Did you know that, in 2012, an incredible 1,261,000 people filed a bankruptcy case in the U.S.? And this number represents only a fraction of the cases working their way through the judicial system.
Almost 50 years ago, the Supreme Court declared that anyone accused of a crime has a right to a defense lawyer, regardless of their ability to pay. Unfortunately, though, this ruling does not extend to civil legal disputes, where people often find themselves without legal representation. If you are looking for legal assistance in Philadelphia but have trouble affording pricey attorney fees, then here are three tips for finding affordable help.
1. Pro Bono Assistance
Meaning for the public good, pro bono legally describes attorneys who are willing to take on cases they will not be compensated for, or will work for at a reduced rate. This is often your best bet for getting quality legal representation for your case. If you Google search pro bono Philadelphia, for example, scrolling down will show you several options for attorney offices and pro bono organizations you can contact. Probonolawyers.org can be helpful.
2. Community Legal Services Directory
Using a directory found online or at a community center, you can look up low cost legal solutions in any city. For Philadelphia, Community Legal Services Inc. is the option you are likely to come across, and it can be found at cisphilia.org. Their website has an easy Get Help button that further links you to help for social security benefits, domestic violence, nursing homes, and much more. To qualify for help from Community Legal Services Inc., you will need to show that your income is not greater than 125% of the federal poverty line.
3. Contact Real People
Finding affordable legal help is sometimes like job applications, and it might take 30 different tries and requests before someone reaches out to help. If the above methods do not work, start sending messages, letters, or calling every lawyer you can find in Philadelphia who is qualified to handle your case type. Someone might be willing to listen, and for a reduced rate. Another option is contacting law schools. Sometimes you will be able to get in touch with qualified law students who are looking for a way to test out their knowledge in the real world.
What has your experience with community legal services Philadelphia been like? Let us know in the comments.