You have the right to represent yourself in court. Many people represent themselves because they believe they can't afford an attorney, or because they think they can handle their case on their own.

A person handling their own court case without an attorney is sometimes called a "self-represented litigant" or "pro se litigant" (pronounced pro say). Pro se is Latin for "in one's own behalf." 

Even if you plan to represent yourself, it is a good idea to talk to an attorney. This web page provides information about the ways you can find legal help and information. 


Not finding what you're looking for? Email us:

Court Help

Access and Resource Center

The Access and Resource Center is an office of the courts providing these free services:

  • Information about court processes.
  • Help with court forms.
  • Information about ways to get the help of an attorney.
  • Public computers for court-related use.
  • Workstation to attend remote hearings.

Free interpreter services are available. Staff do not provide legal advice.  

Vermont Bar Association

Many people think they can't afford to hire a lawyer. The Vermont Bar Association offers some free and low-cost ways to get legal help.


Vermont Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service

The service provides referrals to Vermont attorneys who provide an initial 30-minute consultation for no more than $25.


    Limited (or "Unbundled" or "Discrete Task") Representation

    This is an agreement between a lawyer and client that the lawyer will provide specific services for a predetermined fee. You may be comfortable handling some parts of your case, but would like the help of a lawyer for other tasks. For example, you could hire the lawyer to provide one or more of these tasks:

    • give you legal advice
    • advise you about the strength of your case
    • draft documents
    • review documents you have drafted
    • get you ready a negotiation
    • handle the discovery process
    • get you ready for a hearing or trial
    • represent you at a hearing or trial
    • interpret a court order

    Not all lawyers practice law this way. When you contact a lawyer, ask them if they are open to this kind of service model. 


    Vermont Free Legal Answers

    A website where you can ask a volunteer attorney questions on a range of civil legal topics including:   

    • Family law, including divorce and custody
    • Housing law, including eviction and homelessness
    • Consumer rights, financial, work, employment and unemployment
    • Health
    • Disability
    • Civil Rights
    • Juvenile
    • Education
    Legal Clinics

    Legal clinics give general legal information and most offer brief legal advice. You can also get help with forms, and ask questions about the law. Most legal clinics handle civil law matters only. Going to a legal clinic can help you decide if you can handle the matter on your own, or if you should hire an attorney.


    Caroline Fund Legal Clinic

    Clinic covers all civil legal topics (such as debt collection, landlord-tenant, probate, and small claims), with an emphasis on family law.

    Held at the Association of Africans Living in Vermont, 20 Allen Street, Burlington. Call 802-355-4968 to schedule an appointment.


    Chittenden County Bar Small Claims Clinic

    Educational clinic for people involved in small claims cases but who don't have an attorney. Provides an opportunity to speak with a lawyer about Small Claims Court generally, and to discuss your case. Topics include:

    • What to expect
    • How to conduct yourself in Small Claims Court
    • How to prepare for your case
    • An evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of your case

    The clinic is not open to those representing businesses in collection cases. The attorney does not provide legal advice or represent you in your case

    Held the first Tuesday of each month, 2:00 - 4:00 p.m. unless the Tuesday is a holiday. The clinic will be held by Zoom. Email Edward D. Fitzpatrick, Esq. at to request a Zoom invitation. If you are new to Zoom, please mention that in your email and provide your phone number.


    Environmental Division Free Legal Clinic

    Held the first Thursday afternoon of each month. Call 802-951-1740 to schedule a one-hour appointment. 


    Free Family Law Clinic

    Legal Services Vermont is hosting a free virtual legal advice clinic for eligible low-income Vermonters. Lawyers will give free legal advice on family-law related issues.

    The clinic is provided by phone, video conference and in person in Burlington and is by appointment only. The clinic will be held Tuesday, September 26 from 9:00 am to noon.

    Attorneys can answer questions about these topics:

    • divorce
    • parentage and adoption
    • child custody, visitation and minor guardianship
    • child support, enforcement and modification
    • post-judgment issues like alimony after a divorce order

    Call 1-800-889-2047 to make an appointment. Leave a message with your name and contact number. Say you are calling about the Family Law Clinic and explain what you need help with.


    Free legal clinics for Vermont seniors 60+

    Vermont Legal Aid is hosting virtual legal advice clinics by phone. Vermont seniors — age 60 or more — can ask legal questions about COVID-19, health care, social security, consumer debt, housing, unemployment and more. 


