Below is a compilation of answers to the questions most commonly asked by our constituents. If you can't find the question you are looking for, don’t hesitate to contact us.
- What is Legal Aid of Arkansas?
- What is the difference between Legal Aid of Arkansas and the Center for Arkansas Legal Services (CALS)?
- What kinds of cases does Legal Aid accept?
- What kinds of cases does Legal Aid NOT accept?
- How do I know if I am eligible for assistance from Legal Aid?
- How do I get help with my legal problems?
- What should I do if the helpline is busy when I call?
- Does Legal Aid take every case?
- How does Legal Aid decide which cases to accept?
- What do I do if Legal Aid cannot accept my case?
- Legal Aid accepted my case. How much is this going to cost me?
- What is a workgroup?
- I want to help! How can I get involved with Legal Aid of Arkansas?
Legal Aid of Arkansas is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization that provides free legal services to low-income Arkansans in civil (non-criminal) cases.
What is the difference between Legal Aid of Arkansas and the Center for Arkansas Legal Services (CALS)?
Both Legal Aid and CALS provide free civil legal assistance to low-income Arkansans. Each organization covers a specific geographic area.
Legal Aid of Arkansas handles cases in the following 31 counties: Baxter, Benton, Boone, Carroll, Clay, Cleburne, Craighead, Crittenden, Cross, Fulton, Greene, Independence, Izard, Jackson, Lawrence, Lee, Madison, Marion, Mississippi, Monroe, Newton, Phillips, Poinsett, Randolph, St. Francis, Searcy, Sharp, Stone, Van Buren, Washington, and Woodruff. CALS serves the remaining 44 counties in Arkansas.
NOTE: Legal Aid's Fair Housing Project serves the entire state of Arkansas. If you believe you have been a victim of housing discrimination in any county, please call the direct fair housing helpline at 1-870-338-9834.
Legal Aid handles civil legal cases through our four workgroups. The Protection from Domestic Violence group handles guardianship, divorce, custody/visitation, and order of protection cases. The Consumer group handles bankruptcy, debtor/creditor, garnishment, expungement, tax, and contract cases. The Housing group helps with landlord/tenant disputes, evictions, foreclosure, public and subsidized housing, powers of attorney, and wills and estates. The Economic Justice group helps with disability rights, employment rights, problems with public benefits, including Medicaid, SNAP, TEA, Medicare, and Social Security or SSI.
Legal Aid of Arkansas cannot help with criminal problems, including traffic tickets. This does not include criminal evictions or expungements. If you are unsure if we can help, please call us.
Legal Aid has different income limits for different types of cases. Typically we handle cases for people whose household is 125% or below the federal poverty guideline. However, there are some cases where there are much higher income guidelines. The best way to know if Legal Aid can help is to apply for services by calling 1-800-952-9243.
Legal Aid has limited resources, so even if you qualify financially we may not be able to provide an attorney to represent you. Our board of directors has established case acceptance priorities as guidance for which cases to take for extended representation.
Once you apply, Legal Aid will then decide how best to assist you. Depending on your situation, you will receive:
- Legal advice over the telephone
- More detailed information by mail
- Limited services such as prepared legal documents, a phone call on your behalf, etc.
- Limited scope or full legal representation by either a staff attorney or volunteer attorney
- Referral to another source or assistance
You can apply online under Contact Us or call our helpline at 1-800-9 LAW AID (1-800-952-9243). If you believe you have been a victim of housing discrimination (statewide), please call the direct fair housing helpline at 1-870-338-9834. Helpline is open Monday through Thursday from 9-11AM and 1-3PM with Tuesday evening hours from 5:15-7:15.
The Legal Aid of Arkansas helpline professionals will try to take your call right away. If you do not have time to wait or speak with someone, either call back at a time that is more convenient or apply online.
If a caller meets Legal Aid’s eligibility criteria they will receive some level of services, including advice. However, staff and resources are limited, so not every client will be provided with an attorney for full legal representation.
Legal Aid does not have the resources necessary to take every case. Because resources are limited, the Legal Aid board of directors establishes case acceptance priorities to help determine which cases to take. Each case is considered individually, with attention given to the facts and circumstances. Legal Aid makes difficult decisions about thousands of applications for assistance received each year. These hard choices enable Legal Aid to provide services to those who need it most.
For more information about our Case Acceptance Priorities, click on the question above to be taken to our Workgroups page.
If Legal Aid is unable to accept your case, we will attempt to refer you to another agency that can provide legal assistance. We may also inform you of certain self-help resources.
You will not be charged for our legal services. You may need to pay other costs associated with your case, such as filing fees, deposition fees, transcript fees, and/or other court costs. Please apply even if you think you cannot afford the fees because they can sometimes be waived.
Legal Aid of Arkansas has developed four substantive workgroups, each of which focuses on one substantive area of law. The workgroups are responsible for providing legal representation in their areas, as well as developing case acceptance priorities and deciding which cases to accept. The workgroups also engage in training, education, community outreach, and community partnerships.
The substantive workgroups are:
- Protection from Domestic Violence
- Consumer Law
- Safe and Affordable Housing
- Economic Justice
Interested in pro bono work? Legal Aid of Arkansas offers a variety of volunteer opportunities for attorneys, paralegals, law students, and others.
Want to donate? Legal Aid never charges for its services. Your donation means we get to help more families.
For more information on how to get involved, click on the question to be taken to our How to Help page.