When Do You Need a Lawyer?

A good rule of thumb is that you may want to consult with a lawyer when your liberty, money or property is at stake, or you are unsure of your legal rights or the legal process. Many attorneys provide free consultations where you can discuss your specific situation with them. In addition, there are several free legal clinics where you can get advice and find out if you need to hire a lawyer. Scroll down for a listing of those clinics.

Search our Lawyer Directory for an attorney

Some of the common situations in which consulting with a lawyer may be advisable would be if:

  • You are charged with a crime (if you are indigent, the court will appoint a lawyer to represent you);
  • You are being sued or have received a summons in a lawsuit;
  • You were involved in a serious accident;
  • You need or want to file for divorce, especially when children are involved;
  • You think you want to file for bankruptcy or need information about filing a bankruptcy;
  • You need or want a will;
  • You have been fired from your job;
  • You want to start a business;
  • You need or want to negotiate a business deal;
  • You are being denied benefits, such as SSI;
  • You are being evicted from your home.

It is best to consult an attorney as soon as possible so he or she can give you advice that could help you save time, trouble and money by preventing problems before they arise. If you wait, you may also miss important deadlines to take action or respond to or file a lawsuit.

The Memphis Bar Association does not refer members of the public to attorneys and cannot answer legal questions or give legal advice.

Free Legal Advice

901 Legal Connect

Do you have legal problems but can’t afford an attorney? Help is available at your fingertips.  The Memphis Bar Foundation is pleased to offer 901LegalConnect.org, the number #1 resource for legal help available to the residents of Fayette, Lauderdale, Shelby, and Tipton Counties.  If you are need of legal help, you can get legally connected in three easy steps from your computer or smart phone.  Please visit www.901LegalConnect.org to determine if you qualify for free to low-cost legal assistance.






First Friday Virtual Legal Aid Clinic 

First Friday Virtual Legal Aid Clinic (formerly Second Saturday Legal Clinic) is held the First Friday of every month from 1-3 PM via Zoom. You must pre-register at 901legalconnect.org

Get Your Questions Answered Now! Watch this Video on Legal Aid Questions Regarding Landlord/Tenant Issues 

Courthouse Advice & Counsel Clinic - Canceled Until Further Notice

Each Thursday afternoon, from 1-4:00 pm. Please arrive between 1-2:00 pm to fill out an application. Volunteer attorneys are on hand in Room 134 of the Shelby County Courthouse, 140 Adams Ave., to provide advice about legal procedures to litigants. Members of the public are helped on a first come, first served basis. 


Memphis Veterans' Legal Clinic - Now Offers Advice by Phone Only

Due to COVID-19, this legal clinic to assist veterans is now offering legal advice by telephone only. Volunteer attorneys provide advice to veterans on matters such as child support, family/divorce law, employment law, driver's license reinstatement, consumer debt, and estate law (wills, power of attorney, etc.).  Attorneys cannot provide advice on veterans' benefits.

The Memphis Veterans' Legal Clinic takes place on the second Tuesday of every month from Noon until 2:00pm by telephone.  

To sign up for an upcoming Clinic, please call 901-523-8990 and contact Pat Hines (ext. 6711), Shea Langs (ext. 4453), or Courtney Deviney (ext. 7166).  
NOTE: To receive a call from an attorney on the second Tuesday of the month, Veterans need to contact the VA employees above to obtain the intake paperwork and to be put on the list for free legal advice and referrals by phone.  Appointments should be made well in advance of the upcoming second Tuesday to make sure a slot is available.

The Memphis Veterans Legal Clinic is not able to assist with issues relating to VA benefits, discharge upgrade eligibility, social security benefits, or similar issues where the federal government might be adverse (the defendant).  There are other local resources and clinics that can assist in those areas, but they are not addressed at this Clinic.

Mediator of the Day - Cancelled Until Further Notice

Volunteer mediators provide free mediation assistance to people in conflict, usually in General Sessions Court, and help them reach an agreement to avoid a trial. Mediators meet in General Sessions Division 4 at 10:00 am every Thursday to schedule mediation.


Memphis Area Legal Services

Memphis Area Legal Services (MALS) provides free legal assistance and representation in civil (non-criminal) matters to eligible clients in Shelby, Fayette, Tipton and Lauderdale Counties. For most help, clients must be U.S. citizens or legal residents, have low-income and limited assets, and be seeking help with a legal issue that they handle. However, they can assist the following regardless of income level: the elderly; those with foreclosure prevention, mortgage default or other housing problems; those with tax issues. The quickest way to find out if you are eligible for their services, fill out an online application at 901legalconnect.org. If you cannot complete an online application, please call 901-523-8822 to leave a message for an intake counselor. 

MALS does not handle the following matters: criminal cases, class actions, malpractice, personal injury/product liability, or worker's compensation. 

MALS also sponsors several clinics for the public. For a complete listing of those clinics, click here.


Community Legal Center

The Community Legal Center (CLC) works daily to ensure access to justice for all, providing legal counsel in basic civil matters to those of limited means and those at risk. The CLC’s civil law program serves Memphis’ “working poor” whose income falls below the living wage level. Cases the CLC handles includes landlord/tenant disputes, non-contested divorces, non-contested adoptions, garnishments, guardianships, contract disputes, elder abuse, advance directives (wills, powers of attorney), conservatorships, mediation. The CLC does NOT handle criminal cases, employment cases, civil rights violations, bankruptcies, insurance, personal injury, child support/child custody, disability cases, social security claims, contested divorces.

Pro Se Divorce Clinic - Operating Remotely

The CLC provides assistance to those seeking to represent themselves in divorce proceedings through its Pro Se Divorce ClinicThe Pro Se Divorce Clinic is open each week from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Monday, and 9 a.m. until noon on Tuesday through Friday.

Assistance may be available for Shelby County and Tipton County residents:

  • Uncontested Divorces With Minor Children
  • Petitions To Set Visitation For Unmarried Parties
  • Court-Ordered Mediation For Visitation Issues For Pro Se Litigants

The Pro Se Divorce Clinic is being operated remotely at this time. For information, please leave a message at (901) 222-3813 or email tinap@clcmemphis.org.

CLC also provides a variety of immigration legal services to low-income immigrants who live within the jurisdiction of the Memphis Immigration Court. Services provided include adjustment of status, asylum, applications for U-Visas for victims of crime, T-Visas for victims of human trafficking, and naturalization among others.

For more details and for a complete listing of programs, please visit clcmemphis.org.


Volunteer Opportunities

If you are an attorney or legal professional looking for volunteer opportunities, please visit our Pro Bono page. 


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