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.

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.


Public Resources - Free Legal Advice

2SLAC - 2nd Saturday Legal Aid Clinic

2SLAC - 2nd Saturday Legal Clinic (formerly Saturday Legal Clinic) is held the second Saturday of each month from 10:00-11:45 am at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library, 3030 Poplar Ave., Memphis, TN

Clients will fill out an application and then speak to an attorney about their legal matter. Applications will be taken until 11:45 am. The clinic is free and is sponsored by the Memphis Bar Association and Memphis Area Legal Services, Inc.

All 2019 Legal Clinics will be held from 10 am to Noon on the second Saturday of the month.

  • March 9, 2019
  • April 13, 2019
  • May 11, 2019
  • June 8, 2019
  • July 13, 2019
  • August 10, 2019
  • September 14, 2019
  • October 12, 2019
  • November 9, 2019
  • December 14, 2019

Courthouse Advice & Counsel Clinic

Each Thursday afternoon, 1:30 - 4 pm, 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. Please arrive between 1-1:30 to fill out an application. Walk-ins are welcome.


Veterans' Pro Bono Clinic

A legal clinic to assist veterans is held on the second Tuesday of each month on the 11th floor of 1407 Union Ave. from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm. Volunteer attorneys provide advice to veterans on matters such as child support, expungement of criminal record, driver's license revocation, and debts. Attorneys cannot provide advice on veterans' benefits.  


Mediator of the Day

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. To find out if you are eligible for their services, call 901.523.8822 and talk to 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.

The CLC provides assistance to those seeking to represent themselves in divorce proceedings through its Pro Se Divorce Clinic. CLC runs a clinic each morning at the Civil Courthouse to assist parents with minor children who are residents of Shelby County and meet our income requirements obtain divorces as self-represented litigants.
Monday - Friday 9 am - 12 pm Call 901.222.3813. 

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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