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Consumer Pamphlet: Legal Aid in Florida

Table of ContentsLegal Aid In Florida

What Is The History Of Legal Aid?
How Is Legal Aid Financed?
What Do Legal Services Lawyers Do?
What Cases Are Handled By Legal Services Offices?
What Will The Legal Services Cost?
Who Can Apply for Legal Services?
Where Are Legal Services Offices Located?


The U.S. Constitution guarantees equal justice under the law, but those words mean little unless everyone has access to our legal system.

If you have a civil legal problem but cannot afford to hire a private lawyer, you may have access to the legal system through your local legal services/legal aid organization, which provides free or low cost legal services to people with low incomes.

What is the History of Legal Aid?

Providing access to legal representation to those in need has been a tradition in this country. Earlier programs operated by volunteer lawyers from local bar associations were called legal aid societies.

Later, a federal effort to provide funds for legal counsel to the needy began in the mid-1960s. The federal government established, within the Office of Economic Opportunity, an Office of Legal Services to distribute federal money to local programs called Legal Services Organizations. These programs were transferred to the Legal Services Corp. (LSC), created by Congress in 1975.

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How is Legal Aid Financed?

Today in Florida, legal aid societies and legal services organizations in various counties are multi-sponsored and funded by federal, state and local governments, The Florida Bar Foundation, The Florida Bar, local bar associations and special grants. Florida is divided into seven regions, each having programs that receive LSC funding as well as programs that do not receive LSC funding but are funded by other sources, and thus able to accept a broader range of cases. Both programs work toward the common goal of equal justice and legal representation for all under the legal system.

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What Do Legal Services Lawyers Do?

Lawyers in a legal services office provide the same legal services as any other attorney. They can advise and represent you in most areas of civil law, although each program has priorities for the types of cases it will take.

Because the number of people demanding legal services exceeds the staff and money available to handle cases, legal services offices limit the types of cases taken.

They do not handle criminal cases, because the state provides public defenders to represent people accused of criminal actions who cannot afford private attorneys.

Also, the legal services offices generally do not deal with cases in which a person is seeking money as a settlement. In such cases, a private attorney usually will represent a client without any initial charge, collecting a fee only if the client wins the case. Then the attorney’s fee is a percentage of the client’s settlement. This is called a contingency fee.

Check with the office in your community if you have questions about the types of cases handled.

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What Cases Are Handled by Legal Services Offices?

The following are only a few examples of the types of cases usually handled:

  • Civil Issues
  • Consumer
  • Divorce
  • Domestic violence
  • Education
  • Family law
  • Foreclosure defense
  • Health welfare
  • Immigration issues
  • Landlord/tenant
  • Public benefits
  • Senior benefits
  • Social Security

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What Will the Legal Services Cost?

Most legal services offices offer their assistance free of charge to people who qualify. Some areas have Low-Fee Panels for people with low fixed incomes.

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Who Can Apply for Legal Services?

Free legal services are meant for people of low income who cannot afford the services of an attorney. Many programs have different standards, and you will have to check with your community office to find out if you qualify. Some offices base their eligibility only on income, while others will consider ownership of property and size of family. It is important that you call your legal assistance provider to learn whether you qualify.

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Where are Legal Services Offices Located?

It is difficult to keep a list up to date, so if you have a problem in contacting an office, you can do an internet search for legal aid by county or contact a local bar association. Below is a list by county:

Americans for Immigrant Justice – Miami Office: 305-573-1106

Jacksonville Area Legal Aid: 904-356-8371, 904-353-1320 V/TTY, Video, toll-free 866-356-8371

Three Rivers Legal Services Inc.: 352-372-0519, toll-free 866-256-8091

Florida Justice Institute (cases concerning incarceration and conditions) – Miami: 305-358-2081

Florida Justice Institute (cases concerning incarceration and conditions) – Miami: 305-358-2081

Jacksonville Area Legal Aid: 904-356-8371, 904-353-1320 V/TTY, Video, toll-free 866-356-8371

Three Rivers Legal Services Inc.: 904-394-7450, toll-free 866-256-8091

Florida Justice Institute (cases concerning incarceration and conditions) – Miami: 305-358-2081

Legal Services of North Florida Inc. – Panama City: 850-769-3581

North Florida Center for Equal Justice – Tallahassee: 850-701-3980

Brevard County Legal Aid Inc. – Rockledge: 321-631-2500

Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida Inc. – Daytona Beach: 386-255-6573, toll-free 800-405-1417

