Research guides

Self-Help

Free or Low-Cost Legal Assistance

If you are looking for legal advice or representation, we recommend you contact a laywer and/or a legal services organization. The links on this page include organizations that may provide free or low-cost legal help. These organizations are not affiliated with Jenkins, so please contact them directly with any questions.

If you would like to hire (pay) a lawyer, you can find contact information for various lawyers on the Find a Lawyer page of this guide. 

Public Interest Legal Organizations

Community Legal Services (CLS)
Provides free legal services to Philadelphia's low-income residents on a wide range of issues such as public benefits, debt and consumer problems, employment, family law, housing and landlord-tenant, and utilities. See the full list of services on the Get Help page.

Homeless Advocacy Project (HAP)
HAP holds over 100 legal clinics at homeless shelters, transitional housing sites, overnight cafes, and soup kitchens throughout the city each year. Homeless persons with civil legal problems are encouraged to visit the clinics to receive information, advice, referrals, and potential representation. See the Upcoming Events page for clinic locations, dates, and other details

HIAS Pennsylvania
Provides immigration legal services to low-income immigrants and refugees. HIAS PA staff speak various languages such as Spanish, Russian, Cantonese, and French. See the Access Our Services page for more information.

Legal Aid of Southeastern Pennsylvania (LASP)
Provides free legal representation to low-income, eligible clients in a variety of civil matters in Bucks, Montgomery, Chester, and Delaware Counties.

Legal Clinic for the Disabled
Empowers low-income people with disabilities and the deaf and hard of hearing in the Philadelphia region to achieve inclusion, independence, and justice by providing free, quality legal representation to overcome legal obstacles that would otherwise affect their independence, health, or quality of life.

Mazzoni Center
The legal services department provides direct no-cost or low-cost legal assistance to low-income and lower-income, underserved LGBTQ populations.  Provides advice and representation to LGBTQ people on discrimination matters. Also provides referrals to pro bono (free) services and attorneys who are knowledgeable and sensitive to LGBTQ people and their legal needs.

Nationalities Service Center
Provides legal representation to low-income individuals on a wide range of matters within immigration law. NSC’s Legal Services and Immigration Policy program also works on behalf of immigrant clients through specialities regarding victims of domestic violence, human trafficking, and torture as well as unaccompanied children.

Pennsylvania Health Law Project
PHLP provides free legal services to lower-income consumers, seniors, and persons with disabilities who are having trouble accessing publicly funded healthcare coverage or services.

Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equity
Information on criminal expungements, free expungement clinics, and fair employment opportunities with regards to when and how criminal records are used. See Start an Expungement under the "Get Help" tab for scheduled dates and locations of expungement clinics. Clinics are primarily held when law schools are in session.

Philadelphia Legal Assistance (PLA)
Provides free legal services to Philadelphia's low-income residents on a wide range of civil legal problems such as bankrputcy, unemployment compensation, family law, federal taxes, and homeownership. See the list of Legal Problems Handled by PLA and their Get Legal Help page to apply for help.

Philadelphia VIP
Philadelphia VIP matches private practice lawyers - who volunteer to take pro bono (free) cases - with clients facing civil legal problems. All individual clients must be referred to VIP by another public interest agency such as CLS or PLA. Small businesses and nonprofits that need legal help can apply directly on the VIP website.

SeniorLAW Center
SeniorLAW Center’s mission is to improve the lives of older Pennsylvanians and protect their rights through legal representation, education and advocacy. Provides legal services in a wide range of areas, focusing on advance personal planning, family issues, housing, consumer protection, and property and inheritance tax for elders.

Women Against Abuse Legal Center
Offers free legal advocacy and representation for survivors of all gender identities dealing with relationship violence-related legal matters, including Protection From Abuse (PFA), child custody, and child support.

Women Organized Against Rape (WOAR)
Provides free services to anyone who has experienced sexual violence. WOAR’s Court Advocates help sexual assault and abuse  survivors through court accompaniment, legal information, referrals, and advocacy.

More Legal Help and Information

Directory of Public Interest Legal Organizations Philadelphia Bar Association
A list of public interest law agencies that serve low-income Philadelphians. Also includes contact information for local law school clinics that may provide pro bono (free) assistance.

ImmigrationLawHelp
"Helping low-income immigrants find legal help." Can search by state, county, or detention facility and further refine search by selecting type of legal assistance needed.

PALawHELP.org
Information and sample forms for civil issues from organizations such as PA Legal Aid, PA Bar Association, and Legal Services Corporation.