Legal Services Vermont and Vermont Legal Aid — How We Can Help
Key sections of this video:
00:00 How we can help
04:14 How to contact us
07:29 How we work
09:44 Our staff will decide how best to help you
13:19 What are civil legal services?
16:51 Are you a victim of crime or abuse?
18:03 Working together for justice
On screen: A presenter in a suit presents this information in American Sign Language.
Narrator: Legal Services Vermont and Vermont Legal Aid provide civil legal help (but not criminal legal help) to low-income Vermont residents. Our services are free.
Legal Services Vermont screens all requests for legal help. If we can help with a legal problem, we will refer you to our lawyers and advocates or we will refer you to lawyers and advocates at Vermont Legal Aid. We also might refer you to other programs.
Contact us to find out if we can help you. We may be able to give you advice. We may be able to tell you where to find information to help you represent yourself in court.
We can’t help everyone who needs help. We may not be able to help you based on your income. We do not have enough lawyers to help everyone who asks us.
How to contact us
If you need help, call us at 1-800-889-2047 and leave a message, or use our online Legal Help Request Form at VTLawHelp.org.
Our offices are open Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
We get a lot of requests for help. Don't wait until the last minute to call us about an urgent problem!
Don't forget to tell us your phone number and email address, and let us know the best time to call you back. Please keep a lookout for our return call. It will be from a phone number that you probably don’t recognize!
How we work
We will ask you a few questions to determine if you are eligible to speak to one of our lawyers. This is called the “intake process.”
For example, we will ask you for:
- personal information such as your address, telephone number, your age, if you are married, and the number of people living with you
- a description of the problem or issue you are contacting us about
- the amount of your income and assets to determine if we can help you
All the information you tell us is protected. It will not be shared without your permission.
Our staff will decide how best to help you
Depending on your situation and if you qualify for help, you may get:
- legal advice over the phone or video
- information in the mail or by email
- limited legal research
- a referral to an advocate or lawyer to help you
- a referral to another agency, or
- a referral to a private lawyer
Please note: We can't help you with traffic violations. We can’t help you with most personal injury cases and real estate law. We also can't defend you in a criminal case. (However, we can help if you need legal help due to being a victim of crime.)
What are civil legal services?
Vermont Legal Aid, Legal Services Vermont, and other civil legal aid organizations are dedicated to helping and representing people in civil legal matters. These are lawsuits and other legal proceedings that do not involve a crime.
For example, civil legal cases include most landlord and tenant disputes, bankruptcy, credit card issues, discrimination, Reach Up and Social Security benefits cases, and other similar problems.
Public Defenders and other organizations help people involved in a criminal case, which is when the government accuses you of committing a criminal act. We cannot help if you’re accused of a crime.
Are you a victim of crime or abuse?
If you have a legal problem due to being a victim of crime or abuse, contact us to see how we can help you.
Even if you have not made a police report, you may be eligible for legal help if you have legal problems because of the crime.
Working together for justice
Legal Services Vermont and Vermont Legal Aid work together for justice for Vermonters.
On screen: Contact us, 1-800-889-2047, www.VTLawHelp.org
End of transcript.