“No community thrives when people are homeless, children are out of school or families experience violence. The help legal aid programs provide keeps faith with one of America’s core values – equal access to justice – and changes the lives of low-income people every day.”
Chief Justice Bernette J. Johnson
“Sometimes legal aid is the only thing standing between a family’s ability to be self-sufficient and poverty. For many Louisiana citizens facing crisis, an effective and powerful response must include civil legal aid.”
Hon. Wendell Manning
2014-15 LBF President
“As lawyers, we swore an oath to never reject, from any consideration personal to ourselves, the cause of the defenseless or oppressed or delay any person’s cause for monetary gain or malice. I believe that oath places upon all lawyers, as a profession, the obligation to not only care about civil legal aid, but to actively do something about it.”
Leo C. Hamilton
2013-14 LBF President
“Civil legal aid is an absolutely essential element of fulfilling what we say when we recite the Pledge of Allegiance and confirm our dedication to liberty and justice for all. If we fail to assure access to justice for all, we have failed in the American dream. Let’s work together to assure that dream is not lost.”
Richard K. Leefe
2013-14 LSBA President

What is Civil Legal Aid?

Legal aid helps people solve critical, life changing problems:

  • Women who are victims of domestic violence
  • Children who need a stable home or special education
  • Elderly whose economic security or health care is in jeopardy
  • Consumers impacted by improper lending practices
  • Workers denied lawful wages and benefits
  • Disabled people denied opportunities
  • Immigrants who work the lowest-wage jobs without benefits or contracts
  • Communities devastated by natural disasters

Civil legal aid is free legal advice, representation or other legal assistance provided to low-income and vulnerable people who cannot otherwise afford legal help. Services can be as simple as educating clients about their rights and responsibilities and giving advice. Complex problems may require more extensive attorney representation. For clients, these services mean the difference between staying in a home and living on the street; between a safe family and a life of fear and violence; between getting paid earned wages and having nothing to eat. Without legal help, even relatively minor problems can escalate. Often the failure to resolve these issues can tear families apart or drive them further into poverty.

Unlike the criminal justice system, people with civil legal problems are not guaranteed an attorney. From the abused woman seeking safety for herself and her children, to the elderly woman unlawfully evicted from her home, legal aid exists to ensure that all Americans have access to our civil justice system.