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If you cannot afford a lawyer, legal aid may be able to help you:
There are legal aid offices (also called legal services) throughout the United States. Legal aid offices are not-for-profit agencies that provide free legal help to people who cannot afford to hire a lawyer. While many legal aid offices only help people with very low incomes, some offices have more flexible income rules.
Legal aid usually handles cases involving:
Many legal aid offices may be able to handle other problems including immigration, consumer, and disability issues. Some legal aid offices focus on one area of law, such as disability law, or housing law. Some legal aid offices get funding from the government and that may limit the kind of cases they can take.
To find a legal aid office near you: Go to www.LawHelp.organd select the state where you live to find out who in your state may be able to help with your legal problem.
I do not have legal immigration status. Can legal aid help me?
Each legal aid office has its own rules about who qualifies for its services. However, if you are a victim of a violent crime or domestic violence, legal aid can help you in any case that helps protect you from the domestic violence or abuse even if you do not have legal immigration status. If you are a victim of domestic violence, legal aid may also file an immigration application on your behalf. Some legal aid offices specialize in a wide range of immigration law issues. Go to www.LawHelp.orgfor information about the rules for the legal aid offices in your area.
Are there cases that legal aid does not handle?
Civil legal aid does not handle cases for money damages such as medical malpractice, or car accident cases or traffic violation cases or criminal cases. (For the difference between civil and criminal issues, see The Differences between Criminal Court and Civil Court).
What can I expect from a legal aid lawyer?
Legal aid lawyers have the same qualifications as other lawyers. Everything you say to your lawyer is confidential, which means that it is not shared with anyone outside of the legal aid office. Since everything you say to your lawyer is confidential, tell your lawyer the truth. Your lawyer can help you best when you tell your lawyer the truth.
I do not qualify for legal aid, where else can I go for help?
You can also ask your local bar association if they have any of the following free services for people needing legal help:
To contact the bar association in your area, visit the ABA's site.
For More Information
Looking for more information on this topic? Visit LawHelp.org and select your state to find other self-help resources and information about free and low-cost legal aid providers in your area.
About this Guide
This guide was created by the Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York in partnership with the New York LawHelp Consortium and Pro Bono Net, with support from the Legal Services Corporation Technology Initiative Grant program.
This guide was prepared for general information purposes only. The information it contains is not legal advice. Legal advice is dependent upon the specific circumstances of each situation. Also, the law may vary from state to state. Some information in this guide may not be correct for your state. To find local resources, visit LawHelp.org and select your state.