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.