How to apply for help at Legal Aid

For Free Legal Help

You can apply for help with a legal matter in any of Legal Aid's practice areas at any time by using our online form. Or you can apply for help by phone for matters involving:
  • Family law and domestic violence
  • Rental housing
  • Immigration
  • Public benefits
  • Reentry
  • Most consumer law issues (foreclosure, real property tax, structured settlement annuity transfers, and bankruptcy matters).(For debt collection matters, please call the Debt Collection Defense hotline at 202-851-3387.)

You can call about one or more of the above matters on our intake phone line (202-628-1161) which is open on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10 AM - 3 PM.  Another way to get help is to call one of the hotlines staffed by Legal Aid and other DC legal services organizations:
  • For debt collection matters, you can call the Debt Collection Defense hotline at 202-851-3387.
  • For a rental housing issue, you call the Landlord Tenant Legal Assistance Network at 202-780-2575.
  • For a family law matter, you can call:
    • The Family Law Assistance Network at 202-844-5428.
    • The Child Support Resource Center at 202-791-3996
  • For a domestic violence matter, you can call:
    • The Domestic Violence Intake Center (NW) at 202-879-0152
    • The Domestic Violence Intake Center (SE) at 202-879-1500
We are happy to talk with you or review your online application, but we cannot guarantee that Legal Aid will be able to represent you. If you contact us, we will keep your application information confidential and will follow the legal ethics rules for lawyers in DC.

Legal Aid’s services are free.

  • Legal Aid helps people with low household income.  
  • If your household income is above Legal Aid’s guidelines, we may be able to give you other helpful resources.

Legal Aid helps with legal problems or cases in the District of Columbia.  

  • If you do not live in DC, but your legal problem or case is in DC, we may be able to help you.  
  • If your legal problem or case is in another city or state, go to to find help in that city or state.

Legal Aid only helps with some types of legal problems.  

  • Click here to find out more about what types of legal problems we handle. 
  • For information about other places to look for legal help in the DC, go to Legal Aid’s Referral List or

Even if your household income meets Legal Aid’s guidelines and you have a legal problem in DC in a subject area that Legal Aid handles, we still may not be able to help you. 

  • We may have a conflict of interest which means that the ethical rules for lawyers might prevent us from being able to help you with a particular legal issue or case. 
  • We also don’t have enough staff and resources to help everyone who comes to us who needs help.

If we are unable to help you, we may be able to give you referral information about other legal organizations that might be able to help you.

What happens when I apply for help online?

Submit an online intake application through our website

Legal Aid reviews your application and tries to get back to you within 2 weeks

Step 1: 

  • Fill out an intake application online hereYou do not need to call the intake line if you are filling out an online application.
  • Upload documents related to your legal problem if you have any.  If you don’t have documents to upload, you can still submit the online application.

Step 2: 

  • Legal Aid will review your online application.
  • If we might be able to help you, someone will contact you by phone or email to follow up with you.
  • If we are not able to help you, we will send you an email to let you know.

What happens when I call Legal Aid’s intake line for help?

Provide basic info about your issue

Schedule an intake interview if Legal Aid may be able to help

Complete an in-depth intake interview

Step 1: 

  • An intake specialist will gather basic information about you and your legal problem.
  • If no one answers when you call, please leave a message with your name, phone number, and a brief description of your legal problem.  An intake specialist will call you back if it is a problem we can help you resolve.

Step 2: 

  • If you have a problem that Legal Aid might be able to help you with, a Legal Aid staff member will call you back to complete a full intake interview at that time or at a later time when you are available.

We’re here to help you