What is the Montana Legal Services Association?
The Montana Legal Services Association (MLSA) is a federally and privately funded program that provides free legal assistance in civil cases to low-income people. Our mission is to protect and enhance the civil legal rights of, and promote systemic change for, Montanans living in poverty.
What help can I find at MLSA?
- Legal advice and representation for clients
- Referrals to pro bono attorneys and other providers
- Self-help clinics
- Self-help materials
- Education brochures, classes and workshops for Montana's low-income community
To qualify for our services, applicants generally must have income of 125% or less of the federal poverty level and limited assets. You must also be a U.S. citizen or an eligible alien. We never charge a fee for our services. However, you may have to pay court costs and filing fees.
What areas of law can I find information on?
- Landlord/tenant law
- Social Security Disability and other public benefits
- Family law
- Domestic violence
- Indian law
- Migrant workers' legal issues
- Consumer matters
- Housing discrimination and other civil rights
What does MLSA not handle?
MLSA does not handle auto accidents, personal injury, business-related matters or any criminal cases (including traffic citations). MLSA usually does not accept ongoing cases for representation, such as changes to parenting plans or existing custody decrees.
How can I get help?
- Call the MLSA HelpLine to talk with an intake worker. The HelpLine number is 1 (800) 666-6899. The intake worker will ask you questions about your financial situation and things you own like cars, houses, and land. The intake worker must ask these questions so we can decide if you are eligible for our services.
- Fill out and send in an application. We will review your application and decide if you are eligible for our services. Visit the Apply for Legal Services page for more information.
- If you can't call the HelpLine or access an application, you can walk into an MLSA office to get an application. The offices are listed on our Office Locations page.
Montanans' Legal Needs
In 2010, the Montana Justice Foundation commissioned an assessment of low-income Montanans’ civil legal needs. The survey asked whether the people taking it had legal needs, what types of legal needs they had, and whether they got legal help. Afterwards, a report was made. The report found that the civil legal needs of low-income Montanans are still largely unmet.
Full Report | Executive Summary