matter is.
Free Legal Services
It might be easier than you think to get a referral for free legal help. If you live in the United States and are low-income, consider calling 211 and asking for legal aid in your area. If you’ve already met with an attorney for a free consultation and are sure you need legal help, working with a legal aid lawyer is a good idea for people who are low-income. These lawyers can work with you on a sliding scale basis based upon your income level and sometimes free of charge.
Depending on the type of legal problem you have, you could also be appointed a free lawyer in a criminal case. In the United States, for example, courts can take a look at your income and appoint a lawyer to represent you if you’re being charged with a crime. Take advantage of any free appointments and follow your lawyer’s advice to give yourself the best odds of winning your case.
Pro Bono Cases
Some lawyers will take on a case for free if they have a vested interest. Perhaps you’ve been discriminated against and need a lawyer to represent you in a disability case of discrimination by an employer or governmental agency. In a case like this, you might be able to get free legal representation from a law firm specializing in human rights. If you believe you have a case lawyers might be interested in, contact legal aid organizations in your area or reach out to a volunteer lawyer program.
Court-appointed Special Advocates
In cases of family law where children are involved, American courts offer a program called CASA. This nationwide program means the court can appoint a free guardian to advocate for a child’s needs. While this attorney won’t represent you directly, knowing your child has someone in their corner could be a good way to get the law help you need.
In the end, if you have a civil matter and need free help, do what you can to advocate for yourself by calling around. If you’re in need of free legal services, lawyers in your area may be able to refer you to someone who can help or even point you in the direction of self-help services.
No matter what your legal situation, it’s important to remember that we all have legal rights in first-world countries. Exploring your options for great representation is always a good idea. Best of luck to you with your legal issue, and be sure to take care of yourself as you seek free legal answers and more.