Most people will get into a legal dispute at some point. Some individuals will have a dispute with their landlords, while others will engage in disputes over eminent domain, police procedure, copyright or other problems. In these cases, a plaintiff may not be able to afford counsel, and a defendant may be indigent. Communities that have strong community legal services program circumvent this.
A community legal services system is great for those with grounds for a dispute who cannot afford counsel. Typically, what will happen is that the person injured in a dispute will seek a community legal services center, like the community legal services Philadelphia and other cities offer, and have them review the complaint. Admittedly, some are frivolous, but everyone is entitled to a fair hearing. Once the community legal services center determine there are grounds for a case, the case moves forward.
When the case moves forward, a community legal services representative acts as an advocate. At the bear minimum, they can educate you on the law and how it applies to your situation. They also often know each of the actors in a legal system, and can take action accordingly.
How do community legal services afford themselves? Some are community legal services incorporated, and receive funding from the state or municipality. Others are part of a community legal services directory of private attorneys who take on pro bono work. Whatever the situation, these lawyers are trained to represent you.
So the next time you have a dispute with someone, and wish to file a complaint, have a community legal services representative look it over. Not only can they look at each complaint, but they can determine if it has grounds for a case, and can act as your advocate. Many are free services, so what do you have to lose?