So last time, I wrote about attorney fees. If you need legal help and an attorney is cost prohibitive, you may need a low cost or no cost option. People who choose to not use an attorney are considered “pro-se.” In criminal cases, if a client cannot afford an attorney, the client has a constitutional right to a court-appointed attorney. Appointed attorneys are called public defenders. Each Utah county has at least one public defender available to qualifying criminal defendants.
Some attorneys offer a-la-carte legal assistance to clients. This piece-meal approach is perfect for clients that just need a little bit of a nudge in the right direction and can manage the rest of their issue themselves. Attorneys can offer to merely explain the process for someone to conduct a legal matter, review legal documents, or advise clients through a single part of a decision. If you want an attorney to look through your plan or help you with the very basics of a legal concept, you may just need to ask if this is possible.
Alternatively, if parties have a dispute and want a resolution out of court, they can rely on a mediator. Mediation can include or not include attorneys and is typically conducted by a Utah court-rostered, neutral mediator. The mediator can help resolve issues about contracts, property boundaries, business, divorce, child custody, probate, or any other potentially legal dispute not involving criminal action. Mediators typically charge a slightly lower rate than attorneys and the fee is split between the parties. A list of court-rostered mediators can be found on the Utah Courts website.
The following are free or low-priced/free services and are based out of the Wasatch Front or St. George, but they will take phone calls from clients who need resources in south-central Utah. This is not a comprehensive list and new resources are constantly appearing, so always look for options to creatively and inexpensively resolve your legal issue.
Utah Legal Services
205 North 400 West,
Salt Lake City, UT 84103
This organization is based in Salt Lake City with part-time attorneys in St. George and Moab. They provide low cost or free service for clients with domestic violence, income maintenance, consumer protection, migrant worker rights, Native American, elder, homeless communities, landlord/tenant disputes, and expunging criminal records.
Crime Victim’s Legal Clinic
124 South 400 East
Salt Lake City, UT 84111
The Legal Clinic provides free legal services statewide to crime victims in district, justice, juvenile and appellate courts.
International Rescue Committee
221 South 400 West
P.O. Box 3988
Salt Lake City, UT 84110
If someone you know is having immigration or deportation issues, this is an excellent resource to gain help.
Disability Law Center
205 North 400 West
Salt Lake City, UT 84103
The Disability Law Center provides self-advocacy assistance, legal services, and disability rights education.
Utah Courts Self-Help Center
Monday-Thursday 11 am-5 pm
This office of the court provides free legal help to people who do not have a lawyer and to provide information for people to understand their rights and responsibilities.
Online Court Assistance Program (OCAP)
This resource helps pro-se clients file the appropriate paperwork for issues including domestic disputes, landlord/tenant matters, and filing in small claims court.
I hope you keep this list near and use it as a reference for yourself and those who may need it.
Disclaimer: All materials in this article are prepared for general information purposes only to permit you to learn more about legal concepts. The information presented is not legal advice, is not to be acted on as such, may not be current, and is subject to change without notice.
Published 11/2/2017 in The Wayne & Garfield County Insider.