Free Legal Advice In Houston: Low Income Lawyers To Help You With Legal Issues
Seeing hourly rates of $400 per hour would certainly scare off most people seeking legal assistance, but what if I told you there were places in Houston that will help you for free?
These places I speak of are called legal clinics and there are lots of them in Houston.
Free legal aid offices are nonprofit agencies that offer legal help to people who typically cannot afford the cost of a Houston attorney. Whether you need help with divorce, child support, immigration, or anything else there is a good chance you will find a free Houston legal clinic below to help you with your specific situation.
Below you will find a listing of agencies that provide legal aid in Houston to low-income clients. Some of these clinics will be free others will charge a nominal fee.
You can also use the table below to find legal assistance in Houston. Type in the area of law you are seeking (immigration, child support, bankruptcy, etc) and you will see a listing of agencies to assist you.
|Name||Contact||Areas of Law/Services|
|ACLU website||713.942.8146||Civil rights, racial equality, LBGTQ, Immigration, Voting rights, free speech violations,|
|Houston Volunteer Lawyerswebsite||713.228.5826 1111 Bagby, Suite FLB300, Houston, TX 77002||Legal clinics, Veterans, pro bono attorneys,|
|Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) website||713.228.0735 ext 102 712 Main St, Suite 2700, Houston, TX 77002||Pro bono attorneys , family separation, counseling, immigration, asylum, visas, protection from deportation,|
|YMCA International Services||713.339.9015, 6300 Westpark, Suite 600, Houston, TX 77057||Asylum, refugees, domestic violence, human trafficking, naturalization, citizenship, family reunification, refugee employment, civics classes, immigration,|
|Texas Accountants and Lawyers for the Arts website||713. 526.4876, 1540 Sul Ross, Houston, TX 77006||Patent attorneys, copyright, trademarking, licensing, dispute resolution, legal help for artists,|
|Lone Star Legal Aid website||800.733.8394||Domestic violence, expungement, help enrolling children into Medicaid, bankruptcy, renters rights, unlawful termination, child support, family law, guardianship, foreclosure, housing, adoption, parental rights, landlord problems, IRS, veterans,|
|Advocate Legal Senior Center website||832.393.4074, 3611 Ennis St, Houston, TX 77004||Guardianship, geriatric, veterans benefits, SSI, Social security, senior housing, probate, estate planning, wills, trusts,|
|Texas Advocacy Project website||800.374.HOPE||Domestic violence, sexual assault, protective orders, Crime Victim's Compensation Program, divorce, legal clinics,|
|Central American Resource Center website||713.665.1284, 6006 Bellaire Blvd, Suite 100, Houston, TX 77081||DACA, visa, asylum, naturalization, citizenship, domestic violence, human trafficking, immigration,|
|Catholic Charities Immigrant Legal Clinic Website||713.874.6750 or 713.595.4100||Immigration, DACA, citizenship classes, refugee, asylum, visas, unaccompanied minors, family law, US passport services, legal clinics,|
|Texas Veterans Legal Assistance Project Website||512.477.6600||Military discharge upgrades, Probate, Bankruptcy, Housing, Employment, Family law
Expungement, Department of VA benefits
|South Texas College of Law Houston Website||713.646.2990 ext 2933||Child Welfare, Estate Planning, Family Law, Guardianship, Probate, Veterans|
|University of Houston Law Center website||713.743.2094, 4604 Calhoun Rd, Houston, TX 77204||Pro bono legal clinic offering help to those with low-income.|
|Texas Southern University Legal Clinic Website||713.313.7275, 3100 Cleburne Street, Suite 100, Houston, TX 77004||Criminal Law, Family Law Clinic,
Immigration Law Clinic, Wills, Probate, Guardianship
|Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs website||512.475.3800||Offers programs like foreclosure prevention, housing discrimination, utility assistance and more.|
|Houston Apartment Association website||713.595.0300, 4810 Westway Park Blvd, Houston, TX 77041||Resolves disputes between tenant and landlord. Provides consultation to renters, an online complaint form and resources for both landlords and renters. Housing, renters, landlords, evictions,|
|Texas Attorney General website||800.621.0508||Renters rights, housing discrimination, online consumer complaint form, housing, renters, landlords, evictions, crime victims compensation,|
Stop TX Eviction: Texas Legal Assistance If Your Are Facing Eviction
Stop TX Eviction is a website that was created to help you understand your tenant rights and avoid evictions during the pandemic.