Florida Justice Institute (cases concerning incarceration and conditions) – Miami: 305-358-2081

Coast to Coast Legal Aid of South Florida Inc. – Plantation: 954-736-2400

FIU College of Law Educational Advocacy Clinic – Miami: 305-348-7541

Americans for Immigrant Justice – Miami Office: 305-573-1106

Florida Justice Institute (cases concerning incarceration and conditions) – Miami: 305-358-2081

Legal Aid Service of Broward County Inc. – Plantation: 954-765-8950

Florida Justice Institute (cases concerning incarceration and conditions) – Miami: 305-358-2081

Legal Services of North Florida Inc. – Quincy, 850-875-9881

North Florida Center for Equal Justice – Tallahassee, 850-701-3980

Florida Justice Institute (cases concerning incarceration and conditions) – Miami: 305-358-2081

Florida Rural Legal Services – Fort Myers: 239-334-4554

Florida Rural Legal Services – Punta Gorda: 941-505-9007

Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida Inc. – Inverness: 352-726-8512, toll-free 800-405-1417

Florida Justice Institute (cases concerning incarceration and conditions) – Miami: 305-358-2081

Florida Justice Institute (cases concerning incarceration and conditions) – Miami: 305-358-2081

Jacksonville Area Legal Aid Inc. – Green Cove Springs: 904-284-8410

Jacksonville Area Legal Aid Inc. – Jacksonville: 904-356-8371, 904-353-1320 V/TTY, Video

Three Rivers Legal Services Inc. – Jacksonville: 904-394-7450, toll-free 866-256-8091

Americans for Immigrant Justice – Miami Office: 305-573-1106

Florida Justice Institute (cases concerning incarceration and conditions) – Miami: 305-358-2081

Florida Rural Legal Services – Fort Myers: 239-334-4554

Legal Aid Society of Collier County Inc. – Immokalee: 239-657-7442

Legal Aid Society of Collier County Inc. – Naples: 239-775-4555

Florida Justice Institute (cases concerning incarceration and conditions) – Miami: 305-358-2081

Three Rivers Legal Services Inc. – Lake City: 386-752-5960, toll-free 866-256-8091

Jacksonville Area Legal Aid: 904-356-8371, 904-353-1320 V/TTY, Video, toll-free 866-356-8371

Florida Justice Institute (cases concerning incarceration and conditions) – Miami: 305-358-2081

Florida Rural Legal Services – Fort Myers: 239-334-4554

Florida Rural Legal Services – Lakeland: 863-688-7376

Florida Justice Institute (cases concerning incarceration and conditions) – Miami: 305-358-2081

Jacksonville Area Legal Aid Inc. – Jacksonville: 904-356-8371, 904-353-1320 V/TTY, Video

Three Rivers Legal Services Inc. – Jacksonville: 904-394-7450, toll-free 866-256-8091

Florida Justice Institute (cases concerning incarceration and conditions) – Miami: 305-358-2081

Legal Services of North Florida Inc. – Pensacola: 850-432-8222

Northwest Florida Legal Services Inc. – Pensacola: 850-432-2336

North Florida Center for Equal Justice – Tallahassee: 850-701-3980

Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida Inc. – Palatka: 386-328-8361, toll-free 800-405-1417

Florida Justice Institute (cases concerning incarceration and conditions) – Miami: 305-358-2081

Florida Justice Institute (cases concerning incarceration and conditions) – Miami: 305-358-2081

Legal Services of North Florida Inc. – Tallahassee: 850-385-9007

North Florida Center for Equal Justice – Tallahassee: 850-701-3980

Florida Justice Institute (cases concerning incarceration and conditions) – Miami: 305-358-2081

Legal Services of North Florida Inc. – Quincy: 850-875-9881

North Florida Center for Equal Justice – Tallahassee: 850-701-3980

Florida Justice Institute (cases concerning incarceration and conditions) – Miami: 305-358-2081

Florida Rural Legal Services – Fort Myers: 239-334-4554

Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida Inc. – Tavares: 352-352-0815, toll-free 800-405-1417

Florida Justice Institute (cases concerning incarceration and conditions) – Miami: 305-358-2081

Florida Rural Legal Services – Lakeland: 863-688-7376

Heart of Florida Legal Aid Society Inc. – Bartow: 863-519-5663

Heart of Florida Legal Aid Society Inc. – Sebring: 863-402-6983

Americans for Immigrant Justice – Miami Office: 305-573-1106

Florida Justice Institute (cases concerning incarceration and conditions) – Miami: 305-358-2081

