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.

FAQs

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

Yes.  

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 grievance@lasclev.org.
  • 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

No.

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

No.

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

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A Passion for Service to Others: Ann S. Bergen is Legal Aid’s 2013 Board President
My goal this year as president is to deepen and broaden the already strong footprint of Legal Aid.

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Legal Aid Helps Lorain Mother Fight Utility Shut-off
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Legal Aid wins a fair outcome in an eviction case for a hard-working client
When Mr. Bonds paid his January rent - on time - the property manager told him, "it'd be better if you moved."

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U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Is Keynote Speaker at Legal Aid’s Annual Event
The event also honored five attorneys who are retiring from Legal Aid's Board of Directors in 2012.

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