Civil Legal Aid

The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) defines civil legal aid as “free legal assistance to low- and middle-income people who have civil legal problems. These problems are non-criminal…[C]ivil legal aid helps people access basic necessities such as health care, housing, government benefits, employment, and educational services. Many people are surprised to learn that the right to a lawyer is limited to criminal cases.”

Civil legal aid includes:

  • Direct services provided by legal aid attorneys and pro bono (volunteer) attorneys
  • Self-help resources for people unable to afford an attorney
  • Community legal education programs

To find more information about civil legal aid, visit DOJ’s website at 

Connect with the IOLTA program in your jurisdiction.

NAIP’s philanthropic partners understand value of civil legal aid.

“Investing to help low-income people solve their legal problems is smart, results-oriented philanthropy. For decades, all over the country, legal aid groups have been a driving force that makes change real in millions of lives. They have answers when families need housing, food, and health care. It’s their work that corrects bad policy and changes how society treats the most vulnerable.”

Natural Allies: Philanthropy and Civil Legal Aid, Public Welfare Foundation and Kresge Foundation