    Justice for Victims Legal Clinic

    Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence

    Use their legal referral intake form, or call 802-223-1302 ext. 1118, or email

    Focuses on matters arising out of sexual and domestic violence, dating violence, stalking and sex trafficking. Attorneys answer questions, give advice and provide representation related to:

    • relief from abuse/protection orders
    • sexual assault or stalking orders
    • divorce
    • child custody/child support
    • Title IX cases
    • criminal matters if you are the victim participating in a case against a perpetrator
    • accessing restorative justice services


    Orleans County Restorative Justice Center Legal Clinic

    Provides free and low cost 30 minute consultations with local attorneys in the areas of housing, divorce, custody, debt collection and more.

    Held the first Monday of each month, 1:00 - 4:00 pm. Appointment required. Call 802-487-9327 to make an appointment.


    Rent Escrow Clinics

    Legal Services Vermont hosts clinics in Addison, Chittenden, Rutland and Washington counties to help tenants on the day of their rent escrow hearing. Clinics are held in person, by phone, or by WebEx, depending on court operations.

    •    Addison County, 7 Mahady Court, Middlebury. Thursday afternoons.

    •    Chittenden County, 175 Main Street, Burlington. Thursdays.

    •    Rutland County, 83 Center Street, Rutland. Wednesday mornings.

    •    Washington County, 65 State Street, Montpelier. Monday mornings.


    South Royalton Legal Clinic   

    Law students supervised by staff attorneys consult with and represent those who can’t afford an attorney, in the following areas:

    • Immigration cases including asylum; visas for survivors of domestic violence, trafficking, and other crimes; Special Immigrant Juvenile status cases; removal defense cases; and other humanitarian-based immigration relief – statewide
    • Veteran-specific issues dealing with VA disability, discharge upgrades, etc. - statewide
    • Other civil matters for Veterans, including bankruptcy, housing, landlord/tenant, Social Security disability, and wills. For these types of matters, services are for residents of Orange and Windsor counties.  
    • Divorces, parentage/custody issues and assistance to survivors of domestic violence and other victims of crime.  Services are for residents of Windsor/Orange counties. 
    • Court-appointed representation of children in Family and Probate Courts in Orange, Windsor, and Washington counties. 


    802-831-1500 |

    South Royalton Legal Clinic
    PO Box 117
    South Royalton, VT 05068


    South Royalton Legal Clinic - Vermont Immigration Assistance Project    

    Law students supervised by staff attorneys consult with and represent those who can’t afford an attorney in immigration cases including asylum; visas for survivors of domestic violence, trafficking, and other crimes; Special Immigrant Juvenile status cases; removal defense cases; and other humanitarian-based immigration relief. Services availalble statewide.


    802-831-1552 |

    South Royalton Legal Clinic
    PO Box 117
    South Royalton, VT 05068


    Vermont Law and Graduate School – Burlington Extension
    126 College Street
    Burlington, VT 05401


    Steps to End Domestic Violence

    Virtual legal advice clinics for victims of domestic violence in Chittenden County. Clinics are held by phone or Zoom each Monday, 5:30 - 7:30 pm and every other Wednesday, 3:00 - 5:00 p.m. Call 802-658-1996 to schedule an appointment.

    Vermont Legal Aid and Legal Services Vermont

    Vermont Legal Aid and Legal Services Vermont help low-income, disabled, and elderly Vermonters. They give information, advice, and referrals to free or low-cost legal resources.


    Common Legal and Benefits Issues After a Disaster Like Flooding web page

    A listing common problems that can come up after a flooding disaster in Vermont and links to information.


    COVID-19 Coronavirus: Legal and Benefits Updates for Vermonters

    Information on a range of topics including:

    • Housing & Utilities
    • Work & Pay
    • Money & Food
    • Health Care & Long-Term Care
    • Other topics


    Provides general civil (non-criminal) legal information with links to free and low-cost civil legal aid, help and services in Vermont. The website includes:

    • Legal Help Tool that guides people to legal and health care information and to a form to ask for advice when appropriate
    • information and resources about legal rights, the law and the courts
    • help for health care and health insurance issues
    • links to state and community resources
    • legal forms and guides to prepare for a court appearance
    • sample letters to help solve a problem — for example, with a landlord or bill collector


    To ask for help, call 800-889-2047, or fill out the online Legal Help Request Form.

    Forms Help

    Need help with court forms?
    Don't have access to or aren't comfortable using a computer?
    Do you have a disability?
    Do you speak a language other than English?

    Help is available.


    Forms helpers can

    • Find forms on the Judiciary’s website.
    • Define terms and explain the purpose of a form.
    • Act as scribes, writing exactly what you say.
    • Explain basic steps in a court case.
    • Provide information about ways to find legal help.


    Forms helpers can’t

    • Give legal advice.
    • Choose what words to write.
    • Recommend arguments or defenses.
    • Speculate about the strength of your case.
    • File documents for you.
    • Serve documents for you.
    • Notarize documents.


