4 Ways to Get Legal Help When You Can’t Afford Lawyers Fees

lawyers fees

Fifty percent of people participating in a survey claim they have experienced a legal problem within the past 24 months. Seventy-seven percent of people with legal problems don’t hire an attorney.

Reasons for not seeking legal advice include believing lawyers lack transparency and are overpriced. Many think it isn’t unnecessary because they can find free legal help online. There is personalized help available if you know where to look.

We are going to explain the types of lawyers fees, how to get legal help when you can’t afford attorney fees, and why using online legal advice is not a wise decision.

Average Lawyers Fees

Depending on where you live and the attorney’s experience, the hourly rate of a lawyer ranges between $100 to $600 per hour. The fees vary based on the type of case and the amount of work to be done.

Before you decide you cannot afford to hire an attorney, make sure you understand whether they are charging you an hourly rate, a flat fee, or a contingency fee. Hourly rates add up quickly and can develop into a high bill. With a flat rate, you know upfront what you are paying for the case.  

A contingency fee is used in certain types of cases, including personal injury and wrongful death. There are no up-front fees, and you only pay if they win your case.

If you find yourself charged with a crime, whether innocent or guilty, the law provides a court-appointed attorney to those who cannot afford representation.

In civilian cases, even though a bad outcome may have a tremendous impact on your life, the law expects you to fund your legal fees. For those situations, there are ways to secure the help you need.

Legal aid services are available throughout the country. These non-profit organizations provide free services to low-income people.

The facilities are overburdened, and getting a consultation may require waiting several weeks. The courts likely refuse to wait and will proceed with your case.

If you want to give this option a try, you can contact LawHelp.org. Click on the state where your case will be heard to locate legal aid services. You’ll receive referrals to local legal aid and public interest law offices, links to social service agencies, and receive basic information.

2. Native American Nations

Native Americans need legal assistance from lawyers who understand the state, federal, and tribal law. Assistance in this special area is available in  Arizona and California.


DNA People’s Legal Services in Window Rock, Arizona, provides free state, federal, and tribal legal services to low-income people with civil cases. They serve people residing in seven Native American nations and remote portions of three states.

DNA will give advice, provide legal assistance, and represent you in both U.S. and tribal courts. You may apply to receive services by calling their centralized intake at 1-833-362-1102, filing online, or scheduling an intake interview.

Using their online intake system requires completing a pre-application that helps them decide whether you qualify for free or reduced-fee help.


California Indian Legal Services is devoted exclusively to assisting Native American rights in California. They provide low-cost and free legal assistance to tribal organizations, tribes, and Native American individuals. Their representation is for issues dealing specifically with Native Americans.

They have offices in Bishop, Escondido, Eureka, and Sacramento, California. CILS provides services for free if you are at or below the federal poverty line and your legal matter deals with federal Indian law. The Escondido office has no low-income requirement for victims of stalking and domestic violence.

3. University Law Schools

Universities in California and Arizona have legal assistance available through their law schools.

University of San Diego

The School of Law at the University of San Diego offers free assistance at their legal clinics. You can obtain information by calling (619) 260-7470. The type of cases handled include:

  • Appellate—on referral only from the pro bono panel at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Civil—consumer issues, uninsured motorist defense, breach of contract, consumer debt collection, fraud
  • Representation for parents regarding a child with disabilities
  • State and Federal income tax issues
  • Immigration
  • Veterans’ legal assistance
  • Women’s legal clinic
  • Worker’s rights

The university legal team is unable to help with adoption, bankruptcy, business litigation, collections, criminal matters, constitutional rights, estate planning, landlord/tenant matters, malpractice, patents, tax return preparation, real estate, restraining orders, small claims, Social Security, or personal injury.

Arizona State University

The Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law in Tempe, Arizona, provides free legal representation. Their certified limited practice student attorneys offer representation in a limited number of civil cases, including:

  • Consumer disputes
  • Illegal debt collection practices
  • Tenant’s rights
  • Employment

They do not handle evictions, ASU student housing/property issues, PUA/pandemic unemployment assistance, or DES administrative processing issues.

You must submit an application and material for evaluation. That does not guarantee you will receive assistance. The number of cases they can handle every semester is limited.

4. Personal Injury, Wrongful Death, Disability

When you incur a personal injury from an auto accident, disability, or someone dies as a result of another person’s negligence, attorneys work on a contingency fee. This means there are no up-front attorney fees for representation.

It is important to contract with a lawyer who has experience and successful case outcomes. The attorney will consult with you for free and give you their expert opinion on your case and its possible outcome.

If you decide to proceed, you sign a contract that details what services they will provide. It will show the percentage of your award that will pay your attorney fees and legal expenses.

If you suffer a personal injury, contact a reputable personal injury attorney immediately. Attorneys that work in this area of law differ from regular lawyers. If they don’t win, they don’t get paid, so the cost of hiring a lawyer is irrelevant.

If you seek online legal advice, you may receive inaccurate information. Every state has its own laws and rules. The advice you obtain may not be relevant to your state or case particulars.

You don’t know the expertise of the legal professional giving you advice. You need someone who specializes in the area of law for your case and in your area.

With online services, there is a risk that documents will not be filed and served according to your state requirements. This can result in your case being lost or dismissed. 

Every case is unique. When you use online legal advice, you’re getting a “one size fits all” answer. You need answers to questions that pertain specifically to your case.

Schedule a Free Consultation

If you have a personal injury, accident/injury, disability, or wrongful death case, schedule a 100% free consultation with Sweet Lawyers. We handle all lawyers fees on a contingency basis, which means you don’t pay for our services unless we win.

With a 99% success rate, you can’t go wrong. Contact us today; we are available 24/7 to answer your questions.

Related Posts

3-Car Collision on 215 Freeway Kills Female Driver [Highgrove, CA]

11 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Hiring an Auto Accident Lawyer in Phoenix

If you are one of the 3 million people injured in a car accident each year, you know how much the process costs you, both financially and emotionally. The cost of an auto accident includes medical expenses, property damage, and even pain and suffering. Depending on how serious your injuries are, your expenses could be thousands […]

wrongful death document checklist

The Complete Wrongful Death Document Checklist to Show Your Lawyer

Each year in the United States, an average of 3.38 million people pass away. Of course, death is a tragedy under any circumstances. But it’s especially tragic when it happens from a preventable accident or injury. Sadly, over 200,000 people die each year because of wrongful death — in other words, a death that could […]

Child Riding Wagon Injured in Crash on 15th Street and G Street [Modesto, CA]

What Can a Car Accident Lawyer in Phoenix Do For You?

Did you know that, in the US, the average annual number of car accidents is 6 million? Additionally, every year, the number of people who are injured in car accidents in the US is 3 million, with drivers who experience permanent injuries every year in the US being 2 million. If you’re one of the many Americans who […]

accident lawyers phoenix

11 Characteristics of Quality Accident Lawyers in Phoenix

Each year, there are about six million car accidents. Three million of those accidents result in injuries. Phoenix is one of the largest cities in Arizona and is ranked as one of the most dangerous places to drive. If you or someone you love had an accident in or around Phoenix, you need an accident lawyer. […]

Police Report Request Form

Police Report Request

"*" indicates required fields

Sweet Lawyers has my permission to help provide a free police report.*
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Help Is Here

We have answers. Tell us about your situation.

Call (800) 674-7854 or request a callback below

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.