Frequently Asked Questions

Are LegalCORPS services limited to the Twin Cities area?
After I submit my application how long will it take to get an attorney?
If my case is not placed will I receive a refund of the $50 administrative fee?
What if limited proficiency in English poses a barrier?
Why does the LegalCORPS application for full-representation assistance require so much documentation?
How often can I use LegalCORPS services?
Why does LegalCORPS use income guidelines to determine eligibility for free full-representation assistance?
Why do you want to know whether I have worked with another attorney on this legal matter?
What if my business has owners besides me?
What happens if I want to work with the same attorney after I am no longer eligible for free LegalCORPS services?

 

Are LegalCORPS services limited to the Twin Cities area?

No, LegalCORPS assists small businesses and nonprofit organizations throughout Minnesota. It is a statewide organization.

 

After I submit my application how long will it take to get an attorney?

The answer will differ for every client, depending on factors that include the nature of the case, attorney availability, the presence of conflicts of interest, and the number of other cases awaiting placement.

LegalCORPS cannot guarantee that a case will be placed but will make a good faith effort to find representation for an eligible client.

Although placement often takes place within a week after LegalCORPS posts a pro bono opportunity with its volunteer attorneys, the placement process can take weeks.

If a matter is time-sensitive (for instance, it has a deadline) LegalCORPS will attempt to expedite the search process.

 

If my case is not placed will I receive a refund of the $50 administrative fee?

Yes.

 

What if limited proficiency in English poses a barrier?

LegalCORPS does not have ready access to interpreters.   However, LegalCORPS can try to arrange an intrepreter’s services when circumstances call for them.

LegalCORPS plans to eventually provide materials in additional languages on this website.

 

Why does the LegalCORPS application for full-representation assistance require so much documentation?

The LegalCORPS application process is thorough in order to ensure that the client receives the appropriate service, the attorney understands the nature of the case and the client’s economic situation, and to avoid conflicts of interest that may prevent representation by a particular attorney.

Knowing the full story enables LegalCORPS to make a fair assessment of eligibility and find the best match possible. (Also, some of LegalCORPS’s funders require it to follow low-income guidelines.)

If a client applies for a second time to LegalCORPS it may not be necessary for the client to send in all of the same materials as before because everything from the first application is kept on file. It is the client’s responsibility, however, to ensure that LegalCORPS has the most up-to-date information in its files.

 

How often can I use LegalCORPS services?

As long as you are eligible for free LegalCORPS assistance and you present appropriate legal issues, you may continue to receive assistance through LegalCORPS.

NOTE:  Although a person can receive brief advice at a LegalCORPS clinic more than once, LegalCORPS will give priority to first-time users.   LegalCORPS will act to prevent excessive return visits to clinics.   A person also should be aware that multiple brief-advice sessions will not result in the equivalent of full-representation assistance.

 

Why does LegalCORPS use income guidelines to determine eligibility for free full-representation assistance?

LegalCORPS provides free legal assistance exclusively through the services of volunteers.   Those volunteers ask LegalCORPS for assurance that the clients LegalCORPS asks them to assist for free are clients that the attorneys would want to assist for free — and who would not have access to needed legal assistance otherwise.  Income level is an important factor in determining that.

 

Why do you want to know whether I have worked with another attorney on this legal matter?

As part of the legal community, LegalCORPS respects the professional relationships attorneys enter with their clients. If you have worked with an attorney on the same or similar legal issue you are presenting to LegalCORPS, we will notify the attorney and ensure that there is no barrier to LegalCORPS providing representation. We will obtain your permission before contacting the attorney.

Also, if you have worked with another attorney on a fee-paying basis, LegalCORPS might request further information from  you for an understanding of why you no longer working with that attorney.

 

What if my business has owners besides me?

Each owner should have separate legal counsel to better ensure that his/her individual interests are adequately addressed.

If all owners are eligible for full-representation assistance,  LegalCORPS can recruit separate attorneys for each owner.  If owners want joint representation, LegalCORPS will require a written waiver of claims of conflicts of interest, signed by all owners.

If one owner of a business is eligible for full-representation assistance but another is not, LegalCORPS will consider all pertinent cirumstances in determining whether to provide free assistance, and to whom, and whether that assistance will be limited.

In brief-advice settings, rules that govern the practice of law can limit or even prevent LegalCORPS attorneys from providing advice to more than one client at a time regarding the same business.

 

What happens if I want to work with the same attorney after I am no longer eligible for free LegalCORPS services?

LegalCORPS determines a client’s eligibility each time the client applies for assistance.  LegalCORPS matches attorneys with clients for each new application.  For each attorney-client match LegalCORPS makes, the lawyer and client makes a new client representation agreement.  It is a good practice to formalize this representation through your own retainers and letters of representation as well.

LegalCORPS understands that attorney-client relationships often build over time, and that an attorney and client might want to continue to work together. They certainly can do so through LegalCORPS, as long as the client meets eligibility criteria.

Once a client is no longer eligible for LegalCORPS services, the attorney and client are free to continue their relationship without the involvement of LegalCORPS.