Virginia.freelegalanswers.org, https://virginia.freelegalanswers.org/, is up and running. The site is part of an ABA multi-state initiative to provide online pro bono civil legal assistance to Virginia residents with income levels of 250 percent of the poverty guidelines or less (a household income of just over $29,000 annually for a single adult). Prospective clients may now log on to the site and be screened to determine if they meet the threshold income requirements. If they qualify, the users may post questions about a civil legal issue. Users may post up to three questions in a twelve-month period. Their question will then be placed in a queue for Virginia lawyers according to the nature of the legal issue or type of problem (i.e., "Family/Divorce/Custody" or "Debts & Purchases"). In addition to the question, the user posts relevant facts and may even attach documents and photos.
Volunteer lawyers in good standing who have signed up for the website will preview questions in the queue and select a question they would like to answer. Additionally, the available question queue will also provide the lawyer with information about the identity of the opposing party, the legal deadline (court date or when the client is requesting a response) and how long the question had been in the queue. If the lawyer needs additional information to answer the question, the attorney may leave the queue open to communicate with the client via the website or, if there is sufficient information, the attorney may post an answer and close the conversation. The interaction is limited to responding to the legal inquiry. When an attorney closes the question, the client receives notification that the question has been answered and is prompted to take a survey requesting feedback about the assistance provided.
If you are an attorney, please visit the website and register on the Volunteer Attorney Registration page (or complete the registration process if you previously submitted the Attorney Interest Form) to provide pro bono assistance by answering civil legal questions posted by low income Virginians.
If you know someone who needs legal assistance and is a Virginia resident, please tell them about Virginia.freelegalanswers.org. They simply need to go to the "Get Started" page on the homepage, complete the User registration, and, if they meet the financial eligibility requirements, they may post up to three civil legal questions in a year.
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Updated: Aug 24, 2016
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