    Case types include:

    • Divorce
    • Eviction
    • Expungement
    • Guardianship
    • Name change
    • Parentage
    • Small claims
    • Stalking
    • Traffic cases
    • Other issues 


    Chittenden County

    Forms help provided in person at the Vermont Judiciary Access and Resource Center.

    Walk-in hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9:00 am - 2:00 pm.

    Costello Courthouse, Ground Floor. 32 Cherry Street, Burlington.

    Staff do not provide legal advice. 

    For help outside of walk-in hours, email

    Free interpreter services available.


    Orleans County

    Forms help provided in person at the Orleans County Restorative Justice Center in Newport.

    Drop-in hours: Wednesdays, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm

    79 Coventry Street, Suite 5, Newport.

    Staff do not provide legal advice. 

    Limited free interpreter services available: French, Spanish, and Ukrainian.


    All Other Counties

    Forms help provided by phone, or by video using Teams or Webex. Contact the Access and Resource Center to schedule an appointment. Staff will respond within one business day.

    Staff are unable to help with forms for emergency processes such as Relief from Abuse. For information about ways to get immediate help with a request for a Relief from Abuse order, please call:

    • Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-228-7395
    • Sexual Violence Hotline: 800-489-7273

    Staff do not provide legal advice. 

    Free interpreter services available.

    Other Resources

    Community Legal Information Center

    Julien and Virginia Cornell Library, Vermont Law and Graduate School, South Royalton.

    Provides public access to legal research databases, Vermont legal materials and self-help books. Call the Ask a Librarian Line at 802-831-1313 and leave your number and a detailed message, or email, or visit in person.


    Court Staff

    Court staff can answer general questions about court procedures and refer you to resources on the Vermont Judiciary's website, including court forms and information about court processes. Court staff cannot give you legal advice or tell you whether you should or shouldn't do something.  


    Vermont Legal Resources for Civil Matters

    Guide to resources created by the staff of Julien and Virginia Cornell Library, Vermont Law and Graduate School.


    Consumer Assistance Program at the University of Vermont 

    Provides help with problems with purchased goods or services they purchased and provide information and consumer rights and responsibilities.


    Vermont Attorney General 

    The Attorney General's office provides information in a variety of areas including:

    • Employment
    • Money and Credit
    • Products and Services
    • Health and Product Safety
    • Patent Trolling
    • Privacy and Data Security
    • Heating Fuel Service
    • Charities and Paid Fundraisers
    • Criminal Justice
    • Environmental Protection


    Vermont Public Libraries

    Public libraries provide internet access and printers, and may have books about the law.


    Vermont State Agencies

    State agencies provide services to Vermont children, seniors, people with disabilities, veterans, domestic violence victims and others.


    Vermont 2-1-1

    Provides referrals to social service agencies and programs to help with food, housing, clothing, utilities, health care, senior issues, and other needs.


    ACLU of Vermont

    Works to advance the civil rights and civil liberties of all Vermonters. Efforts are focused on broad range of issues impacting Vermonters' constitutional rights, including racial justice, criminal justice reform, women's rights, LGBTQ rights, disability rights, voting rights, immigrants' rights, freedom of speech, religious liberty, reproductive freedom, privacy, and more. 


    Association of Africans Living in Vermont 

    Provides free help and representation in immigration issues including:

    • Adjustment of status to lawful permanent residence
    • Asylum
    • Citizenship
    • Family Reunification
    • Temporary Protected Status
    • Victims' Visas
    • Violence Against Women Act Petitions
    • Work and Travel Authorization


    Community Justice Centers

    Restorative justice addresses a criminal act in the context of the people harmed and the community affected. People who offend harm victims, community, and themselves, so restorative justice facilitates the mending of these relationships and helps prevent further offending.


    Disability Rights Vermont

    Works to address problems, questions and complaints from Vermonters with disabilities. Provides information, referral and advocacy services, including legal representation.


    Vermont Center for Crime Victim Services

    Helps people who have suffered physical, financial, or emotional harm because they were the victim of a crime. 


    Vermont Human Rights Commission

    Protects people from unlawful discrimination in housing, state government employment, and public accommodations.


    Vermont Immigrant Assistance Project

    Immigration law help provided including asylum, VAWA, U and T Visas, Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, and deferred action cases.


    Vermont Veterans Legal Assistance Project

    Helps veterans with appeals from the denial of VA benefits and discharge upgrades. Helps veterans in Windsor and Orange counties with civil legal problems in areas such as bankruptcy, fam

    Vermont Judiciary Website

    The Vermont Judiciary website provides information and court forms on common legal issues including Relief from Abuse, Divorce, Eviction and Small Claims cases.