The main ways this free legal assistance website can help you are:
- Teaching you about your tenant rights to help you avoid eviction.
- Gives you access to documents that you can give to your landlord or a judge to help you stay in your home.
- Helps you find legal assistance in Houston or wherever you live in Texas.
- Directs you to rental assistance programs that can help you pay rent during the pandemic. Texas Rent Relief is currently the largest rent assistance program in Texas. You can contact them by dialing 833.989.7368.
According to Texas Eviction Diversion, this program can help you avoid eviction by connecting you to resources that pay up to 6 months of rent. This program would also seal the court records of the eviction hearing to ensure that it does not impact your rental history.
For more information visit Stop TX Eviction to complete their survey to see if you qualify for rental assistance or free legal help.
Neighborhood Recovery Community Development Corporation
The NRCDC is a Houston nonprofit that offers education to the community about important topics like housing, homeownership, and lots of legal matters.
Each week NRCDC provides free webinars to teach you about legal and housing issues. I attended a zoom meeting regarding the eviction process and came away with a solid understanding of the process of eviction. If you work in the community, I’d highly recommend signing up for their email list so that you receive alerts about upcoming webinars.
For more information, you can visit the Neighborhood Recovery Community Development Corporation website, visit their office at 5445 Almeda Road, Suite 505, Houston, TX 77004, or call them at 713.520.5232.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas or ACLU is a civil rights organization that has been around since 1938.
- Protecting civil rights
- Racial equality
- LBGTQ equality
- Immigration rights
- Voting rights
- Free speech violations
This Houston legal aid program does not accept the following cases:
- Criminal defense
- Divorce or child custody
- Tax problems
- Workers comp
- Landlord and tenant disagreements
- The ACLU is not a volunteer attorney referral service
If you ever have questions regarding current events like protester’s rights, rights during COVID-19 pandemic, free speech, or anything else the ACLU has lots of Know Your Rights resources to help you easily understand these matters.
Houston Volunteer Lawyers (Houston Bar Association)
Houston Volunteer Lawyers is one place you can see free legal advice in Houston.
This organization is a part of the Houston Bar Association and they provide pro bono legal aid to clients.
Eligibility to receive services are as follows:
- Live in Harris County
- Your household income is less than 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines
- You also have limited assets.
There are some exceptions that Houston Volunteer Lawyers will accept:
- US Veterans and spouses of deceased veterans below 300% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines who live in Austin, Bell, Brazoria, Brazos, Chambers, Galveston, Grimes, Ft Bend, Hardin, Harris, Liberty, Matagorda, Montgomery, San Jacinto, Walker, Waller or Washington counties.
- Individuals with HIV/AIDS below 300% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines in Brazoria, Chambers, Ft. Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery, and Waller County.
- Lastly, individuals with IRS problems whose household income falls below 250% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.
This organization does not accept the following cases:
- Fee-generating cases
To apply for legal assistance you can download the Houston Volunteer Lawyers legal assistance application or complete the online form.
To learn more about their monthly free Houston legal clinics or anything else contact them at 713.228.0735, visit their office at 1111 Bagby, Suite FLB300, Houston, TX 77002, or visit the Houston Volunteer Lawyers website.
Kids in Need of Defense (KIND)
Kids in Need of Defense offers assistance to those needing legal aid in Houston regarding immigration, asylum, visas, protection from deportation, family separation, and other issues.
Other services that this Houston legal aid agency provides are:
- Legal Services – KIND can offer Houston pro bono attorneys to represent children.
- Family Separation – This service addresses cases where kids may have been separated from their parents at the border.
