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Public Interest Law: Direct Legal Services

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Litigation
Public Interest Law
Direct Legal Services

In the U.S., thousands of public interest lawyers work with civil legal services organizations, providing free representation to those who are unable to afford legal help. Legal services attorneys help clients on a wide variety of non-criminal matters, including public benefits, family law, disability issues, employment, farm worker issues, community economic development, housing, homelessness, or elder law.

Legal services programs are typically structured as independent nonprofit organizations, responsible to secure their own funding to operate. Many, but not all, receive the bulk of their funding from the Legal Services Corporation, a congressionally chartered funding organization created to ensure that low-income citizens have access to legal help in civil matters.

Legal services lawyers need to have a commitment to and experience at working with low-income clients in a community based setting. In addition, lawyers need to be able to work collaboratively [...]

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In the U.S., thousands of public interest lawyers work with civil legal services organizations, providing free representation to those who are unable to afford legal help. Legal services attorneys help clients on a wide variety of non-criminal matters, including public benefits, family law, disability issues, employment, farm worker issues, community economic development, housing, homelessness, or elder law.

Legal services programs are typically structured as independent nonprofit organizations, responsible to secure their own funding to operate. Many, but not all, receive the bulk of their funding from the Legal Services Corporation, a congressionally chartered funding organization created to ensure that low-income citizens have access to legal help in civil matters.

Legal services lawyers need to have a commitment to and experience at working with low-income clients in a community based setting. In addition, lawyers need to be able to work collaboratively with social workers, community groups, and the broader community – since civil legal services lawyers attorneys frequently help resolve issues that extend beyond legal problems. Finally, because of the huge gap between resources and need, civil legal services lawyers sometimes have to juggle a large caseload; work independently; work closely with other human services professionals including social workers; and navigate complex bureaucracies.

 
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