Last updated: November 18, 2013
You really need a lawyer. After falling and breaking your ankle while shag dancing out by Cape Fear, you haven’t been able to work or do the fox trot. You’ve fallen into a deep depression. Now, you just sit in front of your TV and longingly watch Bridget Fonda dance her heart out on Myrtle Beach in “Shag.”
You’re having trouble paying your rent, bills collectors are calling, and your ex-wife wants more child support. It’s time you called an attorney, but you know you can’t afford high legal fees.
Don’t fret. There are many free or low-cost legal service options for New Hanover County residents. One of the main providers is Legal Aid of North Carolina, a nonprofit legal aid organization providing free legal aid to low-income residents and seniors. There may be income limits that apply for you to qualify for free/low-cost help. Contact the specific agency to learn more. Below is a list of several organizations available to help you.
Areas of Law: Discrimination, Election and Voting, Freedom Speech, Freedom of Religion, Immigration Rights, LGBT Rights, Privacy, Police Practices, Jail and Prison Conditions, and other issues of fair treatment by government.
Good to Know: The ACLU does not usually assist in the following types of cases: criminal defense or post-conviction appeals, divorce or child custody disputes, property disputes, tax problems, workers compensation issues, consumer complaints, landlord-tenant disputes, building code issues and complaints about lawyers or judges. Requests for legal assistance must be submitted online.
Areas of Law: Civil, Family, Housing, Health, Elderly, Children/Youth Issues, Public Benefits, Employment, Education, Individual Rights, Probate, Consumer
Good to Know: This office offers advice/legal counsel, brief services, self-help clinics, community legal education, and referrals, as well as full representation in administrative hearings and county, state, and federal courts. They do not assist with criminal cases. Applicants must qualify for services under financial guidelines. These guidelines are based on household size, income and assets. Most families who receive government benefits or who have minimum wage jobs are eligible for services. They serve the following counties: Bladen, Brunswick, Columbus, Duplin, New Hanover, Onslow and Pender.
Areas of Law: Civil, Public Benefits, Housing, Civil Rights, Employment, Family Law, Economic Development, Education.
Good to Know: This agency provides free legal services to low-income residents of Bladen, Brunswick, Columbus, Duplin, New Hanover, Onslow, Pender counties. They do not handle criminal cases.
Areas of Law: Real Estate, Mortgage, Foreclosure
Good to Know: The Mortgage Foreclosure Project is a team of attorneys and staff who specialize in foreclosure defense and predatory lending law for low-income families who live Eastern North Carolina.
Areas of Law: Domestic Violence, Immigration, Naturalization
Good to Know: The office provides immigration services to low-income persons in the following counties: Bladen, Brunswick, Columbus, Duplin, New Hanover, and Pender. Call to learn more.
Areas of Law: Civil
Good to Know: This is a free, statewide legal aid hotline for seniors age 60 and over. They provide brief legal consultations in most civil law matters. They do not provide help with criminal law issues. If you have a more complicated matter, they may be able to provide referrals to lawyers in the area.