- Social Services – They help children adjust to a new country with referrals to counseling, play therapy, school enrollment, linkage to health insurance, and even job placement.
If you work with an immigrant population and need guidance on resources available to unaccompanied migrant children or any relative legal matters contact KIND at 713.228.0735 ext 102 or visit their office at 712 Main St, Suite 2700, Houston, TX 77002.
YMCA International Services
YMCA International Services offers legal help in Houston to those needing immigration assistance.
Help is available to asylum seekers with low-income domestic violence support in Houston, assist crime victims and survivors of human trafficking. Other legal services that YMCA International can assist with include family reunification visas and help with naturalization applications.
Note: Some consultations may require a $40 fee.
Additional programs offer here are:
- Trafficked Persons Assistance Program – Case management and resources are offered to survivors of human trafficking.
- Refugee Employment Services – YMCA helps to quickly connect Houston refugees to jobs once they arrive in the country via their network of contacts.
- 10 Week Civics classes to prepare you for the naturalization exam.
- ESL classes
- Refugee Scholarship Program – Money for school/training for those who are refugees.
For more information about this Houston legal aid agency call them at 713.339.9015 or visit their office at 6300 Westpark, Suite 600, Houston, TX 77057.
Texas Accountants and Lawyers for the Arts
TALA offers free legal assistance in Houston to artists and nonprofits.
Services offered include:
- Patent attorneys in Houston to help inventors
- Education programs for artist and in similar businesses
- Copyright law
- Dispute Resolution
To qualify for TALA services you must complete an application for the Individual Artist Membership and your household be less than 300% of the Federal Poverty Level. They also offer memberships for nonprofits.
Essentially if you are an artist or inventor in Houston with intellectual property who needs legal advice Texas Accountants and Lawyers for the Arts can help you.
For more information call TALA at 713. 526.4876 or visit their location at 1540 Sul Ross, Houston, TX 77006.
Lone Star Legal Aid
Lone Star Legal Aid is another local nonprofit that provides free legal advice in Houston.
COVID-19 Resource Finder Tools
You will find 3 useful tools that take all the guesswork out of connecting clients to resources related to COVID-19.
The way it works is you complete multi-question surveys that will ask you questions and then make recommendations based on your answers.
You can find the following tools on the Lone Star Legal Aid website:
- Eviction Interview Tool – This questionnaire will help you better understand the eviction process and create documents for you to use in court.
- COVID-19 Benefits Tool – You will be asked a series of questions to determine which government benefits you qualify for. This includes benefits like paid sick leave, unemployment benefits, and more.
- Foreclosure Interview Tool – This survey helps you understand what forbearance and provides you with letters to send to your mortgage company.
To find these 3 tools you will need to click on the COVID-19 Eviction and other Resources link.
Free Legal Advice Offered at Lone Star Legal Aid
Below you will find the types of legal matters Lone Star Legal Aid can assist you with.
- Civil Matters – Services for post-conviction reentry to society. This can include obtaining proper ID, getting criminal records, expungement of your record, truancy violations, etc.
- Kids Health Insurance – Connects children to Medicaid and CHIP health insurance if you meet income requirements. Contact 713.652.0077 ext 8103 for more information on this Houston legal assistance program.
- Consumer – Fraud, breaches of contract, debt collection abuses, unlawful repossessions, bankruptcy, predatory lending, student financial aid program abuses
- Crime Victim Unit – Helps to recover from crimes like robbery, assault, bullying, ID theft, elder abuse, provide low-income domestic violence support, cybercrimes, and more.
- Disaster Relief – Helps you understand flood insurance, renter’s rights, how FEMA works, and more.
- Employment– Find assistance with discrimination claims, unlawful termination, safety at work, etc.
- Family law – This includes help with divorce, family child abuse legal defense in Harris County, child support, parental rights termination defense, adoption, and guardianship
- Foreclosure Prevention Project – Provides assistance preventing or delaying foreclosure, offers advice, possible representation in court
- Health Care – Help navigating a legal issue related to Medicaid, Medicare, nursing home problems, private insurance, denial at an ER, and more.
