Last updated: November 15, 2013
When you need legal help, but can’t afford to hire a private attorney, you can feel confused, alone and frightened. Fortunately, there are a variety of organizations and agencies in Charleston that may be able to help you. So whether you need help with your divorce, are facing criminal charges, are involved in a housing dispute, or have a different legal need, we have compiled a list of places in The Holy City for you to check out.
Note: The Charleston office of the South Carolina Legal Services (“SCLS”) serves Beaufort, Berkeley, Charleston, Colleton, Dorchester, Hampton and Jasper counties. SCLS handles non-fee generating civil (non-criminal) matters. In order to receive SCLS services you must meet their income guidelines (based on the federal poverty guidelines). However, even if you do not qualify, their main website and the affiliated LawHelp.org/SC has a variety of materials you can use on a self-help basis, including a variety of legal brochures, forms, and legal library. The Charleston office also sponsors a free Pro Se Divorce Clinic if you wish to represent yourself in your divorce.
Note: This organization seeks to “prevent land loss among low wealth heirs’ property owners by helping them obtain clear title and keep their family land through legal education, legal and mediation services, community empowerment and free Wills Clinics.” They serve Beaufort, Berkeley, Charleston, Colleton, Dorchester and Georgetown counties. For additional information, check the website’s section on Frequently Asked Questions or the definitions and explanations of heirs’ property, heirs, and myths and truths about heirs’ property ownership.
Note: If you have been charged with a criminal offense for which you can be imprisoned and meet the federal poverty guidelines, the public defender may be able to assist you. Adult screening in the office takes place every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 2-4pm.
Note: This non-profit organization was created by the Charleston County Bar Association and handles civil matters for low income individuals. Typical areas of representation include: family, housing, probate, public benefits, and consumer cases. To be eligible for services you must have a gross household income of less than 200% of the federal poverty threshold and you must be a U.S. citizen or eligible alien. To determine whether you may be able to use these services contact (843) 853-6456 for a screening interview.
Note: This organization provides low-cost immigration counseling. Fees are based on a sliding scale. They can help with filings for citizenship, asylum, permanent residency and more, but specifically do not represent individuals convicted of domestic violence or drug-related crimes.
Note: This organization offers the opportunity to meet with an attorney free of charge to discuss issues such as wills, power of attorney, health insurance, and more.