Sources of Free (or Almost Free) Legal Information

Part of the Law For Dummies Cheat Sheet

If you need legal advice but have financial concerns and cannot afford an attorney, look to these resources for free, or almost free, legal advice:

  • An attorney who practices in the area of law that you need information about: Find an attorney who will give you a free initial consultation (most do). Come to that meeting well prepared and learn all you need to know to resolve your legal problem yourself, assuming it’s relatively simple and straightforward.

  • Bankrate.com: Give yourself a financial education by spending time at Bank Rate. You’ll find information about a variety of topics, including credit cards, debt consolidation, mortgage and home equity loans, and much more.

  • The Federal Citizen Information Center: Click on www.pueblo.gsa.gov to access information, on such topics as housing, autos, money, health, employment, small business, scams, and federal government programs. You can also connect to more than 26 million state and local government Web sites and get your questions about a federal government program or service answered by the federal National Contact Center.

  • The Consumers Action Handbook: Every home in America needs a copy of this publication, which provides practical information for being a smart consumer. It includes reviews of important consumer laws, suggestions for handling your own legal problems and a sample complaint letter, the addresses and phone numbers of offices to contact for help resolving consumer problems, including national consumer organizations, corporate consumer contacts, trade associations; government agencies and dispute resolution programs. To order a copy, write to Handbook, Federal Citizen Information Center, Pueblo, CO 81009 or call 1-888-878-3256.

  • Your Federal Elected Officials: Contact the offices of your U.S. senator and representative for help dealing with a problem you are having with a government agency or program, updates on pending legislation, and more. Hey, they are your public servants! To connect with your U.S. elected officials, call 202-225-3121 or e-mail them. For their e-mail and street addresses, go to THOMAS, the Web site of the Library of Congress, Thomas.loc.gov.

  • Business Veteran: If you’re an entrepreneur or aspiring entrepreneur, check out what SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) has to offer. A national nonprofit organization that is a “resource partner” with the federal Small Business Administration, SCORE harnesses the know-how and experience of retired business owners to help you establish a business or grow an existing one. Get online advice and counseling from SCORE volunteers by going to www.score.org, or visit the SCORE office closest to you. To locate that office, go to the SCORE Web site or call 1-800-634-0245.

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