Last updated: October 21, 2013
If you live in Tampa, you know that the city is known for its vibrant nightlife and breathtaking thunderstorms. But Tampa residents also know that some storms are harder to weather than others. When you have a legal problem and can’t afford to hire legal help, it can feel as if you’re stuck in a hurricane with no shelter in sight. Fortunately, Tampa offers several legal aid options for residents who don’t have the means to hire a private attorney. The guide below may be able to help you find the free or low-cost legal help you need. Additionally, the Florida State Courts Self-Help webpage contains valuable information and tools that will help you represent yourself in court.
Bay Area Legal Services is the largest legal aid provider in the area. It offers civil (non-criminal) legal services to income-eligible residents of Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, and Sarasota Counties in Florida. The organization’s main office is located in Tampa, but you can find other locations and contact information on the website. Call for an initial client interview. They have a toll free number at (800) 625-2257.
Bay Area Legal Services established the L. David Shear Children’s Law Center to represent children in the Hillsborough County foster care system.
The Family Justice Center (FJC) provides comprehensive services to victims of domestic violence and their families. This could include filing restraining orders, obtaining emergency housing for families and counseling. Additionally, the Gulf Coast Legal Services Immigration Project partners with the FJC to provide legal help to immigrants who are victims of domestic violence. For information about immigration appointments, call Gulf Coast Legal Services at (727) 821-0726, extension 229.
Gulf Coast Legal Services (GCLS) is a non-profit organization offering free or low-cost legal services in the following areas: elder law, housing law, consumer law (including predatory lending), family law, immigration, public benefits and unemployment. The organization’s main office is located in St. Petersburg, but GCLS also has offices in Clearwater, Bradenton and Sarasota.
Florida Institutional Legal Services offers representation to people who are incarcerated or institutionalized in the state of Florida. This includes prisoners in the state system, jail inmates, detained juveniles, and individuals who have been civilly detained or committed.