I HAVE A CIVIL LEGAL PROBLEM. WHERE DO I GET HELP?
The Office of Civil Legal Aid is not a provider of civil legal aid services. Services are provided by non-profit legal aid organizations throughout the state.
There are different ways of accessing legal help depending on where you live.
If You Are Low-Income, and Do Not Live in King County
Call CLEAR (toll free) 1-888-201-1014 for legal assistance, advice, information and, if you need more extensive legal services, a referral to a local legal aid provider. CLEAR operates from 9:15 to 12:25 Monday through Friday. Interpreters will be provided as needed at no cost to callers.
CLEAR is a high volume legal aid service. Often there are more people trying to reach CLEAR than there are attorneys to help them. You may get an “all circuits are busy” message or a message that says CLEAR is temporarily closed. Please be patient and keep trying. The line may reopen at any time and you will get through.
For more information about CLEAR, go to: http://www.nwjustice.org/get-legal-help
You may be able to request a call from CLEAR or find out whether CLEAR can help you by applying through CLEAR*Online.
At CLEAR*Online you may:
- Submit an application 24/7 for legal assistance. You may submit an application for help with most problems relating to public benefits or loss of housing. You may request that CLEAR call you in one of 3 time windows between 8:15AM and 4:00 PM in which to receive a callback or you may call CLEAR.
- Obtain a preliminary screening for other types of legal problems. If it looks like you will qualify for assistance (financially and problem type), your information will be transferred to CLEAR so that when you call CLEAR, the intake interview will take less time.
- Find other resources related to the problem: Whether or not you qualify for assistance from CLEAR, at the end of the application NJP will provide publications, other organizations and web resources that may help resolve the problem.
You may go to CLEAR*Online at: http://nwjustice.org/clear-online
If You Are Low-income, and Live in King County
Call 211 for information and referral to an appropriate legal services provider Monday through Friday from 8:00 am – 6:00 pm. You may also call (206) 461-3200, or the toll-free number, which may be useful when calling from a pay phone, 1-877-211-9274. 211 provides interpreters as needed at no cost to callers. Deaf and hearing-impaired callers can call 1-800-833-6384 or 711 to be connected to a relay operator at no cost, who will then connect them with 211. Information on legal service providers may also be accessed through 211’s website at www.resourcehouse.info/win211/.
If You Are A Senior Over 60
Call CLEAR*Sr (toll free) at 1-888-387-7111 (available statewide regardless of income).
Important Note: Clients who contact CLEAR*Sr starting at 9:15 a.m. will be asked to leave a message with their name, phone number and whether it is all right to leave a message. The CLEAR*Sr line will close once the voice mail message system is full. Low-income seniors may call the CLEAR line at 1-888-201-1014, from 9:15 a.m. – 12:25 p.m. Also, low-income seniors calling the CLEAR*Sr line at 1-888-387-7111 have the option to transfer to the CLEAR line and be screened for eligibility that day.
What Can You Expect When You Call CLEAR or CLEAR*Sr?
Before CLEAR can assist you, a screener must determine that you are eligible for services. Due to limited resources, lawyers and paralegals cannot speak to every caller and services are targeted to people with problems that affect basic needs such as housing, income, medical care and family safety.
In order to make sure CLEAR does not jeopardize your rights or the rights of another client because of a conflict of interest, CLEAR staff will ask you for information about the person, business or agency with which you are having a problem.
If you are calling on behalf of another person, CLEAR staff will determine whether they can speak with you or whether they need to speak directly with the person on whose behalf you are calling.
If you are eligible to speak with a lawyer or paralegal, he or she will ask you about your problem. Please have papers or documents concerning your problem with you when you call. It will also help if you have important information such as the names of people involved with the problem, and their addresses and telephone numbers.
Based on the information you give to the CLEAR advocate, they may give you verbal or written advice that may help you to solve your problem on your own. They also have an extensive library of informational materials to help you understand your legal rights and to advocate on your own behalf. If your problem is covered by any of these materials, the CLEAR advocate will send them to you free of charge.
In some cases, the CLEAR advocate may try to solve your problem through negotiation.
If your problem is more complicated and you need representation, the CLEAR advocate will try to refer you to a legal aid provider in your community.
Self-Help Information, Court Forms and Brochures
If you are looking for basic information about the law, legal problems and self-help solutions on a variety of topics, go to www.WashingtonLawHelp.org. At WashingtonLawHelp you can find hundreds of up-to-date pamphlets and materials on many issues that affect low-income people. These are arranged by category of legal problems:
- Family Law
- Consumer and Debt
- Government Benefits
- Aging/Elder, Immigration
- Civil Rights
- Domestic Violence and Anti-harassment
- Employment/Farm Worker Rights
- Native American
Many self-help resources are available in languages other than English, including Arabic, Cambodian, Chinese, Spanish, Hmong, Japanese, Khmer, Korean, Laotian, Russian, Somali and Vietnamese.
Links to other legal and law related information and resources, including legal research resources, can be found at www.wajusticenet.org