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FREE Legal Resources

I think that pro bono legal aid is perhaps more difficult to find than almost anything else in this country, except perhaps, FREE medical care.  But here are six resources where you can find FREE legal aid and assistance.

It’s tricky, because each state has its own laws.  But these organizations can help guide you to the resources available in your area.  (The other option is to Google your local Legal Aid office.)

Epilepsy Foundation Attorney Resources — The Jeanne A. Carpenter Epilepsy Legal Defense Fund coordinates and supports a network of attorneys who have agreed to provide services, pro bono, for a set number of hours, and to consider, if appropriate, representing the individual on a pro bono, sliding scale or contingency fee basis.  In addition, they access to a national database of legal and scientific articles about epilepsy and related legal issues.  http://www.epilepsyfoundation.org/epilepsylegal/attyresources.cfm

American Bar Association (ABA) — Although the ABA cannot help you directly, there are many people out there who can. This site will guide you to a list of resources in your state. Most legal issues are regulated by the law in the state where you live, or where the problem occurred.  Simply click on a state (or Canada) to find free legal help in that state.  http://www.abanet.org/legalservices/findlegalhelp/home.cfm?gnav=global_publicresources_findlegalhelp   And for an explanation of how finding free services works, go to: http://www.abanet.org/legalservices/findlegalhelp/faq_freehelp.cfm#probono

LawHelp – “is your gateway to America’s nonprofit legal aid providers.”  They help low and moderate income people find free legal aid programs in their communities, and answers to questions about their legal rights.  For free legal aid referrals and information, choose your state and click on it.  http://www.lawhelp.org/

Legal Services Corporation (LSC) – is the single largest provider of civil legal aid for the poor in the nation.  LSC distributes more than 95 percent of its total funding to 136 independent nonprofit legal aid programs with more than 900 offices that provide legal assistance to low-income individuals and families throughout the nationhttp://www.lsc.gov/about/factsheet_whatislsc.php#backtotop   For a map of where LSC services are available, click on http://www.lsc.gov/map/index.php

The National Center for Law and Economic Justice recruits major law firms to act as pro bono co-counsel. They ask civil rights, civil liberties, women’s rights, disability rights, and immigrants’ rights organizations and other legal advocacy organizations, to co-counsel with them.  http://www.nclej.org/about.php

Lawyers.com — provides inexpensive pro bono legal help with programs manned by local attorneys who’ve agreed to provide free legal representation to those who qualify, either because of income or circumstances.  Programs are also available for people who earn too much to qualify for legal services or pro bono programs, but don’t make enough to hire an attorney at traditional rates.  http://research.lawyers.com/When-You-Cant-Afford-a-Lawyer.html

Phylis Feiner Johnson    www.epilepsytalk.com