Private Lawyer Referral Services in Kent County
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There are two private lawyer referral services that operate in Kent County — Legal Aid of Western Michigan and the Michigan Migrant Legal Assistance Project.
Legal Aid of Western Michigan can provide legal services to Grand Rapids area families and individuals who meet certain eligibility requirements. These services include counseling and advice, representation in cases with administrative agencies and some representation in Michigan Courts. In order to qualify for these services through Legal Aid of Western Michigan, Kent County clients must first certify and provide evidence that they are Low Income families (this is based on many factors such as family size and income), or seniors. However, this private organization does not represent individuals in criminal matters and may ask clients to pay some court fees or out-of-pocket expenses if needed. This office does provide notice to everyone that it does not have the resources to handle all cases that it receives, even from qualifying individuals. Instead, Legal Aid of Western Michigan makes judgment calls about each case and can take only those cases where the individual will suffer serious harm if not represented. As such, there is no guarantee that your case will be picked up by this office, and it may only waste valuable time to attempt to secure legal services through Legal Aid of Western Michigan.
The Michigan Migrant Legal Assistance Project, also known as Migrant Legal Aid, provides legal services to indigent migrant families and seasonal farm workers regardless of their immigration status. Instead of referring these individuals and families out to attorneys, Migrant Legal Aid instead keeps staff attorneys on site. These attorneys must be bilingual in English and Spanish. Much of the services provided through Migrant Legal Aid are in the form of group education, where the staff attorneys instruct groups of migrant workers in their rights. On rare occasions, these staff attorneys will represent indigent migrants in court. In order to qualify for these services, Kent County clients are required to show their indigent status and inability to pay for normal legal services. There is no guarantee that your case will be taken on by Migrant Legal Aid.
These two private lawyer referral services only provide legal services to Grand Rapids area clients who qualify. As well, because of the limited funding each of these organizations receives, they cannot guarantee that a qualifying client will receive legal representation at all.