obtaining legal assistance while in school

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flip side

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obtaining legal assistance while in school

Postby flip side » Tue Jul 12, 2011 10:25 pm

sorry if this is already somewhere, but searching for "legal assistance" and the like are all obviously pulling up things about offering legal assistance while in school. i need to receive it.

due to a health care problem that has occurred since i've been a law student, i have been fighting for over a year with a medical facility where i live. the problem is not with my student insurance, though obviously the insurance is somewhat related. at this point, i need to seek recourse through legal avenues, but i 1) know nothing beyond common knowledge about legal elements of the problem, and 2) have not graduated, am not barred, and absolutely don't want to go near the line of falsely holding myself out as a lawyer.

i have no money and am going into public interest work, so can't afford normal legal representation. those financial constraints make it difficult to find any random lawyer or something to help me, but does anyone know whether it's common for law schools to offer legal support for their students' personal matters? what do students typically do in situations like these? i have no family in the field, although i have a very small number of attorney friends i could ask, if needed.

basically, i want help resolving my problem but don't want to go broke and don't want to violate any weird ethical boundaries law students aren't supposed to cross. does anyone have any advice? i would really appreciate it!!


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Re: obtaining legal assistance while in school

Postby schooner » Tue Jul 12, 2011 10:33 pm

Last edited by schooner on Sun May 03, 2015 12:25 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: obtaining legal assistance while in school

Postby Bronte » Tue Jul 12, 2011 10:39 pm

As already posted, you should start with the free legal aid at your school. They're usually pretty meh, but could give you some basic pointers. As far as "holding yourself out as a lawyer," you are always allowed to represent yourself pro se (by yourself). However, this is always a bad idea, even if you're the best in the field, but especially when you're a law student.

If what you're looking at is some sort of a malpractice claim, you might be able to get contingency fee representation. This means they don't get paid anything up front, but just take a chunk (usually roughly 30%) of the winnings. If it's not a plaintiff's suit, contingency fee representation is going to be a no go. This is the kind of thing your school's legal aid could help you to explore.

You could also talk to someone in administration at the law school. They might be able to help you in terms of potentially getting a loan to finance legal representation or to finance your medical difficulties. Good luck.


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Re: obtaining legal assistance while in school

Postby NotMyRealName09 » Fri Jul 15, 2011 3:50 pm

If you do the math, you might actually qualify for other free legal aid clinics, because students have (generally) zero income or assets - you Po'! (Although there have been loophole closings - I knew of a girl in undergrad who actually got food stamps despite the fact that she had student loans and parental support, because on paper, if she wasn't a dependent for tax purposes, she "looked" impoverished. States are fixing that - good.)

And seriously, there is no harm in contacting the highest profile plaintiff's attorney in your area (look for ads regarding car accidents / personal injury). If they don't want it, they may know who will. You don't talk about what sort of claim (if you owe them money, forget it).

Good luck.

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