State courts alone handle roughly 100 million cases every year.
No one wants to be involved in a court case or a legal dispute, but sometimes circumstances in life require legal action.
If you’ve found yourself in a position where you need to hire a lawyer, you might be overwhelmed by the prospects of lofty legal fees.
Let’s take a look at how to hire a lawyer with no money, so your dispute can be settled without you emptying your pockets.
1. Talk to a Local Attorney
Some lawyers will offer free consultations. Often times, these consultations will be by videoconference or phone.
While you most likely won’t leave the meeting feeling ready to act as your own counsel, you’ll still be able to have a lot of your questions answered. They also might be able to help guide you in the direction of who might be able to help you for free or for a bargain.
Some lawyers are willing to agree to a payment plan with clients. This would most likely mean that you would be expected to pay a certain amount every month until you’ve paid off the fees for their services. For the record, it is up to the individual lawyer to choose to do this, and they are not obligated or required to provide a payment plan option.
Another option is finding out if you can pay a contingency fee. This means that you only have to foot the bill if you win the case. If you win, the lawyer will get a percentage of the money you’re awarded.
If you enter a contingency agreement, the general arrangement is that you don’t owe lawyer fees if you lose the case. You should be aware, however, that sometimes there are expenses you’re expected to cover even if the case is lost, so make sure to understand what you might be responsible for from the start.
You might also consider hiring a younger lawyer. They likely have fewer clients, so they’ll be able to devote more time to your case. They also might charge less because they don’t have as much experience.
If you’re looking for a lawyer after an auto accident, find out more here.
2. Visit a Law School
One way to hire a lawyer when you’re on a budget is to consider hiring an up-and-coming attorney.
There are many law schools throughout the country that have pro bono programs. In these programs, law students can offer legal advice for free. Some law schools that have this type of program are Arizona State University, American University, Tulane University, Howard University, and the Appalachian School of Law.
If there’s a university in your area with a law school, it could be worth taking a look. Visit their website to see if they mention a clinic program offering free legal services. That being said, the pandemic shutdowns could complicate your ability to find such a program.
3. Look to Legal Aid Societies
In just about every area of the country, there are legal aid societies that help low-income people receive free legal services. These are nonprofit organizations that can be incredibly helpful if you don’t have the funds to hire a lawyer.
For a lot of households, though, is that an individual or couple don’t qualify for help because they make too much money. It varies from state to state how little income you must make in order to qualify for legal aid services. Frequently, your income is required to be below the federal poverty line.
Federally funded legal aid programs can help people with employment issues, landlord and tenant issues, divorce proceedings, and other issues.
If you’re trying to figure out how to hire a lawyer when you don’t have any money, this is definitely an avenue worth exploring.
4. Contact the City Courthouse
Depending on why you’re looking to hire a lawyer, you might be able to contact the city courthouse. For example, if you want to fill out your own paperwork in an uncontested divorce, some city courts will offer free assistance.
Even if your case is more complicated than an uncontested divorce, it could be worth giving the courthouse a call. Ask their advice as to where you can find legal assistance for little to no money. They might be able to point you in the direction of local resources that could give you a hand.
5. Go to Small Claims Court
Small claims court isn’t an option for everyone in every circumstance, but you might want to spend some time researching if it could be the right choice for you.
If you are involved in a dispute over owed money where it’s not worth risking lawyer fees, small claims court might be a good option. Depending on your state, the maximum amount you will be rewarded varies drastically. Look into this to make sure that small claims court is the right avenue for your dispute.
How to Hire a Lawyer With No Money: You’ve Got Options
Figuring out how to hire a lawyer with no money is a bit of a research project, but if you can avoid staggeringly high legal bills you’ll be glad you put in the time.
No matter which route you decide to go, make sure that you are clear on what you’re agreeing to ahead of time. If you’re entering into a contingency agreement with a lawyer, for example, you’ll want to double-check that you won’t be responsible for additional expenses if the court case is lost.
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