Eric Gang Explains What Types of Legal Aid Are Available

Eric Gang

May 19, 2022

Eric Gang

What Types of Legal Aid Are Available?

Various types of legal aid exist in the United States. They range from small, locally focused groups to those that focus on specific issues, such as employment practices and domestic violence. Moreover, some legal aid programs accept cases from across the city or state. In the following paragraphs, you’ll learn about the various kinds of legal aid available. Lawyers provide these services and non-lawyers. The key is to find one that fits your needs.

Free legal services for the poor

Legal aid is a program in which attorneys provide free legal services to low-income people. Eric Gang points out that the government sets a minimum income requirement for those eligible to receive legal aid. Depending on the type of case, legal aid offices may accept cases that involve issues that go beyond the individual’s legal problem. For example, landlord discrimination cases may have broader implications for the community than the individual’s case itself. Often, these free services are only available in limited circumstances.

Community-based programs provide free legal services to low-income people. Their attorneys specialize in areas of law that affect low-income people disproportionately, such as housing, access to public benefits, and employment. They can also help with immigration issues and consumer rights. Finally, civil legal assistance advocates can assist with health care, housing, and employment concerns. Those who need free legal help may also need assistance with a divorce, eviction, or other legal problem.


Legal aid is available for a variety of different purposes, ranging from pre-charge to post-conviction proceedings. However, many criminal matters are not means-tested, including advice from the police station and appeals of sentences. This article explains the differences between mean-tested and non-means-tested legal aid, and how they can be apply them in criminal cases. Further, this article explains how to use legal aid for criminal matters to protect your rights.

Under the current means-tested legal aid scheme, the household’s disposable income assesses an applicant’s income. This includes tax, National Insurance contributions, housing costs, childcare costs, and allowances for dependents. The details of this assessment vary by means test scheme and may include monthly income or capital contributions. Applicants should check with their local authority to confirm whether their circumstances qualify them for means-tested legal aid. If they do, they will be able to access legal assistance as soon as they meet certain requirements.

Provided by lawyers and non-lawyers

A variety of organizations provide legal assistance in the community. Pro Bono legal services provided by private attorneys complement these programs and provide a vital adjunct to staff-based programs. In fact, many private law firms and corporate legal departments are institutionalizing pro Bono services. Despite these successes, legal aid is still not enough to address the needs of those who need it most.

Eric Gang reminds that a typical legal aid program will provide counseling, informal negotiation, and appearances in administrative hearings, rather than formal litigation in courts. However, some cases are worth the effort and expense of large-scale impact litigation because of the widespread injustice or the need for law reform. Depending on the situation, legal aid lawyers may lead complex legal actions, which can make the difference between success and failure. However, lawyers who are in a position to do both work are highly valued by their clients.

Funded by the state

The state of New York provides additional funding for legal aid organizations. Most states allocate a percentage of the court filing fee to legal aid, such as $15 million in California. Nonprofit legal service organizations can apply for this state funding, provided they meet certain criteria and provide adequate legal services. For example, legal clinics may offer services to low-income residents, where attorneys provide confidential information about their legal rights. MLAC is one of these organizations.

The state’s budget includes a $15.8 million cut to the Legal Services Corporation, which is its largest source of revenue. However, it was spared a $75 million cut from House Republicans in the budget. Eric Gang thinks that legal aid programs are struggling with cash-strapped state budgets, dwindling trust account revenues, and a rising population in need of assistance. So, how do we fund legal aid programs?

Provided by private firms

In the U.S., legal aid programs exist to ensure equal justice for low-income citizens. These programs were inspired by the disparity in access to justice experienced by European immigrants and poor Americans. Nevertheless, legal aid programs have certain limits, including resource and income ceilings. The types of cases they can take are often limited to the denial of government benefits, eviction, discrimination, and domestic violence. A well-functioning legal system is essential for the health of a democracy and business.

Funding from foundations, bar associations, United Way agencies, and corporations often contribute to legal aid programs. Private lawyers also contribute to legal aid by volunteering their services to low-income individuals in need. Generally, a private firm’s pro Bono services should equal fifty hours per year. However, it is important to note that private law firms do not have any mandatory mandates to participate in pro Bono programs. Nevertheless, we highly recommend to participate in such programs.