The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland provides free legal advice and representation to low-income people for civil matters only  in  five counties in northeast Ohio: Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, and Lorain.

To get help from Legal Aid you can:

  • Browse topics to the left to learn more about legal issues
  • Call the Legal Aid Intake Line at: 888-817-3777 or 216-687-1900
  • Come to a Brief Advice and Referral Clinic near you

Legal Aid does not handle criminal cases or traffic violations.   To get help in a matter Legal Aid does not handle, click here for a list of other agencies.

Legal Aid  will not deny services on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, creed, national origin, age, religion, political affiliation or belief, or disability.  

There are eligibility guidelines — click on the FAQ below “Who does Legal Aid help? Am I eligible?” to learn more.


Who does Legal Aid help? Am I eligible? Close

Legal Aid helps low-income people.   People with income less than 125% of the federal poverty guidelines are eligible and  may qualify for assistance. Sometimes people with less than 200% of the federal poverty guidelines can qualify.

Family size: Annual Income (125%) Annual Income (200%)
1 $14,363 $22,980
2 $19,388 $31,020
3 $24,413 $39,060
4 $29,438 $47,100
5 $34,463 $55,140
6 $39,488 $63,180
7 $44,513 $71,220
Each additional person add: $5,025 $8,040

Because of our limited staff , everyone is not able to receive help from Legal Aid.    Contact us to see if your case is one we can handle.

Do the financial guidelines apply for seniors? Close

No. Legal Aid helps seniors who have the greatest need, even if they are above these guidelines.

Does Legal Aid help older adults? Close


Legal Aid represents seniors (60 and over) in all the areas of law we handle, with an emphasis on   homeownership preservation, elder abuse (physical or financial), Medicaid and Medicare   issues, and other public benefits.   There are no financial limitations on eligibility, although we concentrate on helping people who cannot afford to pay for legal representation.

Additionally, Legal Aid provides advice and legal assistance for persons who need help with legal matters such as wills and advanced directives.

What happens when I contact Legal Aid for help? Close

We may ask you to send copies of your relevant paperwork.
If you qualify for our services and we have the resources to assist you, we will either:

  • give you advice or educational information to help you with the next steps in the legal process;
  • refer you to a volunteer attorney; or
  • represent you in your legal matter.

You can also receive legal assistance through community legal education and brief advice and referral clinics that Legal Aid hosts throughout Northeast Ohio. Check for dates and locations.

What areas of law are outside of Legal Aid’s practice? Close

Legal Aid does NOT handle criminal or traffic cases, cases seeking an award of damages, small claims complaints or workers’ compensation claims.

What is the Client Complaint Procedure? Close

  • Legal Aid is committed to providing high-quality legal services and holds itself accountable to those we seek to serve.
  • Any person who feels they were unfairly denied legal assistance or who is unhappy with the assistance provided by Legal Aid may complain by submitting a grievance.
  • You may make a complaint, either orally or in writing, to a Managing Attorney or to the Deputy Director for Advocacy.
  • You may send a written complaint by email to
  • Or, use this link for a copy of the Grievance Form and send a completed form to the Managing Attorney for the practice group assisting you or to the Deputy Director at 1223 West Sixth Street, Cleveland OH   44113.
  • If you want to complain orally, you may call the Deputy Director at 216-861-5329.   The Deputy Director will investigate your complaint and will let you know his decision.

When I call Legal Aid, the phone line is busy – how can I get help? Close

Legal Aid’s phone lines can get overloaded at certain times of the day – and it can be difficult to get through on the phone.   Your call is important, so you are encouraged to keep trying.

The phones are especially busy on Mondays and Fridays and first thing in the morning.   Don’t wait until the last minute to call about an emergency!

In addition to calling Legal Aid for help, you can visit a free brief advice clinic.   Click here for a calendar of upcoming clinics in your area.

Is Legal Aid a government agency? Close


The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland is a nonprofit organization governed by a board of directors.   Legal Aid is recognized as a 501(c)(3) by the IRS and registered as a charity in the State of Ohio.

Does everyone have a “right” to an attorney at Legal Aid? Close


Everyone is not entitled to representation.   The US Constitution only provides for a right to an attorney in criminal cases.   Legal Aid handles only civil matters.   Before a case is accepted the case must be determined to have legal merit and meet  Legal Aid  priorities. Thousands of people each year are only given advice, or referred to another agency, or informed that their legal problem does not fall within Legal Aid priorities.

What kind of eligibility information is needed for Legal Aid representation? Close

Those applying for Legal Aid’s help are asked about income, property owned, zip code, assets, family size, age, race, citizenship or immigration status.

Success Stories

The law firm of Taft increases its support of Legal Aid: 2012 Legal Aid Board President is a partner at the firm
As Board President, Mr. Thompson wants to inform the community about Legal Aid's services, history and purpose.

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Learn more about Legal Aid's Board of Directors.

Legal Aid Argues Before the Ohio Supreme Court
On December 10, 2013, Cleveland Legal Aid attorney Julie Robie argued before the Supreme Court of Ohio...

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Learn more about Legal Aid's Consumer Practice.

United States Senator Rob Portman on the importance of Legal Aid, pro bono service, and the economy
In his keynote speech on September 3, 2013 at Cleveland"s Renaissance Hotel, Senator Portman applauded Legal Aid on its 108-year history of helping people solve legal problems.

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Learn more about Legal Aid's history and services.

Cleveland City Council Supports U Visas with Passage of Resolution
Many victims remain with their abusers and do not seek the help of police for fear of deportation. The U Visa promotes safe communities by encouraging immigrant victims of crimes to make police reports. Megan Sprecher

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Learn more about domestic violence.

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