Legal Aid and Volunteer Legal Services

There is help for those who cannot afford traditional legal services.  Beyond the other low-cost options many attorneys offer (flat fee, limited scope, etc.) there are more low-cost options.  Some parties cannot afford traditional attorney representation or a choice is made that funds would be better used somewhere else other than traditional attorney representation.

Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid, AKA “Legal Aid” is an organization to help those who cannot afford traditional attorney-client representation.  Their focus is on victims of family violence or in dire need of help due to unfortunate circumstances.  Legal Aid’s website had information on applying for assistance as well as general information.  They can do phone screenings as well if you call 1-888-988-9996.  The best time to call is in the morning starting at 8:30am.  There is a huge demand for their services so be patient if the line is busy or goes unanswered.  Call back or go online to start the screening process.

Many will not qualify for Legal Aid’s free assistance.  There are other options in the Central Texas area.  One option is Volunteer Legal Services (VLS).  They offer in-person clinics to help those dealing with a variety of issues, from family law, civil cases, and evictions.  They cannot help with criminal, immigration, or contested probate cases.  They do not take calls or answer questions at their offices.  You must sign up for a clinic and attend in person.  Here is a link to their website with information on the days and locations of the clinics in the Austin area.  Local volunteer attorneys are there at the clinics to consult with you for a limited period of time.  Have your case documents with you and be ready to take notes during the short time you have with the attorney.

The Travis County Law Library, located in downtown Austin, is another resource.  They have librarians who can point you in the right direction for various forms as well as help with research topics. This is a good second-step after consulting with attorneys or other legal experts to determine the issues of your case.

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