Clients must qualify based on their residency, income and case type, all of which must fall within the Foundation's set guidelines. The Foundation does not offer specific legal advice. If a client falls within the income guidelines and case restrictions, we will attempt to place the client's case with a volunteer attorney. We do not provide service for any clients who can afford a private attorney. The Foundation cannot guarantee representation to any client, because it depends on volunteer attorneys to handle cases.
(Please click on a question to be taken directly to that question and answer.)
How does your program work?
How do I qualify for your services?
Do you handle all types of cases?
I only have a few quick questions. Do I still have to be screened?
Will I have to pay a fee?
What about out-of-pocket expenses?
Will my information be given to anyone else?
What if I get a new legal problem?
Is placement of my case with a volunteer attorney guaranteed?
Q. How does your program work?
A. Our program begins with the telephone screening to determine if you meet our client guidelines and if your legal matter falls within one of our service areas. If we determine that you appear to be eligible for our services, we will schedule an appointment for you to come in and complete our process. The appointment provides an opportunity for us to get additional information from you about your case, for you to sign our forms and provide income verification. We will then attempt to place your case with one of our volunteer attorneys. If we are unable to find a volunteer, then we will inform you as soon as possible and suggest some other resources that may be able to help you. If we do find a volunteer for your case, we will provide you with their contact information and send them a copy of your case file. From that point, you will deal directly with that attorney until your case is resolved, but you will be expected to report back to us if you have any changes that may affect your eligibility status.
Q. How do I qualify for your services?
A. In order to qualify for our services, you must meet certain income guidelines and case restrictions. There is also a residency requirement. Please call us during our screening hours or complete an online form to begin this process. Our screening hours are Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 9:00 am - 12:00 pm. You may complete the online form and submit it anytime.
Q. Do you handle all types of cases?
A. No. The Foundation has certain case restrictions to ensure that our resources are allocated in a way that is as fair and as effective as possible. For example, we do not handle any criminal cases. If you have a case and want to know if we will be able to help, please call to be screened for eligibility.
Q. I only have a few quick questions. Do I still have to be screened?
A. Yes. In order to provide you with any assistance, we must first screen you for eligibility. If you meet the screening requirements, we will attempt to place your case with a volunteer attorney.
Q. Will I have to pay a fee?
A. Provided you meet our screening requirements and your income does not change while you are a client, you will not have to pay us or the volunteer attorney who takes your case.
Q. What about out-of-pocket expenses?
A. While you do not have to pay for your legal representation, you will be responsible for all fees incurred in relation to your legal matter. These fees may include court costs or filing fees, service fees, court reporter fees, recording fees, etc. These fees are not charged by us or our volunteer attorneys; they are charged by the court or the entity providing the service. You may be able to request that these fees be waived depending on your individual situation. All additional expenses incurred by you in dealing with your legal matter, including transportation and parking, are your own responsibility.
Q. Will my information be given to anyone else?
A. Your information will never be made public or shared in a context outside the attorney-client relationship. Once your case has been placed, the attorney who takes your case will receive a full copy of your case file, but that attorney is bound by the rules of the legal profession to keep your information confidential, as are we at the DVLF. The attorney who takes your case may continue to discuss your case with DVLF's staff. You can be assured that we will not share any information about you with anyone other than an attorney with whom we are trying to place your case.
Q. What if I get a new legal problem?
A. Any additional legal problems that you may incur, including appeals of a matter we have provided help with, will be considered a new case. You must call us again and be screened for assistance with the new matter.
Q. Is placement of my case with a volunteer attorney guaranteed?
A. No. We cannot guarantee that any client will be matched with a volunteer attorney. Because we depend on volunteers, there is always the possibility that an attorney will not be found to assist you. If we cannot find you an attorney, we will attempt to provide you with other resources which may assist you in resolving your legal problem?