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What are My Options for Getting Legal Help?


Law Soup gives you basic information that may answer your questions. But if you have a case or situation that you need help with, you may need a lawyer, or possibly just a document preparation service. We’ve compiled some great resources for you on this page.

I just have a quick legal question. What resources are available?

1. Law Soup

First, check Law Soup’s Legal Guides to see if there’s an answer. (We’re constantly working on adding more content. Check back often!)

However, you should know that often a “simple question” is not so simple, and may require a significant effort to resolve. It’s hard for a lay person to know whether your issue is fully resolved or not, which is why it’s usually a good idea to check with a lawyer.

2. LegalShield

If it’s not on Law Soup, your question may be complicated and you may need to spend a little money to get help. We’re partnering with LegalShield, which has lawyers ready to answer your questions for just $24.95 per month! (This is only about $299 a year, which is less than the cost of many lawyers for just a single hour) 1NOTE: Law Soup Media may receive compensation from this vendor if you use any of their services. We have used every product we recommend, and we stand by them. Thank you for your support!

See our full review and explanation of LegalShield.

I need legal help for my business

See our Guide to Resources for Small Business

I need other legal help

Depending on your legal needs, next steps for getting legal help may involve one or more of the following:

  1. Hire a lawyer (or find a free or low-cost pro bono lawyer)
  2. Contact an appropriate government agency
  3. Find a non-lawyer legal help service, like an app or website

Hiring a Lawyer

See our guide to What You Need to Know About Working With a Lawyer.

For all other needs, try calling your local bar association and ask for a lawyer referral service. You can find a listing of local bar associations through the American Bar Association.

Just as with medical issues, don’t hesitate to get a second (or third) opinion about your legal issue. Lawyers certainly don’t always agree about how to approach a particular situation.

I’m not sure if I can afford a lawyer. What are my options?

Ask your local bar association if they have a sliding scale fee program, sometimes called “low bono.” Or simply tell them you are looking for a lower cost lawyer.

Note about costs: If you are thinking about suing, for certain types of cases, such as employment or personal injury, you may be able to get a lawyer to handle your case for NO out of pocket cost. These lawyers often simply take a percentage of any money you win in court (this is called working on “contingency”).

Free or low cost legal services. If you don’t have much income, you may qualify for pro bono legal services, which is free or low cost legal assistance, which you can find out about at ProBono.net. For small businesses, the SBA (Small Business Administration) offers free consultations with lawyers for those who qualify.

Also try attending a legal clinic. These are events where lawyers are available to talk with you for a limited amount of time. They are usually free or cost a nominal fee, and you can find them at law schools or through community organizations.

Government Resources

Government agencies may be able to help with your situation. For example, regarding consumer issues, contact your local department of consumer affairs.

Non-lawyer Legal Services (Legal apps)

New tech-enabled resources and tools for legal help are emerging constantly. Here are some resources grouped by area of law:

Consumer Complaints

If you have a complaint or dispute as a consumer, FairShake can help you resolve it and get compensation! No cost for you unless you win money.

Need Documents Prepared?

For affordable legal documents and services, including consultations with lawyers, we personally recommend LegalShield.2NOTE: Law Soup Media may receive compensation from this vendor if you use any of their services. We have used every product we recommend, and we stand by them. Thank you for your support!
LegalShield has subscription legal plans to cover your business’s legal needs.

I Need Help With Taxes

For help preparing and filing your taxes, you can work with anyone with an IRS Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). This can include accountants/CPAs, Enrolled Agents, or bookkeepers. Some lawyers help prepare tax filings, but most do not choose to do so; tax lawyers generally focus on helping with audits and other tax controversies. See the IRS directory of tax preparers with a PTIN.

For help with an audit or other controversy with the IRS, you would need to work with either a CPA, tax lawyer, or Enrolled Agent.

Help! I’m Being Sued!

Here’s what you should know.

How much does it cost to get legal help?

See our guide to Legal Costs.

What kind of lawyer do I need?

See our guide What Kind of Lawyer Do I Need?

How do I hire (or fire) a lawyer?

See our guide to What You Need to Know About Working With a Lawyer.

Someone is threatening to do illegal activity or has done illegal activity. What can I do?

If it’s an immediate threat, call 911 right away. See our Guide to Victims Rights for more.

Further Resources

Guide to Exercising Your Rights and Resolving Legal Disputes

You can find more specific resources for California

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