CourtReference: Your Guide to Free Legal Help

Are you experiencing legal trouble and unsure of how to proceed? Do you need a lawyer but think you cannot afford one? You might be surprised at the number of free or low-cost legal services available in your state and how easy it is to find them through CourtReference.

Legal aid and legal referral services may be offered by state government, county government, or private organizations. Some agencies offer general legal services, such as help with most non-criminal matters. Others offer specialized services for a group of people, such as senior citizens or victims of domestic violence, or a particular kind of case, such as landlord-tenant disputes or homeowners facing foreclosure.

These organizations may be staffed by volunteer lawyers who can sit down with you in-person, or by non-lawyers who can provide legal information, such as what your rights are and how to fill out forms. Many organizations provide free legal information and guides on their websites and offer free hotlines where you can call in and ask questions.

For example, in West Virginia, there is a legal aid organization that provides no-cost help to any state resident aged 60 or older on a variety of legal topics. Seniors can receive free legal advice and guidance over the phone without having to travel to the organization’s office. If a caller does end up needing legal representation, the organization will try to refer him or her to a local attorney who provides free services. West Virginia is not alone in offering specialized services to senior citizens. The states of Maryland and Georgia, and San Diego County, California are among others that offer services specifically for seniors.

In King County, Washington, the county bar association provides a free service called Neighborhood Legal Clinics to county residents, regardless of income level. By making an appointment, you can spend 30 minutes with an attorney and get help with civil law matters, including divorce, bankruptcy, immigration, consumer disputes, and wills. You pay nothing for this 30 minute meeting.

The bar associations of many states offer lawyer referral services, so if you do not qualify for free services, or none are available in your area, you may be able to at least get some help finding an attorney, often with a low-cost initial meeting. See our blog post on this topic for more information.

Before contacting one of these organizations or referral services, get all of your papers related to the legal issue in one place, especially if you have received any papers from the court. Write down a list of questions ahead of time so you make sure that all of your concerns get addressed. If possible, have a clear idea of what your goals are in seeking legal assistance. The more organized you are before you call, the easier it will be to get help.

Getting help for your legal troubles may be just a few clicks away. Visit CourtReference, select your state, then select “Legal Aid, Lawyer Referral” under the “Choose a Court Resource Category” menu. Look for statewide resources that handle you legal issue, and scroll down to look for your particular county to see what local resources may also be available. Let CourtReference’s Legal Aid, Lawyer Referral guide get you started on finding the legal answers and assistance you need.

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