The law can be difficult, and some cases are too complicated to do without a lawyer. Your case may seem simple, but talking to a lawyer at the outset can be helpful. Even if you don’t hire a lawyer to represent you in court, a lawyer can give you advice tailored to your own case. This will help you better represent yourself.
Vermont Legal Aid and Legal Services Law Line of Vermont help low-income, disabled, and elderly Vermonters. They give information, advice, and referrals to free or low-cost legal projects. They also run the Vermont Law Help website, with easy-to-read information on common legal issues.
- If you call 1-800-889-2047, they can
- Tell you whether you qualify for free or low-cost legal help through Legal Aid or Law Line
- Tell you whether you qualify for free or low-cost legal help through the Vermont Bar Association
- Offer over-the-phone guidance about some issues
- If you visit the Vermont Law Help website, you can
- Find the information you need and apply online for legal help
- Link to Vermont Free Legal Answers, a service that allows low-income Vermonters to ask a volunteer lawyer legal questions online
The Vermont Bar Association can also help you find a lawyer.
- Their lawyers offer an initial 30-minute consultation for no more than $25. Call 1-800-639-7036
- You can also link through the VBA web site to Vermont Free Legal Answers. This service allows low-income Vermonters to ask a volunteer lawyer legal questions online
- If you can't afford to hire a lawyer to represent you in court, many lawyers will agree to give you advice on an as-needed basis. This can reduce the cost of legal help
- You can hire a lawyer to represent you in just part of your case but not the whole thing. This is called unbundling legal services or limited representation. It can be more affordable. For example, in a divorce, you may ask a lawyer to represent you only in the child support hearing
- Some counties have legal clinics staffed on a volunteer basis by local attorneys. You would have to make an appointment to meet with a lawyer at the clinic. Check with the court staff to see if such a program is available in your county
The court staff has sample forms for you to use and can give you general directions about the court process. But court staff cannot give you legal advice or suggest to you what you should do. The court must be neutral. It is your responsibility to know the law and how the facts of your case apply.
Whether or not you get legal advice from a lawyer, there are other people who may be able to help you. These people cannot give you the kind of legal advice a lawyer can.
- Your local librarian may be able to help you find resources, search online, download and print forms, or get books from other libraries. You can find your local library through the Vermont Department of Libraries.
- The Vermont Law School in South Royalton has a Community Legal Information Corner (CLIC). This is located at the Vermont Law School law library. At CLIC you can use the online legal research service called Westlaw, various self-help books, and Vermont legal materials. Librarians can give you guidance about your legal research. Contact the Ask a Law Librarian Line at 802-831-1313 or email reference questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- You can find links to state agencies at www.vermont.gov. The Agency of Health and Human Services has lots of information about children, the elderly, veterans, domestic violence, and more.
- Within Vermont you can call 2-1-1 or visit www.vermont 211.org for referrals to social service agencies. They can steer you to programs to help with food, housing, clothing, utilities, health care, and senior issues. They can also help with other needs.
- The court staff has sample forms for you to use and can give you general directions about the court process. But court staff cannot give you legal advice or suggest what you should do. The court must be neutral. It is your responsibility to know the law and how the facts of your case apply.