- Housing – Eviction defense, utilities shut off, property tax problems, landlord breach of duty to repair, housing discrimination
- Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic – Representation for low-income clients when dealing with IRS audits, appeals, and collections.
- Military & Veterans Unit – Assists veterans with bankruptcy, VA benefits, employment, housing, child support, wills, divorce, and more.
- Neighborhood Problems – Find free legal advice in Houston for municipal services, public utilities, code enforcement
- Public Education – Truancy, discrimination, enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act,
- Welfare and Income – Guidance on TANF, SSI, food stamps, disability, unemployment, workers comp
For assistance, you can call Lone Star Legal Aid at 800.733.8394.
Advocate Legal Senior Center
Advocate Legal Senior Center is another place you can find free legal advice in Houston.
They provide multiple services although their primary focus is guardianship. If you need help obtaining a guardianship in Houston for a senior who has a physical or mental disability they can help you.
Here are other areas of law they can help with:
- Housing – Reverse mortgages, Section 8, eviction defense, utility shut-offs, help finding an apartment, guidance on 55 and older communities, housing discrimination, and more.
- Government Benefits – Helps understand the navigation process with Medicare, Social Security Income and, Social Security Disability, VA benefits, and other government programs.
- Public Benefits – Conducts needs assessments for SNAP or food stamps, TANF/welfare, and Medicaid
- Geriatric Care – Advocate Legal Senior Center offers Geriatric case managers to help you deal with aging issues. This assistance can include advice, advocacy, and referrals to local programs.
- Texas Probate and Estate Planning – Find help with wills, trusts, Powers of Attorney, Advance Medical Directives, Heirships, Dependent Administrations, Probate as a Muniment of Title
- Guardianship Classes in Houston – Find more information about the Guardianship/Conservatorship Program.
If you have a specific legal question, simply call 832.393.4074, visit the Advocate Legal Senior Center website or their office at 3611 Ennis St, Houston, TX 77004.
Texas Advocacy Project
Texas Advocacy Project is a legal agency that focuses on issues like domestic violence and sexual assault.
Here are a few of the legal services offered here:
- Emergency Protective Orders – These are essentially 31-91 day “stay-away” orders to protect victims and give them the time formula a safety plan.
- Resources To Keep You Safe – Texas Advocacy Project can help you connect to Crime Victim’s Compensation Programs to help you relocate if necessary.
- Assisted Pro Se – These services will help you with legal documents for divorces and protective orders.
- Legal Representation – Free domestic violence lawyers to help with child support and more.
- Free Virtual Legal Clinics – You can learn about topics from your computer like protective orders, divorce, child custody, visitation, property settlement, etc.
To apply for legal services you can complete the Texas Advocacy Project online intake form. For questions, call them at 800.374.HOPE.
Central American Resource Center
This nonprofit provides immigrant legal services in Houston. Some of those services include:
- Asylum applications and representation
- Naturalization/Citizenship assistance
- DACA help
- T and U visa assistance
- Help with domestic violence and human trafficking
- Help to complete forms and more
For more information, you can call the Central American Resource Center at 713.665.1284 or visit their office at 6006 Bellaire Blvd, Suite 100, Houston, TX 77081.
Catholic Charities Immigrant Legal Assistance
Catholic Charities offers a legal aid clinic in Houston called the St. Frances Cabrini Center. Some of the services they provide include:
- Help Renewing DACA
- Citizenship Clinic – You can find Houston citizenship attorneys to help you complete the application and answer any questions.
- Cases involving naturalization, refugee or asylee adjustment, help with visas, unaccompanied minors, and deferred action
- Cases related to employment immigration, family law or U.S. Passport services are NOT accepted
- The Immigrants Right Legal Hotline (833.468.4664) is open Monday through Friday and can help you with legal advice also.
- You can find even more help via the Houston Immigration Legal Services Collaborative
The intake fee for legal assistance is $50.
Note: Older refugees, crime victim cases, and those with income below 125% of the Federal Poverty Level do not pay this fee. Check their website or call them to ensure this is still accurate.