Florida Rural Legal Services – Belle Glade: 561-993-0003, 800-277-768

Florida Rural Legal Services – Fort Myers: 239-334-4554

Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida Inc. – Inverness: 352-726-8512, toll-free 800-405-1417

Florida Justice Institute (cases concerning incarceration and conditions) – Miami: 305-358-2081

Florida Justice Institute (cases concerning incarceration and conditions) – Miami: 305-358-2081

Florida Rural Legal Services – Lakeland: 863-688-7376

Heart of Florida Legal Aid Society Inc. – Bartow: 863-519-5663

Heart of Florida Legal Aid Society Inc. – Sebring: 863-402-6983

Bay Area Legal Services Inc. – Tampa: 813-864-2280

Bay Area Legal Services Inc. – Plant City: 813-752-1335

Bay Area Legal Services Inc. – Ruskin: 813-634-6011

Florida Justice Institute (cases concerning incarceration and conditions) – Miami: 305-358-2081

Florida Justice Institute (cases concerning incarceration and conditions) – Miami: 305-358-2081

Florida Rural Legal Services – Fort Pierce: 772-466-4766

Florida Justice Institute (cases concerning incarceration and conditions) – Miami: 305-358-2081

Legal Services of North Florida Inc. – Tallahassee: 850-385-9007

North Florida Center for Equal Justice – Tallahassee: 850-701-3980

Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida Inc. – Tavares: 352-343-0815, toll-free 800-405-1417

Florida Justice Institute (cases concerning incarceration and conditions) – Miami: 305-358-2081

Americans for Immigrant Justice – Miami Office: 305-573-1106

Florida Justice Institute (cases concerning incarceration and conditions) – Miami: 305-358-2081

Florida Rural Legal Services – Fort Myers: 239-334-4554

Lee County Legal Aid Society Inc. – Fort Myers: 239-334-6118

Florida Justice Institute (cases concerning incarceration and conditions) – Miami: 305-358-2081

Legal Aid Foundation of the Tallahassee Bar Association Inc. – Tallahassee: 850-222-3292

Legal Services of North Florida Inc. – Tallahassee: 850-385-9007

North Florida Center for Equal Justice – Tallahassee: 850-701-3980

Florida Justice Institute (cases concerning incarceration and conditions) – Miami: 305-358-2081

Gulfcoast Legal Services Inc. – Bradenton: 941-746-6151

Legal Aid of Manasota Inc. – Sarasota: 941-366-0038

Legal Aid of Manasota Inc. – Venice: 941-494-4631

Legal Aid of Manasota Inc. – Bradenton: 941-7471628

Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida Inc. – Ocala: 352-629-0105

Florida Justice Institute (cases concerning incarceration and conditions) – Miami: 305-358-2081

Florida Justice Institute (cases concerning incarceration and conditions) – Miami: 305-358-2081

Florida Rural Legal Services – Fort Pierce: 772-466-4766

Cuban American Bar Association (CABA) Pro Bono Project Inc. – Miami: 305-646-0046

Dade Legal Aid – Miami: 305-579-5733

Legal Services of Greater Miami Inc. – Miami: 305-576-0080

FIU College of Law Educational Advocacy Clinic – Miami: 305-348-7541

Americans for Immigrant Justice – Miami Office: 305-573-1106

Florida Justice Institute (cases concerning incarceration and conditions) – Miami: 305-358-2081

Guardianship Program for Dade County Inc. – Miami: 305-592-7642

Americans for Immigrant Justice – Miami Office: 305-573-1106

Florida Justice Institute (cases concerning incarceration and conditions) – Miami: 305-358-2081

Legal Services of Greater Miami Inc. – Miami: 305-576-0080

Florida Justice Institute (cases concerning incarceration and conditions) – Miami: 305-358-2081

Jacksonville Area Legal Aid Inc. – Jacksonville: 904-356-8371, 904-353-1320 V/TTY, Video

Three Rivers Legal Services Inc. – Jacksonville: 904-394-7450, toll-free 866-256-8091

Florida Justice Institute (cases concerning incarceration and conditions) – Miami: 305-358-2081

Legal Services of North Florida Inc. – Fort Walton Beach: 850-862-3279

North Florida Center for Equal Justice – Tallahassee: 850-701-3980

Florida Justice Institute (cases concerning incarceration and conditions) – Miami: 305-358-2081

