Southwestern Pennsylvania Legal Aid

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A judicial hammer & scales suggest legal action
A judicial hammer & scales suggest legal action
Photo credit: succo from Pixabay

Southwestern Pennsylvania Legal Aid helps residents of Washington County with legal issues related to public assistance and other income-benefit cases, housing discrimination, foreclosures and tenant rights, and in family matters – child custody, child support, divorce, issues with Children and Youth Services and domestic abuse.

Those pro bono, or free, legal services are provided to low-income people. To be accepted as a client of Southwestern Pennsylvania Legal Aid, criteria related to income and assets must be met. The exception is for victims of domestic violence, who are accepted regardless of income or assets.

The outcome of a case should not be determined by the ability to afford an attorney.

Southwestern Pennsylvania Legal Aid

Professional legal assistance is provided to low-income people through attorneys on their staff, local public and private agencies, and partnerships with attorneys in private practice.

Along with Washington County, Southwestern Pennsylvania Legal Aid maintains offices in Greene, Fayette and Somerset Counties.

Southwestern Pennsylvania Legal Aid handles civil cases. Criminal cases for people without the means to pay are handled through the Washington County Public Defender’s office, which provides legal representation for indigent people who are charged with criminal felonies and misdemeanors, DUI charges, violations of protection from abuse orders, juvenile court petitions and involuntary commitments.

In the United States, legal aid for civil cases isn’t guaranteed. In most counties, legal aid is provided by a public interest law firm or a community legal clinic, which may have the phrase “legal aid” in their name. Legal aid has been available in most cities since the 1960s. In the 2000s, the American Bar Association (ABA) went a step further. The ABA defined the availability of legal aid in cases involving government benefits, evictions, domestic violence, immigration status, discrimination and similar issues as a basic human need. Firms and clinics that offer legal aid limit the types of cases they take and usually enforce income and resource ceilings, as there are often too many clients and not enough attorneys or money to do more.

During the coronavirus pandemic of 2020, Southwestern Pennsylvania Legal Aid staff worked remotely during normal business hours.

Southwestern Pennsylvania Legal Aid is located at 10 West Cherry Avenue, Washington, PA 15301.