Legal aid services are struggling to provide assistance to those who really need it and there are not enough private attorneys providing pro bono (free) legal services to cover this significant unmet need . What does this mean for you if you are a low-income American?
What is the Justice Gap?
The constitution requires that every person, regardless of income, has a right to equal access to the courts. But while there is a right to an attorney for criminal cases, there is no law in place to provide individuals with legal representation for civil matters.
For the poor in America, this means that in cases of housing, child support, divorce, and other critical life situations, an individual may be denied access to the courts because he or she cannot afford an attorney.
The only system in place for poor Americans in this case is legal aid groups, which provide free legal assistance to those who qualify—but this system is struggling. This means that more than half of individuals seeking assistance are turned away from legal aid, and there are simply not enough private attorneys providing pro bono (free) legal representation to poor Americans to make a significant difference in closing this justice gap.
What does this mean for you?
If you do qualify for legal aid, there is a significant chance you will not get the legal help you need, and you do not have access to the courts unless you represent yourself. If you make too much money to qualify for legal aid but cannot afford traditional legal services, you are stuck in the same position.
Common and essential civil legal matters that are often denied to those that fall into the justice gap include:
- child support, visitation, and custody
- wills and estate planning
- landlord/tenant (loss of home)
- loss of children (termination of parental rights)
- protective orders for domestic abuse
Despite how common these matters are, the civil legal system is complex and difficult to navigate even for experienced attorneys. This may make it impossible for you to represent yourself in court without assistance from an attorney. And not all representation is equal—you and your case will receive more attention and be taken more seriously if you have legal representation.
If you are unable to receive free legal aid or assistance from attorneys who provide pro bono (free) legal services, DiFilippo Holistic Law Center offers an alternative—affordable, flat-rate legal representation.
How DiFilippo Holistic Law Center helps close the justice gap
DiFilippo Holistic Law Center (DHLC) was created to assist those who fall between qualifying for free legal aid and being able to afford overly expensive attorney fees. Rather than offering pro bono (free) legal services on the side of a traditional law practice, DHLC is dedicated solely and exclusively to helping low-income Texans gain access to the courts.
DHLC is not grant-funded and services are not free, but provided at below-market prices at convenient affordable flat-rates. This non-profit model is an innovative way of providing individuals across Texas with the legal help they need—an idea that is starting to catch on in other states across the country.
DHLC is proud to do our part in helping to close the justice gap, serving Texans that need our help to successfully gain access to the courts.