How to Get Help

Need help?

* Call our Intake Line at (713) 228-0732 or view Upcoming Events on the homepage to learn the dates and times of our upcoming legal clinics, where you can meet with a licensed Texas attorney about your legal problem and apply for longer term service.  

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

- We do not accept applications or provide legal advice over the phone.  Free legal advice is available by phone through the Houston Bar Association's LegalLine program at (713) 759-1133.  LegalLine is open on the first and third Wednesday of every month between 5 pm and 9 pm, and is available for Spanish speakers on the first Thursday of every month, between 6 pm and 8 pm.

* Accommodations.  If you do not speak English, a translator is available in person or via telephone service.  If you need other accommodations, call our office at (713) 228-0735 or email info@hvlp.org.

* We provide the following legal advice clinics on an ongoing basis:

Saturday Clinic: walk-in clinic held twice monthly on Saturdays at various locations for the first 75 people in line.  Clinics begin at 9:00 am.  Applicants are encouraged to come early (at or before 8:00 am) to secure a place in line.  We do not hold Saturday clinics in December.  

Veterans Clinic: walk-in clinic every Friday from 1 - 5 pm at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center, for U.S. Veterans and spouses of deceased Veterans

- Hurricane Harvey Clinics: click here or call 713-228-0733 for a schedule of legal advice clinics for people who were affected by Hurricane Harvey.

Low Income Taxpayer Clinic: by appointment, for assistance with IRS issues.  Call (713) 255-1TAX.

- Courthouse Information Booth: for help representing yourself in court, go to the 17th floor of the Civil Courthouse (located at 201 Caroline Street, downtown), weekdays from 8:30 am - 2:00 pm on a first come, first serve basis.  You can now also visit our Harris County Law Library location for self help: 1019 Congress basement, open weekdays from 9 am to Noon and 1 pm to 5pm on a first come, first serve basis. At these locations, legal information only is provided, specific case advice is not. 

- Self Help Divorce Clinics: held quarterly by appointment. To schedule, please fill out our Screening Form to ensure your situation meets the forms we have available. If so, you'll be asked to leave a phone number and we will call you back to make the appointment. 

* 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 Bell, Brazoria, Chambers, Galveston, Grimes, Fort Bend, Hardin, Harris, Jefferson, Liberty, McLennan, Montgomery, Orange, San Jacinto, Travis, Walker, or Waller 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 household income at or below 300% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.

* Persons with IRS disputes who have 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. What if I can't make it to a clinic because I am disabled?
  3. Where is your next legal advice clinic?
  4. How long does it take to get a lawyer?
  5. I applied for help through Houston Volunteer Lawyers but have not heard anything yet.
  6. Application Forms
  7. Can you help me handle my Divorce or other issue by myself?

What is a Legal Advice Clinic?

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.

What if I can't make it to a clinic because I am disabled?

If you cannot attend one of our clinics due to a disability, then please click on the Forms tab on this page and download and complete our Application for Legal Services in the language in which you are most comfortable.  

Please complete all sections of the Application.  Do not leave anything blank.  If something does not apply to you, please write "N/A" in the blank.

After you have completed the Application and signed each of the signature lines on the last two pages, please return it to us by fax or U.S. Mail:

Fax: (713) 228-5826

Houston Volunteer Lawyers - 1111 Bagby, Suite FLB 300, Houston, Texas 77002

Where is your next legal advice clinic?

For the most up to date information on the dates and times of our clinics, please call our Intake Line at (713) 228-0732 and listen carefully to all of the options.

You can also view them under Upcoming Events, which includes both our intake clinics and other events with HVL. .

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 10 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.

Application Forms

Here are our Applications in various languages.

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

There are a lot of self-help resources available:

  • HVL hosts a Self Help Divorce clinic quarterly. The next clinic is on August  18, 2017. To see if you qualify for the clinic, please fill out the screening tool here: Self Help Divorce ScreeningIf you do not qualify for the divorce clinic, please visit one of our regular clinics instead. 
  • 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.