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Home : About Us : Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get in touch with Legal Action to discuss my legal problem? 

Offices are available in:  Green Bay, La Crosse, Madison, Milwaukee, Oshkosh, and Racine.  Please use our Contact Us page to locate the office closest to you and to learn the best time for you to call.

What kinds of cases does Legal Action handle? 

See our Areas of Law and Special Projects page for a detailed description of cases handled. Legal Action typically takes the following types of cases:

  • housing
  • public benefits (welfare)
  • family law
  • health insurance
  • Social Security
  • license revocations and suspensions (drivers licenses & occupational licenses)
  • inaccurate criminal background records & arrest records.

Please call us and describe your problem, even if it is not on this list.  Use the Contact Us page to find us.

What kinds of cases does Legal Action NOT handle? 

  • criminal
  • Selective Service
  • school desegregation
  • voter redistricting
  • class action
  • welfare reform
  • abortion
  • fee-generating cases (such as personal injury cases)
  • cases for undocumented aliens
  • court cases for prisoners

See our Areas of Law and Special Projects page for a detailed description of the types of cases that we handle.

Why won't you take my case? 

Legal Action carefully considers every request for service and our lawyers take as many cases as they can. We are constantly working to get more funding to add lawyers. But, there may be several reasons that we won't take your case:

  • you might not have an actual legal problem; 
  • you might have a type of legal problem that we don't or can't handle; 
  • your problem might not have merit under our laws and regulations; 
  • we might not have enough lawyers ; 
  • you might not be considered low-income; and 
  • many others. 

Can Legal Action take my case if I am in prison/jail and I need a lawyer? 

Legal Action cannot represent prisoners in court actions.

Why doesn't Legal Action handle personal injury cases? 

As a condition of federal funding from the Legal Services Corporation, we can't handle certain kinds of cases, including personal injury cases.  Many attorneys will accept personal injury cases on a contingent fee basis. Please use a lawyer referral service to find a lawyer.  See our Additional Resources page for information about lawyer referral services.

What is a low-income person? How much money can I make and still get help from Legal Action? 

The federal government’s income guidelines determine whether a person is low-income and therefore eligible for our services.  Please see our Income Eligibility page.  However, we strongly encourage potential clients to call us about income eligibility.  We need to talk with you to know whether you qualify.  All income information is kept strictly confidential.

Is there a charge for Legal Action's services? Do clients pay for Legal Action's services? 

No. Services are free for qualified, income-eligible persons. See our Income Eligibility Guidelines page for more information. Please note that the income information is merely a guideline. We encourage you to call and ask whether you’re eligible.  All income and asset information is kept confidential. 
SeniorLAW, a program of Legal Action that serves Milwaukee County residents who are 60 and older, and our Elder Rights Project, do not have client income and asset limitations.

Who can ask for help from Legal Action? 

  • Low-income persons
  • Migrant and seasonal workers (often referred to as migrant farmworkers) 
  • Milwaukee County senior citizens with civil legal problems may receive services from Legal Action.

There are income and asset limitations for most services. See eligibility guidelines for general information and contact Legal Action for determination of eligibility. (Our SeniorLAW program, which serves persons 60 and older in Milwaukee, and our Elder Rights Project, which serves elder abuse victims throughout Wisconsin, has no income eligibility requirements.)

What does 'screening' mean? 

Sometimes, we conduct a ‘screening' interview over the phone before we do an intake with a potential client. Basic information is collected during these interviews. They help determine whether you are eligible and whether your legal problem is one where we can help. All information given is kept confidential.

What does 'intake' mean? 

'Intake' is the time set aside for potential clients to call or come into a Legal Action office to talk with a staff member about getting help for their civil legal problem.

What do I need to bring to the 'intake' or "screening" or have on-hand when I call? 

To help us evaluate you case, when you call or come to our office, have any documents, notices, letters, etc. relating to your situation or problem on hand.  All information is kept confidential.

Where does Legal Action get its funding? 

The majority of our funding is from Congress via the Legal Services Corporation.  We also receive other federal funding, such as the Victim of Crime Act (VOCA) funding, the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW),  Office on Crime Victim Services in the Department of Justice, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF -- administered by the State of Wisconsin's Department of Children and Families.)  Also, we receive funding from attorney dues and interest on lawyers' trust accounts (administered by Wisconsin Trust Account Foundation), the Wisconsin Equal Justice Fund, other government agencies, foundations, corporations, individual lawyers and community members, and law firms.  See our Donate pages to learn ways that you can support our work.

Why do you ask people to donate to Legal Action? 

Because Legal Action does not charge clients for services, we ask lawyers, law firms, supporters, and the general community to support us -- by donating both money and services. We can't do this work without community support. Legal Action of Wisconsin is a non-profit organization:  All donations to the organization are tax deductible as allowed by the law.

Why am I talking with a paralegal instead of an attorney? Is that okay? 

Legal Action uses paralegal staff members to help clients and to help our lawyers.  They are highly skilled and experienced members of our staff.  They are supervised closely by lawyers.

Why don’t you have legal advice or legal education materials on your website? 

The civil legal problems of low-income people are both complex and critically important and our services are tailored to meet individual client’s needs.  They can’t be delivered on a website.  We recommend that you call us to see whether we can help.

What if I’m unhappy with Legal Action’s services? 

Please read our firmwide complaint procedure.

What if I'm happy with Legal Action’s services? 

Please use our secure and confidential form to submit compliments and your own stories.