Shelby County Public Referral
The Memphis Area Legal Services is currently the only public organization that provides lawyer referrals in Shelby County. The organization offers referrals to attorneys within Shelby County that are willing to handle pro bono cases. However, this organization only provides referrals to residents of limited means living in the county, as well as low-income residents of Tipton, Fayette, and Lauderdale Counties. There are several programs that the Memphis Area Legal Services runs through which one may obtain a referral to a lawyer. These programs are the Volunteer Lawyers Project, the In-house Limited Service, the Attorney of the Day Project, the Saturday Legal Clinic, the Atticus Finch Referral network, and the Bankruptcy Alternatives and Pro Bono Project.
For many of these programs, people seeking an attorney referral must call the Memphis Area Legal Services and request to apply to one of the programs. However, there is no need to call ahead for a few of these programs, such as the Saturday Legal Clinic, where people need only show up to get a referral if their cases qualify. Since the organization primarily focuses on assisting local residents from low-income backgrounds, there is no fee to request a referral. Rather, there is an extensive screening process that all applicants must go through in order to ensure that the Memphis Area Legal Services only refers cases from low-income individuals who truly cannot afford legal services and legitimately need legal representation.