Florida Rural Legal Services – Fort Pierce: 772-466-4766

Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida Inc. – Orlando: 407-841-7777, toll-free 800-405-1417

Florida Institutional Legal Services Inc. – Gainesville: 352-375-2494, or email

Florida Justice Institute (cases concerning incarceration and conditions) – Miami: 305-358-2081

Legal Aid Society of the Orange County Bar Association Inc. – Orlando: 407-841-8310

Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida Inc. – Kissimmee: 407-847-0053, toll-free 800-405-1417

Florida Justice Institute (cases concerning incarceration and conditions) – Miami: 305-358-2081

Legal Aid Society of the Orange County Bar Association Inc. – Orlando: 407-841-8310

Americans for Immigrant Justice – Miami Office: 305-573-1106

Florida Justice Institute (cases concerning incarceration and conditions) – Miami: 305-358-2081

Florida Rural Legal Services – Belle Glade: 561-993-0003

Florida Rural Legal Services – West Palm Beach: 561-820-8902

Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County Inc. – West Palm Beach: 561-655-8944, toll-free 800-403-9353

Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County Inc. – Belle Glade: 561-655-8944, toll-free 800-403-9353

Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County Inc. – Delray Beach: 561-655-8944, toll-free 800-403-9353

Bay Area Legal Services Inc. – Dade City: 352-567-9044, www.bals.org

Bay Area Legal Services Inc. – New Port Richey: 727-847-5494, www.bals.org

Florida Justice Institute (cases concerning incarceration and conditions) – Miami: 305-358-2081

Bay Area Legal Services Inc. – St. Petersburg: 727-490-4040

Bay Area Legal Services, Inc. – Clearwater: 727-490-4040,

Community Law Program – St. Petersburg: 727-582-7480

Florida Justice Institute (cases concerning incarceration and conditions) – Miami: 305-358-2081

Gulfcoast Legal Services Inc. – Clearwater: 727-443-0657

Gulfcoast Legal Services Inc. – St. Petersburg: 727-821-0726

Florida Justice Institute (cases concerning incarceration and conditions) – Miami: 305-358-2081

Florida Rural Legal Services – Lakeland: 863-688-7376, toll-free 800-277-7680

Heart of Florida Legal Aid Society Inc. – Bartow: 863-519-5663

Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida Inc. – Daytona Beach: 386-255-6573, toll-free 800-405-1417

Florida Justice Institute (cases concerning incarceration and conditions) – Miami: 305-358-2081

Jacksonville Area Legal Aid Inc. – Jacksonville: 904-356-8371, 904-353-1320 V/TTY, Video

Jacksonville Area Legal Aid Inc. – St. Augustine: 904-827-9921

Three Rivers Legal Services Inc. – Jacksonville: 904-394-7450, toll-free 866-256-8091

Florida Justice Institute (cases concerning incarceration and conditions) – Miami: 305-358-2081

Florida Rural Legal Services – Fort Pierce: 772-466-4766, toll-free (888) 582-3410

Florida Justice Institute (cases concerning incarceration and conditions) – Miami: 305-358-2081

Legal Services of North Florida Inc. – Pensacola: 850-432-8222

Northwest Florida Legal Services Inc. – Pensacola, 850-432-2336

North Florida Center for Equal Justice: 850-701-3980

Florida Justice Institute (cases concerning incarceration and conditions) – Miami: 305-358-2081

Gulfcoast Legal Services Inc. – Sarasota: 941-366-1746

Legal Aid of Manasota Inc. – Sarasota: 941-366-0038

Legal Aid of Manasota Inc. – Venice: 941-492-4631

Legal Aid of Manasota Inc. – Bradenton: 941-747-1628

Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida Inc. – Sanford: 407-322-8983, toll-free 800-405-1417

Florida Justice Institute (cases concerning incarceration and conditions) – Miami: 305-358-2081

Seminole County Bar Association Legal Aid Society Inc. – Longwood: 407-834-1660

Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida Inc. – Daytona Beach: 386-255-6573, toll-free 800-405-1417

Florida Justice Institute (cases concerning incarceration and conditions) – Miami: 305-358-2081

Florida Justice Institute (cases concerning incarceration and conditions) – Miami: 305-358-2081

Legal Services of North Florida Inc. – Tallahassee: 850-385-9007

North Florida Center for Equal Justice – Tallahassee: 850-701-3980

This material represents general legal advice. Since the law is continually changing, some provisions in this pamphlet may be out of date. It is always best to consult an attorney about your legal rights and responsibilities regarding your particular case.

[Updated October 2022]