Many people think that legal services usually come at a very high cost. For some cases, this may be true. However, there are various cases where you can access the legal services at a very low cost or even free of charge. This includes the legal services that are offered by law firms, the government, and law schools. Some of the common types of legal services that are offered free are explained below.
Types of free legal services
When you are arrested and charged with a crime, you will need to get some legal representation to help you with your case. If you do not have enough money to hire the legal representation on your own, you can opt to use your right of having free legal services for your trial. In most of such cases, a judge will appoint an attorney from the office of a public defender. The attorney will work with you for the entire duration that your criminal case will last. In case you lose the case, the public defense lawyer will still work with you on your first appeal.
Legal aid clinics
Legal aid is offered to you when you which to file a lawsuit that protects your interests, but you cannot afford a private lawyer. The legal aid attorneys and organizations usually get funds from the government. Their task is to take on cases that concern the impoverished and the poor. The funds are usually limited, meaning that the legal aid attorneys have to limit the cases that they handle. In most cases, they litigate lawsuits that involve consumer credit issues, social security benefits, denial of unemployment benefits, and eviction lawsuits. The amount of income that you earn every year may also determine whether they will take your case.
Pro bono services
Attorneys who work in firms and private practice usually use a portion of their time to handle pro bono cases. Just like the legal aid services, pro bono is offered to people who have a combined household income of less than 125% of the federal poverty level. Each pro bono program may have some exceptions to the income limit.
Law school legal clinics
Many law schools have clinics set up to offer free legal services to clients who have low incomes. Usually, the law students handle most bits of the cases, but under the supervision of an attorney. Among the main benefits of this, in addition to being free, is that the students can offer a variety of legal services which cover nearly all law practices.