Finding Legal Assistance
There are limited legal resources to assist student loan borrowers, but some options do exist. There are organizations in every state and most communities which provide free legal help to people whose incomes fall below certain amounts. Many of these programs are funded by the Legal Services Corporation (LSC). Borrowers can find out more by looking up LSC’s web site or by calling (202) 295-1500.
There are also legal services programs that are not funded by LSC, including the following (Note that this is not an exhaustive list):
- Baltimore, MD: Civil Justice, Inc.
- Boston, MA: Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School, Project on Predatory Student Lending
- Minneapolis, MN: Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid
- Raleigh, N.C.: North Carolina Justice Center
- Philadelphia, PA: Community Legal Services of Philadelphia, Inc.
- Roanoke, VA: Legal Aid Society of Roanoke Valley (serves Roanoke, Botetourt, Franklin, Craig and Bedford Counties)
If you cannot find a legal services organization in your area, try asking a local social services or consumer protection agency for referrals. LawHelp.org also helps low and moderate income people find free legal aid referrals. Court clerks often have information about legal services programs as well.
All states have consumer protection agencies, listed here.
For consumer law problems, borrowers should also look up the National Association of Consumer Advocates (NACA) list of members. NACA’s list is divided by region and by area of practice. The members also rate their level of experience in different consumer areas. Contact NACA by calling (202) 452-1989 or check out the NACA website. Another helpful resource is The National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, which provides referral lists for local bankruptcy lawyers. Find out more by calling 202-331-8005.