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Applying for Help and Working with Your Lawyer: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions.

I want to know answers to frequently asked questions about applying for legal help and working with your lawyer.

This page has answers to questions people commonly have when applying for legal help and working with their lawyer. 

 Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

  • Q: How do I apply for free legal help?

    A: Most organizations accept applications over the phone. Some organizations have online or even in-person applications. Each organization is different. Each entry in our Legal Help Finder will let you know how to apply for each organization.

    Legal Help Finder


  • Q: What if I have an emergency or urgent upcoming deadline?

    A: If your case is an emergency and/or involves deadlines or a court date within the week or two weeks make sure to let the staff person know over the phone or list it in the application so the organization can mark it as urgent and get back to you in time. 

    Note:  If you are in imminent danger and need immediate help call 911. Click here for safety planning to help you stay safe. 


  • Q: What steps should I follow when applying for help?

    A: Please click the link below for steps to follow when applying for help from a legal aid organization.

    Step by Step



    Q: How long will it take for the organization to let me know whether or not they accepted my case?

     A: Due to high demand and limited funding it may take legal aid a while to get back to you. This can be anywhere from a few days to a few weeks depending on the organization. The organization has not forgotten about your case, but is trying to respond to a high call volume. You can call back if an urgent deadline comes up in your case to inform the organization. Once the organization has made a determination of what services they are able to provide they will call you back. 



    Q: If I qualify for legal help, does that mean an organization will accept my case?

     A: No.  Even if you qualify that does not mean the organization will take your case. Due to limited budgets, legal aid is only able to help about 2 out of every 10 persons that apply for free legal help. 


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    Q: If my case is accepted, what are some tips on working with my lawyer?

     A:  Once you sign the representation agreement, to work best with your lawyer you should:

    • Follow the instructions the lawyer gives you.
    • Reply promptly to any requests for information from the lawyer.
    • Tell the lawyer the complete truth. Remember, a lawyer is only able to help if they know all the facts. This is especially true for those facts that might hurt your case. 
    • Set a time each week to get a quick (5 minute) case update with the lawyer. Legal aid lawyers have large case loads, so it might take them a while to get back to you, while they handle your case. Setting a time each week to quickly discuss your case will keep you up-to-date and keep the lawyer on track. 



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