How to Get Help

If you are seeking legal assistance, apply online HERE

Due to the high number of applications, our current processing time may be delayed and could take up to 30 days before you are contacted. Please do not submit more than 1 application as this may slow down the processing time of your application. Thank you for your patience.  

 

*Due to COVID-19 concerns, Houston Volunteer Lawyers' staff is currently working remotely. HVL's physical office is closed to all visitors.


 

* To be eligible for free legal services, you must:

(1) reside in Harris County, 

(2) have household income at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, and 

(3) have limited assets.

 

* Exceptions:

* United States Veterans and spouses of deceased Veterans who reside in Austin County, Bell, Brazoria, Brazos, Chambers, Galveston, Grimes, Fort Bend, Hardin, Harris, Liberty, Matagorda, Montgomery, San Jacinto, Walker, Waller, or Washington counties and have a household income at or below 300% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.

* Persons with HIV or AIDS who reside in Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery, or Waller counties and have a household income at or below 300% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.

* Persons with IRS disputes who have a household income at or below 250% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines

NOTE: We do not accept criminal, traffic, or fee-generating cases.  

 

 

 

Table of Contents

  1. What is a Legal Advice Clinic?
  2. Application Forms
  3. How long does it take to get a lawyer?
  4. I applied for help through Houston Volunteer Lawyers but have not heard anything yet.
  5. Can you help me handle my Divorce or other issue by myself?
  6. Does HVL assist those living with HIV AIDS?

What is a Legal Advice Clinic?

Due to COVID-19, all in-person legal advice clinics are canceled. All clinics are currently being handled remotely. For more information, click HERE.

 


The information below is for in-person clinics.

 

What is a clinic?

A legal advice clinic is an opportunity to meet with volunteer attorneys to discuss your legal questions and issues. To attend a clinic, there are no restrictions on financial eligibility or legal issues. The only restriction is that the Veterans Clinics are for Veterans or surviving spouses of veterans. 

What should I expect at a clinic?

When you arrive at a clinic, you will be asked to sign in with your name and legal issue, and then given a folder and our application. Once the application is complete (or if you downloaded our application from this website) we will review it for completeness. When the next attorney is available, we will sit you at a table with them to discuss your legal issue. Once they have gone over the issue(s), they will bring you to the exit table where our staff will review the file and give you a copy of the Applicant Agreement before you leave. If your issue requires continued representation by an attorney, we will make scans of any documents you have with you and you will hear from us within 10 days to tell you if we can find an attorney for the case. It may still take a few months to find an attorney.

What should I bring to a clinic?

The documents we will need to properly review your legal case depend on the type of case. If you do not have any of the documents, you can still attend our clinics and get legal advice. See the list below for an example of some of the documents we might need:

  • Photo ID
  • For Veterans, proof of Veteran Status
  • Birth Certificates (for custody issues)
  • Acknowledgment's of Paternity (for custody issues)
  • Doctor's Diagnoeses (for guardianship issues)
  • SSI Award letters (for guardianship issues)
  • IRS Letters (for income tax issues)
  • Other Person's address (whether it is a spouse in a divorce case or a landlord in a landlord tenant case)
  • Lease (for landlord tenant issues)
  • Contracts (for consumer issues)
  • Any other relevant documents you have about your legal issue.

Application Forms

Apply Online

Or if you need a paper application, they are attached in multiple languages. Paper applications should be emailed to info@hvlp.org.

 

How long does it take to get a lawyer?

If your application is accepted, we will attempt to refer your case to a volunteer attorney for up to 3 months. We cannot guarantee that we will be able to find a volunteer willing to take your case. If, after three months on our waiting list, no attorney volunteers to take your case, we will close your file and notify you.

I applied for help through Houston Volunteer Lawyers but have not heard anything yet.

After you attend one of our free legal advice clinics and apply for services, we will send you a letter within 15 days to let you know either that your application will be processed further, or we will refer you to another agency for help.

If you receive a letter telling you that Houston Volunteer Lawyers will process your application and review your case, you must respond to the letter by providing all of the documents that we ask you for. The faster you send in the documents that we request from you, the faster we can place your case in line for a volunteer attorney.

We run criminal background and conflict of interest checks on all applicants, and we reserve the right to refuse service to you based on the results.

If your application is accepted, we will attempt to refer your case to a volunteer attorney for up to 3 months. We cannot guarantee that we will be able to find a volunteer willing to take your case. If, after three months on our waiting list, no attorney volunteers to take your case, we will close your file and notify you.

Can you help me handle my Divorce or other issue by myself?

There are a lot of self-help resources available:

  • HVL runs a dedicated Self Help Assistance Booth on the 17th Floor of the Civil Courthouse (201 Caroline, Houston, TX 77002), weekdays from 8:30 am to 2:00 pm.  HVL also helps self-represented litigants at the Harris County Law Library (1019 Congress, Houston, TX 77002), on Wednesdays and Fridays from 9:00 am to noon. The attorney there can assist and direct you to additional resources, highlight issues with drafts, but cannot help you fill out any forms. This is for Family Law issues (divorce, custody, name change, etc.), and is on a first come, first serve basis.
  • For brief answers to questions, our clinics are open to meet with an attorney. Due to the volume of clients at our clinics, we cannot fill out all the forms with you, but we can answer questions and help direct you to additional resources. 
  • Texas Law Help has a wide variety of guides and forms available for individual use.

Due to COVID-19 concerns, the Law Library and Courthouse Booth pro se assistance in-person visits will be conducted virtually. Those seeking assistance should call 713-228-0734. You will then be directed to a voicemail. An HVL staff member will then return your phone call and obtain the information needed to set up your meeting with an attorney.

 

Does HVL assist those living with HIV AIDS?

During the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we realize that many people in our communities may have concerns, fears and worries. Houston Volunteer Lawyers (HVL) is continually working to help our clients and volunteers manage life’s legal challenges during these difficult times. 

At this time, all HVL staff is working remotely, and we are here for you.

To apply for services through our Disability Unit, please:

  1. Complete an application:
    • Apply online;
    • Print and complete a paper application (click here to download); or
    • Call to speak with someone in the Disability Unit. Ask that HVL mail an application to you: (713) 228-0735. 
  2. Return application to HVL:
    • Online
    • E-mail to disability@hvlp.org;
    • Fax to (713) 228-5826, Attn: Disability Unit; or
    • Regular mail to 1111 Bagby St., Suite FLB 300, Houston, Texas 77002, Attn: Disability Unit.
  3. Attach and provide required proof of eligibility:
    • Photo Identification (preferably unexpired);
    • Current Proof of Income;
    • Current Proof of Residence; and
    • Current Proof of Health Status.

For assistance with the application process and to schedule a telephone interview, please contact the Disability Unit at disability@hvlp.org or (713) 228-0735.

Please remember that we are here for you. We hope everyone stays safe and healthy.