Legal Services

Legal Clinics

University of Pittsburgh School of Law Civil Practice Clinic

Law students working in the Civil Practice Clinic will discuss your problem with you and then consult their experienced supervising attorneys to determine if they can assist you.  If the clinic can be of assistance a team of law students will research your problem, help you file important papers, and, if necessary, represent you at hearings in court.  Free legal services are available for eligible low-income individuals.  Contact the clinic for eligibility details.

Free legal help is offered in the following areas:

  • Disability claims
  • HMO problems
  • Medical Assistance/Medicare
  • Competency hearings
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Guardianship issues

For more information on the services provided by the Civil Practice Clinic, or to set up a consultation, please call (412) 648-1300.  You may also refer to the program's website or e-mail the program for more information.

Source Information for the University of Pittsburgh Civil Practice Clinic can be found here.

Duquesne University Clinical Legal Education Clinics

Duquesne University has a number of different clinics that provide students with the opportunity to practice law in a realistic setting, under the direction of licensed attorneys, while also providing the community with thorough legal representation at no cost to the individual.

The different clinics include:

  • Bill of Rights Clinic - students assist individuals with civil rights claims.
  • Community Enterprise Clinic - students assist non-profit groups that assist distressed communities.
  • Federal Practice Clinic - students provide representation to inmates in federal prison and provide pro bono work in civil rights matters.
  • Pro Se Motions Clinic - students provide assistance to litigants from the Family Court of Allegheny County to resolve matters involving visitation, custody, and paternity.
  • Urban Development Clinic - students provide pro bono services to organizations working in distressed communities.
  • Unemployment Compensation Clinic - students provide assistance to low-income individuals with unemployment compensation matters.
  • Veterans Clinic - students provide representation to veterans who have been charged with crimes through the Veterans Court of the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas.

For more information on the services provided by these programs, please call (412) 396-6300.

Source Information for the Duquesne University Legal Clinics can be found here.


Allegheny County Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service

The Allegheny County Bar Association (ACBA) is a professional organization comprised of lawyers, judges, district justices, legal administrators, and paralegals.  The Lawyer Referral Service is available to help you locate a lawyer for a specific type of legal matter.  Referrals may be made by telephone, mail, or via the internet. 

Once the referral is made you will be paired with a lawyer from the ACBA.  A thirty minute consultation will be conducted at no cost.  After the consultation with the lawyer, you may decide to hire him/her at the regular fee scale or choose to find a different attorney.

For more information on the Lawyer Referral Service, please visit the service's website.  You may also call (412) 261-5555 or contact the service by e-mail.

Source Information for the LRS can be found here.


Office of the Public Defender - Pittsburgh Division

The Office of the Public Defender provides legal representation (appointed by the court) for low-income defendants in cases presented before the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.  Public Defenders are only appointed in cases where representation is guaranteed by the constitution, which would include any case where the defendant's personal liberty is at stake.  Eligibility for public defender services is based on federal poverty guidelines, as well as income, family financial responsibilities, and the nature of the charges.

A Office of the Public Defender provides counsel and representation in the following matters:

  • Juvenile delinquency
  • Critical pretrial identification procedures
  • Preliminary hearings
  • State habeas corpus proceedings
  • State trials, including pre-trial and post-trial motions
  • Superior Court appeals
  • Pennsylvania Supreme Court appeals
  • Post-conviction hearings at the trial and appellate levels
  • Criminal extradition proceedings
  • Probation and parole violation hearings
  • Involuntary commitment under the Mental Health Procedures Act
  • Any proceeding where personal liberty is in jeopardy

The Office of the Public Defender does NOT counsel or represent the following matters:

  • Family Division matters (divorce, child custody, child support, initial Protection from Abuse (PFA) proceedings, or termination of parental rights)
  • Traffic citations that do not involve a mandatory sentence
  • Landlord-tenant matters
  • Dependency proceedings involving the Office of Children, Youth, and Families (CYF)

If you require representation in one of these areas you should contact the Lawyer Referral Service of the Allegheny County Bar Association for counsel and representation.

For more information on the Office of the Public Defender, please refer to the office's website.  You may also call the office at (412) 350-2401 or e-mail the office for more information.

Source Information for the Office of the Public Defender can be found here.


Neighborhood Legal Services Association

Neighborhood Legal Services Association (NLSA) is a non-profit corporation that provides free legal services in civil cases to low-income people meeting financial eligibility guidelines.  Guidelines are determined on a yearly basis, contact the office for details.

Free legal help is provided in the following areas:

  • Family law
  • Employment law
  • Protection from abuse (PFA)
  • Public benefits
  • Housing Problems
  • Elder Law
  • Consumer and bankruptcy problems

To find out more about the NLSA, refer to the association's website.

You may also call the NLSA's Hotline at 1-866-761-NLSA (6572).  The hotline is open Monday - Friday 9 AM - 12 PM and 1 PM - 2:30 PM as well as 5 PM - 8 PM on Mondays and Wednesdays.  An intake worker will discuss your problem with you and determine if you meet the criteria for legal assistance including income guidelines.  If your case meets the criteria a legal advocate with speak with you on the phone and offer you advice on how to proceed including referring you to a lawyer at your local NLSA office.

You may also contact the local NLSA offices directly:

  • Allegheny County
    (412) 255-6700
  • Beaver County
    (724) 378-0595
  • Butler County
    (724) 282-3888
  • Lawrence County
    (724) 658-2677

Source Information for the NLSA can be found here.