When it comes to understanding your legal rights, you may be wondering if your attorney can help. In civil or non-criminal cases, you are not entitled to a free lawyer. However, there are many legal aid and pro bono programs that provide free legal aid to those with low incomes. These programs generally help people whose incomes are less than 125 percent of the federal poverty level, although in some cases they help people whose incomes are slightly higher.
Unfortunately, these community programs usually operate on very small budgets and don't have enough resources to serve all eligible people. As a result, they only deal with certain types of cases and must turn away many people who apply for help. Legal aid offices (also called legal services) are non-profit agencies that provide free legal help to those who cannot afford to hire an attorney. While many legal aid offices only help people with very low incomes, some offices have more flexible income rules.
In addition to providing free legal assistance, many legal aid offices also offer self-help resources that can help you get started. The American Bar Association (ABA) Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service recognizes individual lawyers, law firms, corporate law departments, and other legal groups that have provided extraordinary free services through ABA Free Legal Answers. The firm's generous contributions include strategic leadership, technology and web development services, annual financial contributions, and volunteer lawyers to provide brief legal advice to clients from the start. Your gift will allow low-income citizens to get answers to their legal questions from pro bono volunteer lawyers licensed in their state. Pension Rights Center is another great resource for those seeking free legal help if they have problems with their pension plans, profit sharing, or savings for retirement.
In a business law section, the podcast To The Extent That features Judge Stong interviewing Buck Lewis about the ABA Free Legal Answers project. It's important to note that civil legal aid does not deal with cases of monetary damages, such as medical negligence, car accident cases, or cases of traffic violations or criminal cases. However, there are comprehensive legal documents available online that can help protect your rights in housing, family law, debt collection and many other types of issues. Read the news about ABA Free Legal Answers, which gives users with eligible incomes the ability to pose civil legal questions to volunteer lawyers. LawHelp's immigration legal help portal is another great resource for all immigrants regardless of their status. Lawyers provide basic legal information and advice without any expectation of long-term representation.
Volunteer lawyers can answer your questions outside of regular business hours without needing to attend a clinic or visit a legal aid office. If you need help making health care decisions for a loved one, including the approaches you can take, the problems you might face, and the questions you can ask to help you prepare, there are resources available online as well. When a court decides that a person is indigent (with few assets and no funds to pay an attorney), generally the court will appoint a private lawyer and be paid with county funds or a public defense program will be designated to represent the person. The United States Bar Association also offers free legal answers online for those with low incomes who need assistance. This site allows people to ask questions online and have a lawyer answer them.