The United States, like many liberal democratic governments, provide a measure of legal aid to individuals who can not afford adequate legal representation.
The reason legal aid is provided is so that all people have a fair and equal right to competent represenatation in the court system, especially in cases of personal injury.
What is a Personal Injury?
Personal injury occurs where you have suffered some form of physical or or psychological injury, due to an accident that you did not cause. Essentially someone else might be legally responsible for that harm you incurred. Typically personal injuries fall under the category of a tort. Personal injury cases go through the civil court system.
Legal aid representation for civil cases is often provided by varied public interest law firms and community legal clinics. These legal aid firms sometimes have income guidelines. Additionally, depending on the cost and attorney man-hours required, there may be additional restrictions. Furthermore, certain types of cases are not accepted either due to too many potential parties or economic limitations.
Common types of cases include: denial or deprivation of government benefits, evictions, domestic violence, immigration status, and discrimination. Some legal aid organizations serve as outside counsel to small nonprofit organizations that lack in-house counsel. Funding usually comes from charities, private donors, the federal government (see below on LSC) and some local and state governments. Most typical legal aid work involves counseling, informal negotiation, and appearances in administrative hearings, as opposed to formal litigation in the courts. However, the discovery of severe or recurring injustice with a large number of victims will sometimes justify the cost of large-scale impact litigation. Education and law reform activities are also sometimes undertaken.
Typical Legal Aid Attorney Services
- Collaboration & Problem Solving
- Community Building
- Conflict Resolution
- Personal Injury Attorney
- Community Legal Education
- Community Organizing
- Legal Aid Curriculum
- Legal Aid Internships
- Legal Aid Training Network
- Popular Education
- Racial Justice
- Discrimination Cases
- Legal Aid Training
- Rental Agreements