What services does Legal Aid provide?

Legal aid is the act of providing legal help to those who cannot afford it. Legal aid is a globally accepted provision.

What services does Legal aid provide? Legal aid provides services related to legal advice and representation in matters of domestic violence, education, employment, family, health, tax, housing, foreclosure, immigration, utilities, and public benefits.

What is Legal Aid?

Now let us explore the concept of legal aid. In simpler terms, legal aid means that if you are poor and you need legal help, then you can get it for free because your government or the state will pay for it.

Legal aid is an important constituent of the legal framework in a democracy. The concept of legal aid comes from the fact that in any democratic system, all the citizens whether rich or poor are equal before the law.

There will be lawyers and clients in any legal system. The clients may come from different economic backgrounds. Some of them may be rich while some of them may be poor.

The concept of legal aid stems from the fact that the poor and downtrodden people may not be able to afford a lawyer’s fees. However, everybody is equal before the law and everybody deserves justice.

So in order to provide justice to the poor and needy in legal matters, the provision of legal aid was devised. However, the person seeking legal aid would need to prove that he cannot afford legal fees.

Legal aid exists as a full-fledged legal aid system in a large number of countries. Some of these countries are USA, UK, Canada, Australia, South Africa, Denmark, Italy, and India to name a few.


Now that we have understood legal aid, let us go ahead and enlist the services that come under the purview of legal aid. The legal aid system provides legal services related to the following matters –

  • Family

Issues like domestic violence, divorce, child custody etc. A large number of women and children suffer from domestic violence and abuse. They may seek legal aid especially the children being minors.

Legal aid is also applicable in case of a divorced couple fighting for child custody. It is applicable also to any other dispute involving your children.

  • Housing

Issues like possession claims, unlawful eviction and property disputes.

  • Education

Issues related to the education sector. This may widely include children.

  • Employment

Issues related to discrimination or harassment at the workplace, labor wages etc. Issues related to the violation of labor laws or inhumane working conditions.

  • Public benefits

Issues related to government benefits like social security, food, healthcare, insurance etc.

  • Utilities

Issues related to public utility services like gas, electricity, water supply etc. If a public utility service is owned and managed by a private player, then such a case would fall under the consumer rights section.

  • Tax

Issues related to income tax or any other tax levied by the government. Now here one may argue that if legal aid is for poor people then how come we are including taxpayers into it.

Here one must understand that a low-income group may be eligible to seek legal aid. There is a lower income threshold or limit set for that. Any individual whose income falls below that threshold would be eligible for legal aid.

  • Immigration

Issues related to immigrants, refugees, and immigration law. This may involve immigrants and refugees living in a country where they don’t have enough income to pay legal fees.

When a lender lends money to a borrower and for some reason the borrower is unable to pay back the loan. Then in such a case, the lender tries to recover the money by selling the collateral attached to the loan. This is called foreclosure.

Issues related to foreclosure generally involve cases where the borrower tries to seek free legal help or legal aid to prevent the foreclosure of his asset. The asset may be a property or any valuable item.

  • Disability

A disabled person is entitled to free legal help. This may include those who are disabled by birth or have been disabled due to an accident.

  • Consumer rights

Issues related to consumer complaints. Disputes related to the purchase of a defective product.


Legal aid in criminal cases has to be understood separately. A criminal offence may include acts of rape, fraud, murder or terrorism. The underlying fundamental of legal aid remains the same here.

Suppose if you are a convict in a criminal case and you don’t have the money to fight the case. Then the state will bear your legal expenses and appoint a lawyer to fight your case.

In criminal cases, the court decides whether a person will get legal aid or not. In civil cases, the court is not involved when it comes to deciding a legal aid benefit.


Legal aid is provided by a lawyer to a client who can’t afford it. A legal aid system may consist of the following components –

  • Lawyers
  • Law firms
  • Legal clinics
  • NGOs
  • State-affiliated help groups.

It is important to note here that every country has its own legal aid program. So there might be discrepancies in the services and the functionalities of the program of each country.

The legal aid system of one country may look different from another. However, all follow the same basic fundamental principle of legal aid.


  1. Is legal aid free for all?

Legal aid is a system of free legal help to those who can’t afford it.

  1. Can a corporate or a business entity seek legal aid?

If a business or a corporation has filed for bankruptcy, then they may seek free legal help. However, a lot would depend on the bankruptcy laws of that country.

  1. Does legal aid help in winning a case?

No, legal aid only ensures access to free legal help for those who cannot pay the lawyer’s fees.

#TechTuesday: conflict checking made easy.

Key to creating an ethically-compliant practice? Setting up a proper conflict checking system. It’s not hard and creating a solid system on the front end saves you time and effort. And possibly an ethics investigation.

I help lots of folks transition from an existing practice into a new one. My clients often are coming from a firm that handles this task for them, and thus are fairly clueless on how to set up a robust system. So, the conflict system is always at the top of our to-do list.

You can explore some general, helpful ideas on this topic here.

The system I recommend for my clients using Clio: when opening a new matter, create a Note within the matter titled [Case name] Conflict Check. Then add to the note all of the names (related parties) and any other information relevant to a conflict check.

For example, in an estate matter I can add beneficiary names:


This saves all of the names (and other relevant information), so when I run a check in the future, any matter note containing the search name or term pops up. At my finger tips, I have not only the name(s), but all other pertinent information I need to conduct a thorough check.

