Question
My daughter has a serious legal problem that needs immediate attention. However, she’s a single mother with only a minimum wage job and can’t afford an attorney. What can I do?
Answer
There’s a number of options available to your daughter. Which option she should choose depends, in part, on the type of legal problem she’s facing.

In some types of legal problems, particularly personal injury matters, an attorney will see and, if appropriate, represent you without requiring prepayment of their fee. They will recover their attorney fees and expenses out of the recovery they make for you.

For other types of civil legal matters, for example divorces or landlord/tenant issues, an attorney normally will not represent you without pre-payment of fees. If your daughter is facing a problem in the areas, she may want to apply with the local Jefferson County Bar Association Pro-Bono Programs or East Texas Legal Services. The Pro-Bono Program is provided by attorneys in Jefferson County, on a voluntary basis, to provide free legal services to low-income residents of the county in certain types of legal matters. Attorneys volunteer many hours a year to this program in an effort to give something back to their communities. East Texas Legal Services is a non-profit taxpayer funded legal aid office which provides civil legal services for low income Texans throughout East Texas. You can contact the Jefferson County Pro-Bono Program at (409) 839-2332 or East Texas Legal Services at (409) 835-4971.

Should your daughter be facing a criminal matter and cannot afford an attorney, she has a constitutional right to appointment of counsel. These appointments are normally handled through the court in which the criminal case is pending. Procedures vary from court to court.

If you would like to submit a question for “You and the Law”, call us at 1-800-833-9151 or contact us online. While we will not be able to answer all questions sent in, we hope to answer those that impact the greatest number of readers. In reading this article please remember we are providing general answers to broad questions, your individual situation is unique and cannot be dealt with thoroughly in the space of a newspaper article.

When you are facing a serious legal issue, you should always consult with an attorney about your individual circumstances and how they impact the general principles discussed in this article. You should also not hesitate to call Waldman Smallwood at 1-800-833-9151 or contact us online.

Tom Oxford, Attorney
Waldman Smallwood Law Firm, P.C.

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