For questions, you can visit the Catholic Charities Immigration Legal Assistance website or call them at 713.874.6750 or 713.595.4100.
Texas Veterans Legal Assistance Project
TVLAP provides free legal advice in Houston for veterans.
Here are some of the services offered:
- Military discharge upgrades
- Family law
- Department of VA benefits
To qualify for services you must be a Texas resident, a veteran (or spouse), and your household income is less than 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.
For legal help, you can visit the Texas Veterans Legal Assistance Project website or call them at 512.477.6000.
South Texas College of Law Houston
This Houston Law School offers legal representation to low-income clients.
Areas of that that they can potentially help you with include:
- Child Welfare
- Estate Planning
- Family Law
To see if you qualify for free legal aid, visit the South Texas College of Law website or call them at 713.646.2990 ext 2933.
University of Houston Law Center
This Houston legal clinic offers pro-bono assistance to low-income clients in Harris County.
Visit the UH Law Center website, their office at 4604 Calhoun Rd, Houston, TX 77204, or call them at 713.743.2094 for more information.
Texas Southern University Legal Clinic
The Thurgood Marshall School of Law offers legal assistance in the following areas:
- Criminal Law
- Family Law Clinic
- Immigration Law Clinic
For more information, visit the Texas Southern website, call them at 713.313.7275 or drive over to the school at 3100 Cleburne Street, Suite 100, Houston, TX 77004.
Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs
TDHCA is a state agency that focuses on helping residents by providing education and programs related to housing, community needs, and energy assistance programs.
Specific programs offered through the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs are:
- Foreclosure Prevention – This Texas foreclosure assistance program helps you to understand your options and work with your mortgage company on a solution to keeping your home. You can call them at 888.995.4673 for more information.
- Housing Discrimination – Whether this program can help yo u to understand your rights as a tenant and provide guidance if you have been discriminated against by a landlord. You can reach them at 888.452.4778 for more details.
- Utility Assistance – This program can direct you to places that will assist you with utility assistance in Houston. Dial them at 877.399.8939 to find help paying bills in your area.
For more details on the programs offered visit the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs website or call them at 512.475.3800.
Houston Apartment Association
Houston Apartment Association acts as a liaison between landlords and tenants. If you have a dispute with your landlord HAA is an organization that can help you come to a resolution.
In addition to this they also provide:
- An Online Complaint Form to help you resolve issues.
- Consultation to renters to better understand their rights. Call them at 713.595.0300.
- Renters resources. These include COVID-19, assistance programs and more.
- Resources for landlords
For more information, visit the Houston Apartment Association website, their main office at 4810 Westway Park Blvd, Houston, TX 77041 or call them at 713.595.0300.
Texas Attorney General – Tenant Rights
This 37-page Texas Tenant’s Rights Handbook offers lots of information regarding security deposits, lockouts, evictions, and more.
Free Legal Advice Online: Free Lawyer Consultation Websites
Another way to receive legal advice for free is visiting websites that offer free to low cost legal consultations online. Some of these websites include:
Your goal may be to call one of these Houston pro bono attorneys and have them represent you in court, although depending on their schedule they may not be able to do this.
An alternative to this is to simply seek “one-time” legal guidance from places like legal clinics in Houston. At these events, you can sit down with a lawyer, ask your questions, and receive free legal advice on exactly what you should do next to solve your legal problem.
You don’t know what you don’t know and this is especially true regarding the law, therefore if you need representation consider contacting one of these legal aid organizations above.
Editor’s Note: While there are some legal aid offices in Houston that will answer your questions over the phone, most will not. These agencies do not have lawyers on standby to answer legal questions. They can however explain the process of requesting legal assistance or advice and potentially have an attorney to call you back.
Nick Bryant is the author of Understanding Healthcare Is Half The Battle and a Senior Counselor with 13+ years of experience working in community health and mental health. He enjoys spending time with his family, watching WWE on Friday nights, and working toward a Google Data Analytics certification. If you have additional questions about community resources or government assistance programs, simply leave a comment below and he will follow up as soon as possible.