Build this into your matter intake system and you’ll create a robust conflict checking system that makes this crucial task easy and efficient.

And if you’re not using Clio, think about the systems you are using and how you can integrate the conflict check in seamlessly. Other cloud-based practice management platforms (like MyCase and RocketMatter) have similar tools. You can also use Google Apps (contacts) in much the same way. Insightly, a CRM I use for project (and client) management, also includes multiple ways to create a database for conflict checking (through both contacts and notes within matters, all of which are searchable).

So if you’re not using your tech tools in this way yet, go do it. NOW.

links I like.


[quote by Seth Godin]

Use public wifi? Here’s what you need to know, to do so safely. (This topic came up in yesterday’s cloud workshop, which reminded me that it’s easy to be lazy when using public wifi. Don’t.)

Spread a little cheer, and send a nice card to your clients, referral sources, and others who support your success throughout the year.

Even better — attach your lovely card to a yummy gift.

Spend some time over the holidays relaxing with a thought-provoking book. Any one of these will fit the bill.

You need downtime. You need to plan for the downtime. Why? Well, “research on naps, meditation, nature walks and the habits of exceptional artists and athletes reveals how mental breaks increase productivity, replenish attention, solidify memories and encourage creativity.”

Gmail’s new Inbox app needs to come to Google Apps before I’m a total convert, but reminders are one reason I really like it.

How does your office measure up as the perfect workspace? (I see a new year’s resolution opportunity here for many lawyers I know …)

Take a few minutes to listen to this quite excellent conversation between Seth Godin and Krista Tippett; Seth’s thoughts on marketing are relevant to lawyers, too. (And if you’re not listening to On Being on a regular basis, I strongly suggest you start doing so.)

The easy way to download YouTube videos.

A to X Writing Advice. good reminders, here.

Links I like is a semi-regular Friday feature on Inspired Law Blog, and like all other posts, is written by Caitlin (Cat) Moon [MA, JD], a consultant and coach to lawyers and other driven people who want to design inspired ways to work.

do you have a social media security policy?

Most of my readers actively use social media to market themselves and their practices. (And if you don’t, you may find yourself falling behind the curve. fast.)

So do you have a policy to manage the security of your social media efforts?

Go here, and do these things. And share with your clients, too.

InspiredLawBlog is written by Caitlin [Cat] Moon, who is a lawyer helping other lawyers to be happy and successful. (the two are not mutually exclusive, contrary to popular lawyer experience, btw.)

get your head in the cloud.


I’ll be talking cloud at the last workshop of the year. Only a couple of spots left on one date: Thursday, December 4, 2014 from 1:30 — 3:30. At my quite comfy office in the Factory at Franklin. Tennessee attorneys get two hours of dual CLE (bonus!).

This is the two hour version of 27+ ways to take your practice to the clouds. Come ready to be blown away. 🙂

More info and to register — go here.

InspiredLawBlog is written by Caitlin [Cat] Moon, a sometimes attorney who is always helping others work smarter, happier, and techier.

links I like.

This really deserves an entire post (which may happen). But the gist is this. You don’t do something just because you can do it or it’s cheapest to hire yourself to do it or even easy for you to do it. By it, I mean build your website, manage your back office accounting, draft documents that are essentially templates (and a lot of other things). You do the work under the following circumstances. You need to be Mario Batali.

Because people (clients) will notice when you do it. That might mean that they notice your presence, or they notice the unique nature of what you create (your art) or they will notice that you’ve learned something doing this when it leads to you doing something great later on. Mario Batali doesn’t cook for 99% of his customers (physically impossible), and they can’t tell. And he doesn’t design 99% (or 5%, I have no idea) of his recipes, because we can’t tell. In fact, the only thing people can tell is that it’s him on the TV, and that his decisions are guiding what his organization does next.

-Seth Godin

And here’s a list of some things that you can start outsourcing today.

And here’s another thing. Scheduling with lawyers is often a nightmare. Get some help.

I learned about “lollipop moments” from this lawyer’s blog. I love this idea.

Every lawyer should have this quote framed and on the wall. Where it can be seen at all times.

If you ever worry that you’re the only one who doesn’t measure up, guess what? You’re wrong. Way wrong. (Especially relevant for lawyers who are often prone to a superiority/inferiority complex unique to our profession.)

The EMAIL CHARTER. I’ve done 1, and now 2. You?

Back to the opening theme of this week’s links. Want to grow your practice? Be happy? Then you must learn how to delegate. Try the 70% rule on for size.

I continue to be baffled by the fact that so many lawyers are baffled by this truth. A law practice is a business. Until (and unless) you learn how to delegate and make really good decisions about the work you do (and the work you don’t do), then you’re going to spend more time running your business than practicing law. A good wrap up on today’s theme, I do believe.

Links I like is a semi-regular Friday feature on Inspired Law Blog, and like all other posts, is written by Caitlin (Cat) Moon, a consultant and coach to lawyers and other driven people who want to design inspired ways to work.

using evernote in meetings.

Go here to read Eriz Mazzone’s six steps to using Evernote at your next meeting/conference.

He took the words right out of my mouth.

You should read all of Erik’s posts, actually, if you’re interested in law practice management and tech stuff. (He’s a law practice management advisor and founding director of the North Carolina Bar Association Center for Practice Management. And a generally smart guy who writes well.)

Inspired Law Blog is written by Caitlin (Cat) Moon, a consultant and coach to lawyers and other driven people who want to design inspired ways to work.