What services does Legal Aid offer?
Legal Aid provides community education, domestic violence victim’s assistance, information and referral, legal clinics, pro bono attorney referral, and pro se assistance.
Who qualifies for services?
Applicants must be a resident and have a case in the Legal Aid eight-county service area. Click here for more information. Applicants must meet financial guidelines and other case specific qualifications. You will be required to complete an application with the assistance of a client services advocate and provide follow-up financial and resource documentation. Legal Aid is not obligated to place every eligible case with a pro bono attorney referrals. In addition to financial eligibility, legal merit, and availability of volunteer attorneys may also factor into providing services.
What types of legal matters does Legal Aid assist with?
Legal Aid assists with cases involving adoptions, advanced directives, family law (child support modification, custody, divorce, and parenting time), guardianships, landlord/tenant, power of attorney, protective orders, simple wills, and small estates. Cases must involve civil matters only. Cases involving the establishment of paternity or initiation of child support must first seek services from the child support division of the local prosecuting attorney’s office.
We are unable to take pro bono referral cases with court hearings or deadlines within 30 days. This is because we work with a network of volunteer attorneys to represent our clients and it would be unlikely, if not impossible, to make a referral and prepare for a case in that time frame.
How do I apply?
Application / Intake hours are Monday and Wednesday from 10 am to 12 pm and Tuesday and Thursday from 1 pm to 3 pm. You may come to our office at the United Way Building, 1531 13th Street, G330, in Columbus or call our Application / Intake line at 812-378-0358 or 877-378-0358.
What is the application / intake process?
The application/intake process consists of completing an application either in person or by telephone with a client service advocate, providing a copy of financial resources documents, signing waivers, and providing a copy of legal documents. Please do not provide any original documents, they will not be returned.
What are my responsibilities as a client?
It is your responsibility to notify Legal Aid of any changes in your financial and living situation including income, assets, household size and composition, current address, and contact information. You must keep all appointments or reschedule / cancel within 24 hours. You are required to cooperate in the processing of your case. This includes providing true and accurate information regarding your financial circumstances and the facts of your case, staying in regular communication with Legal Aid staff, responding to requests for documentation, etc. Legal Aid can reject an application and/or close a case for failure to cooperate or if you do not fulfill your responsibilities. You will not be charged for attorney fees for the legal services, however, you are responsible for the filing fees and other expenses related to your case.
What happens when my case is referred to an attorney?
If an attorney agrees to consider your matter, Legal Aid will send you a letter with the referral attorney’s name and contact information. You must contact the volunteer attorney within 10 days of receiving the letter and identify yourself as a Legal Aid client. If you fail to contact the attorney in a timely manner, your case will be closed.
Referral to an attorney does not mean that you have been accepted as a client. After reviewing all the facts, if the attorney determines that he or she cannot continue with your case, or that your legal issue lacks merit, he or she may refer you back to Legal Aid. If an attorney determines that your legal issue lacks merit, you will not be referred to another attorney. If an attorney withdraws for other reasons, Legal Aid will make every effort to find you another attorney.
Can I get legal questions answered without applying for services?
Yes, you may participate in one of Legal Aid’s clinics and ask an attorney your legal questions. Clinics provide brief consultation and information. For more in-depth legal consultation, you must apply with Legal Aid. Please click here for this quarter's clinics list.