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VLN Connecting Clients in Need with Volunteer Lawyers 

Volunteer Lawyers Network matches low-income clients with volunteer attorneys for free civil legal services. Services range from advice to full representation. While our main service area is Hennepin County, we also offer select services on a metro-wide or statewide basis. Please call us at 612-752-6677 for further information.

VLN lawyers provide a legal services in a most types of civil issues, such as housing, bankruptcy, family, debt collection, etc. Issues that we do not do include criminal matters, personal injury, worker's compensation, legal or medical malpractice, or any other fee-generating issue.)

To find out if we can help you, please call our client intake line at 612-752-6677. (If you are deaf, you may call TTY at 1-800-627-3529) Or, you can apply online here.

 Client/Intake Line Hours
 Monday, Wednesday, Thursday
 9:00 a.m.  -  1:00 p.m.

An intake worker will ask you questions to determine if VLN can help you.
Please note: our intake staff are not lawyers and are not able to provide you with legal advice.

 

Frequently Asked Questions  

 What types of legal issues do you help with?
 What type of services do you provide?
 What kind of legal issues do you not help with?
 How can I tell if I will be eligible for your services?
 I have a quick question. Can a lawyer answer my question right away?
 How much can I make and still qualify for your services?
 If I qualify for your services, how long until I meet with a volunteer attorney?
 I need help sooner then that. Is there any other place I may call?
 If I am not eligible for your services, are there other places I may apply?
 You asked me to make copies of my documents. Do you know where I can go for that?
 I cannot afford to make copies. What else can I do?
 I don't have stamps. May drop off my copies at VLN?
 For more information about VLN services
 For more information about the law

What types of legal issues do you help with?

Our volunteer lawyers assist in the areas of housing, real estate, family law, civil law, debtor’s rights, bankruptcy, and other issues common to people in poverty.

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What type of services do you provide?

Our volunteer lawyers provide a wide range of services, ranging from in-person legal advice, telephone advice, brief services (such as a letter, phone call, or court document), and full representation.Which level of service we can provide may depend upon your income, as we are a poverty law service.

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What kind of legal issues do you not help with?

We do not do any criminal law, personal injury law, workers compensation, government benefits or appeals cases. If you have a personal injury question, a lawyer may represent you at no cost through Lawyer Referral and Information Service (612-752-6666). If you have a question on government benefits, you may try Legal Aid at 612-334-5970.

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How can I tell if I will be eligible for your services?

Call our Client Intake Line at 612-752-6677. Our intake staff will ask you a number of questions to find out if you meet the criteria established by our Board of Directors. The questions they will ask you will fall into three categories: 1) income and assets; 2) your legal issues; and 3) county of residence and county of case. Please note: our intake staff are not attorneys.

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I have a quick question. Can a lawyer answer my question right away?

We do not have lawyers in the office. You may want to try looking at www.lawhelpmn.org for answers to many basic legal questions.

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How much can I make and still qualify for your services?

That depends on the type of service and your household situation. Our intake staff will ask you specific questions to let you know.

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If I qualify for your services, how long until I meet with a volunteer attorney?

That depends on your specific issue. Here are some general guidelines. All of these time frames depend upon your providing us with any pre-existing legal document or other paperwork that we ask for:

  • Bankruptcy – within about four weeks of your being accepted for services, a bankruptcy attorney will call you to determine whether we may provide a bankruptcy for you. If the attorney decides that you are not eligible for bankruptcy through us, he or she will provide free legal advice. In some cases, we may provide another service to help you deal with your creditors. If the attorney decides that you are eligible for bankruptcy through us, it usually takes about a month to find an attorney to assist you. If you would like more information about our bankruptcy services, please click here.
  • Divorce - if you are the respondent in a divorce action, it usually takes about a month to find an attorney to help you. If you are the petitioner, it usually takes a little longer.
  • Housing - if you are involved in an eviction action (also called unlawful detainer), we will refer you to our own sites legal advice clinic at the housing court (17th floor of the Hennepin County Government Center).
  • Civil lawsuits - if you are the respondent in a lawsuit to collect a debt, you can usually meet with a volunteer attorney within several weeks. If it is emergency, you can sometimes see an attorney with in a week. In other types of civil lawsuits, it may take a little longer before you see a volunteer attorney. (We often recommend the walk-in free legal advice clinic at the Hennepin County Government Center. (Information and a map))
  • Garnishment actions - if your wages or bank account are being garnished, and you need to file an exemption claim, you can usually see an attorney or supervised law student within one to two weeks.
  • Real estate - if you need legal advice on a real estate question, you can usually see an attorney within two weeks. We also have a specific service for those trying to prevent their homes from being foreclosed.

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I need help sooner then that. Is there any other place I may call?

If you need to speak with an attorney immediately, you may try one of our free walk-in legal advice clinics. We have clinics that help with civil issues, family law issues, housing issues, and real estate issues (Information and a map). You may also call Lawyer Referral and Information Service at 612-752-6666. They can set you up for a free 30 minute consult with an attorney. (There is a $30 administrative fee to set up the appointment.) You may also call Legal Aid at 612-334-5970 to see if they can assist you.

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If I am not eligible for your services, are there other places I may apply?

VLN provides services to those in poverty who can't afford to hire a lawyer. If you do not fit the criteria established by our board, our staff will make every effort to find a resource that may help you.

One place you may call is the Lawyer Referral and Information Service of the Hennepin County Bar Association. This service provides referrals to lawyers who practice in the area of law that is the caller's concern. A lawyer will provide a half-hour consultation without charge to you (although you will need to pay a $30 administrative charge by the Referral Service). The LRIS lawyers have promised to take a client's ability to pay into consideration in setting fees for additional services.

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You asked me to make copies of my documents. Do you know where I can go for that?

You may make copies at Kinko's, Office Depot or libraries near you. VLN staff may not make copies.

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I cannot afford to make copies. What else can I do?

We will start to assist on your case when we receive copies of your documents. If you need time to save up your money to make the copies, let your case placement coordinator know so he or she knows that you will need a little time before starting your case.

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I don't have stamps. May drop off my copies at VLN?

If you wish to drop off your copies rather than mail them, you may do so.

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 For more information about VLN Services:

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For more information about the law (takes you to the www.lawhelp.org website):