Southwest Virginia Legal Aid Society (SVLAS) is a private, non-profit law firm. We provide free civil legal services to low-income families in 17 counties and four small cities in southwestern Virginia.
For more than four decades, SVLAS and its predecessor programs have helped families across our region who face serious legal problems and have nowhere else to turn. Their concerns involve basic needs. Safety. Health. Shelter. Food. Education. Employment.
Approximately 20% of Americans are eligible for free civil legal aid, and by age 60 nearly four times that number - four in five people - will experience some kind of economic hardship. Relying on a government program that provides assistance for those in need. Living at least a year in poverty or close to it.
Those at highest risk include our most vulnerable populations - domestic violence victims and their children, seniors, the disabled, and veterans.
Civil legal aid programs nationwide provide direct legal representation, advice and counseling, community education and self-help and technology tools that can help low-income and middle-class families understand their legal options.
All of these resources can both improve outcomes in the justice system and help problems get resolved without going to court. When litigation is unavoidable, they can help cases move through the courts more effectively and more efficiently - which saves time and money for all.
70% of litigants have to represent themselves in court. They cannot aford to hire a lawyer, even when faced with such life-altering events as the potential loss of a child, a home, healthcare, or a job.
How We Can Help
Our attorneys and paralegals can:
talk with you in person or over the telephone;
help you negotiate with a landlord, employer, creditor, or agency worker; or
represent you in court or at administrative hearings.
We do not charge for our services but you must:
be income-eligible (most families below 200% poverty level are eligible); AND
live in Bland, Buchanan, Carroll, Dickenson, Floyd, Giles, Grayson, Lee, Montgomery, Pulaski, Russell, Scott, Smyth, Tazewell, Washington, Wise, or Wythe Counties OR
live in the cities of Bristol, Galax, Norton or Radford.
Most families living below 200% of poverty level are eligible. Your bills, debts, and any savings are also considered. If you are not sure if you are eligible, please apply.
If you are not eligible, click here to find Self-Help Resources for legal problems in Virginia or click here to find an attorney.
If you live in a different area in Virginia, click here to find the nearest civil legal aid program in Virginia. If you live in another state, click here to find the nearest civil legal aid program in a state other than Virginia.
Four out of five Americans experience economic hardship at some point in their lives.
You, or someone you know, has been helped by a legal aid lawyer or will need that help in future.
The owner of a successful conference business in Central Virginia
once lived in her car.
The skilled manager of a victim/witness program was herself abused.
Help us help the next one; it could be someone you wouldn't expect.
What is Legal Aid???
“Legal aid is about families and family stability, it’s about child custody and child support and adoptions and guardianships.
Legal aid is about personal safety, protection against abuse and violence.
Legal aid is about the roof over your head, shelter, protection from evictions and foreclosures.
Legal aid is about health and food and subsistence…it’s about respecting human dignity, it’s about asserting and protecting legal rights for people who can’t afford to pay for assistance.”
- Jim Sandman, President
Legal Services Corporation
HOW TO APPLY
Apply By Phone
Monday thru Thursday
from 8:30 a.m. to noon
and from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.
Friday from 8:30 am to 12:30 p.m.
To apply online
Before you call:
GATHER ALL INFORMATION
court/hearing dates, eviction notices,
summons letters, protective orders, etc. Also, income for ALL household members.
WE WILL NEED TO KNOW
where you live (county and state);
type of problem you are having (divorce,
custody, garnishment, loss of benefits, etc.);
where you are having the
problem (county and state);
your full name;
full name of the person, company
or agency you are having the problem with;
number of adults (age 18+) and children
living in the home;
gross income (before deductions) of
each member of the household;
assets, such as checking or savings accounts, IRAs, stocks, bonds, number of vehicles;
mailing address (where you get your mail), physical address (where you live)