Finding an Attorney
You don’t always have the right to an attorney. In many criminal cases, where you’ve been accused of a crime, you may have a right to an appointed attorney. However, the right to have an appointed attorney doesn’t extend to civil cases and you may find yourselves in court alone. A civil case may involve divorce, custody, a wage dispute, a landlord matter, bankruptcy or many other matters where, generally, you have not been accuse by the state of a crime.
There may be lawyer referral services available through your local bar association where an attorney may give you advice for a small fee or agree to handle your case. Contact information on some of the local referral services can be found on the Lawyer Referral and Information web page
. This page also provides helpful hints for working with a lawyer.
If you cannot afford to hire an attorney, you can search for free a attorney through a legal aid organization in your parish at this site: http://louisianalawhelp.org/find-legal-help/directory/area.
Handling Your Own Case
Unfortunately, the number of people needing legal assistance is far greater than the number of attorneys available. If you do not have an attorney, you still have the right to represent yourself in court. However, when you represent yourself, it is up to you to know the laws and court procedures. Judges and court employees are not allowed to provide you with legal advice, and may not be able to speak with you at all about your case outside of the court room. Going to court without an attorney can be extremely difficult without a legal background.
Answers to many common legal questions can be found on a separate website, www.lawhelp.org/LA
, which the Access to Justice program helps support. This website also helps individuals find free legal and social services, locate courts, and provides online applications and forms. LSBA Access to Justice legal education materials are also posted here. All materials on this site are designed to provide you with legal information and applicable resources. This site does not provide legal advice, nor is it intended to be a comprehensive summary of the laws and issues relevant to your case. This page will provide you with self-help resources to hopefully help you identify your legal options and decide how to proceed. Though you have the right to represent yourself, you should do so only after trying to obtain representation.
For more information, download the Pro Se Brochure
Local Self-Help Services
The below includes information about self-help services launched in conjunction with, or reported to, the Louisiana State Bar Association Access to Justice Department. By selecting a the parish, information for that parish will appear below. The list will include the district courts serving the parish, along with any local self help resources available.