It’s easy to think that there are enough resources on how to find legal aid whenever you need it, but if you’re a non-native English speaker who’s only fluent in a different language, you’ll quickly see that this isn’t the case.
Legal aid for non-native English speakers is available for you. This article will cover how you can go about finding it.
1. Ask Around For Courthouse Employees Who Speak Your Language
The first thing you can do is ask around and see if there’s anyone at the courthouse who’d be able to help translate for you. If there isn’t, ask any of the employees if they know where they can refer you for more information on how to find legal aid.
Most people at courthouses will try their best to connect you with someone who speaks your language. At times, this may mean they’d call in a professional translator to assist with the legal proceedings.
2. Try Looking Up Language-Specific Law Firms Online
Although the majority of websites will have general listings for various lawyers throughout the city, some may specifically mark which attorneys work with non-English speaking clients. Look up these sites and sort through their list of attorneys until you find one who offers services in your native language.
3. Call Local Organizations And Ask If They Offer Legal Aid For Non-English Individuals
It’s important to note that not all places provide their services for free. Some may charge a fee or require you to be of a certain income level before you can receive help. If the place allows this, simply explain your situation and tell them that you aren’t able to speak English very well. They may point you in the direction of another organization or give you some information about other places that often help non-English speakers.
If you were to contact them and say something along the lines of ‘I don’t speak English very well. Can you help me find a free lawyer?’ they would probably refer you to another organization that provides low or no-cost legal advice for those in need.
4. Check If Your School Offers Free Legal Counsel
If you’re a student, then you might be in luck. Many schools offer students free access to a lawyer as long as it’s within reason. For example, if someone is caught cheating on an exam and will be suspended from the university unless there’s a valid defense, then a student has every right to ask for legal assistance because it directly relates to their education.
So, even though this isn’t specifically a non-English speaking situation, the fact that they’re having trouble at school because of not speaking English could still apply to them as well. Many schools also offer free legal help for those who are trying to find housing, food, or jobs as well.
5. Ask Your Local Police Station If They Know Of Any Resources
Although this isn’t specifically about finding a lawyer, it’s about getting the proper information you need so you can locate one yourself. If you live in an area where no one speaks English, then the police officers will most likely be able to point you in the right direction. However, if this isn’t the case, simply ask them what non-English speaking resources are available near you.
6. Contact The Social Services Office In Your Area
Many large cities have a Social Service’s Office that can help with food, housing, employment, emergency cash loans, health care, and other basic needs. All of these services are usually free because they receive government funding to provide them to anyone who’s struggling financially. If you live in an area with a Social Service’s Office, contact them and ask what non-English language services they offer.
7. Talk To A Lawyer And See If They Can Give You Any Advice
If you’ve already found an English-speaking lawyer, then ask them for help or advice on where non-English speakers can get free legal assistance. Most lawyers understand that not everyone is fluent in English, so they can direct you to someone who best fits your situation even though it may not be them doing the work.
In most cases, if you need legal counsel, you should be able to get it even if you don’t speak English as your first language. By looking for resources in your area that offers free or low-cost non-English services, you can find the help you need while trying to keep any money issues out of it. You don’t necessarily have to go with just one option either; try multiple places until you find the one that’s right for you.