Montana Legal Services Association (MLSA) is a private, non-profit law firm, providing non-criminal legal information, advice, and representation to thousands of Montanans each year. MLSA’s services help fight scams on seniors, assist veterans who have been denied their earned benefits, help people escape abusive relationships, and represent families living in unsafe housing conditions.
The American ideal is “Equal Justice for All”, but unfortunately, there is no “right to an attorney” for those facing non-criminal legal problems. For many Montanans, especially those with limited incomes, the high cost of legal assistance can prevent them from obtaining the help they need.
That is why MLSA works to provide civil legal aid to individuals throughout Montana, especially those with limited income. They ensure that equal justice for all is a reality, and not just for those who can afford it.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, MLSA and NeighborWorks Montana (NWMT) have been working to refine a more direct process to connect those who need legal help to the services that MLSA provides. MLSA now has a dedicated staff person who is available to NWMT and their partners. When someone is identified who may benefit from legal advice, NWMT and their partners are able to call or email the staff member with the person’s contact information and the staff member will reach out.
MLSA has also partnered with the Montana Department of Commerce to develop a new program to provide free legal assistance to tenants facing eviction proceedings across the state. Called the Montana Eviction Intervention Project (MEIP), this program is intended to address the eviction crisis caused by COVID-19. Any tenant facing an eviction, regardless of income, can get access to an attorney through MLSA.
MLSA has an online application form, allowing those who need help to apply whenever is most convenient for them. They recognize that this is a stressful time and wait times are longer right now in general. By applying online, people can avoid the frustration of having to call MLSA to apply while also ensuring that MLSA will have adequate information before contact is made.
To apply online, visit mtlsa.org/apply-for-services. Their hotline is also still available, 1-800-666-6899. Legal information and resources, including COVID-19 specific legal resources, are also available on MLSA’s self-help website, MontanaLawHelp.org.