MLSA Receives Disaster Preparedness Grant

On June 6, the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) announced that the Montana Legal Services Association (MLSA) will receive $250,000 in grant funding to help low-income communities in Montana prepare for, respond to, and recover from natural disasters. Four other civil legal aid organizations in the Midwest – Iowa, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Arkansas – will also …

Free Tax Help for Military Service Members

Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which went into effect on January 1, 2018, specific changes have been made to the federal tax code that could have special implications for members of the military as they file their 2018 taxes. Specifically, the new tax law has eliminated the deduction for moving expenses — but …

Civil Legal Aid in Action

When Callie first realized she needed legal help, she was desperate. Even though she was only 32, she had been diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer and was struggling to cope with the treatments.  At the same time, her home life was deteriorating as her husband became increasingly abusive and violent. Callie couldn’t risk losing …

MLSA’s Tracie Poindexter on Building an Better Online Intake System

MLSA’s Program Administrator Tracie Poindexter was recently recognized by the Legal Services Corporation for her efforts to build a better online intake system for MLSA! As technology has evolved to become a part of our everyday lives, MLSA has worked to develop an intake system that takes advantage of different technologies in order to better …

New Technology Funding Will Help Increase Legal Services to Rural Crime Victims

Helena MT  –  Rural crime victims in Montana will soon have more services and information to help them navigate their complex situations. The National Crime Victim Law Institute (NCVLI) recently awarded $749,156 over two years to the Montana Legal Services Association (MLSA) to implement innovative technology to deliver no-cost legal services and information to crime …

MLSA Receives $5,000 From Treacy Foundation

Helena, MT – The Treacy Foundation recently awarded $5,000 to the Montana Legal Services Association (MLSA) to purchase five cubicle walls for use by MLSA’s Intake Staff in Helena. Purchasing these new cubicles allowed MLSA to expand its Helena office into additional office space while still protecting client confidentiality. The Treacy Foundation’s support meant that …

Montana Legal Services Receives $236,797 Pro Bono Innovation Fund Grant

WASHINGTON – The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) announced today that Montana Legal Serviceswill receive a $236,797 Pro Bono Innovation Fund grant. LSC’s Pro Bono Innovation Fund is intended to encourage and expand robust pro bono efforts and partnerships to serve more low-income clients. Montana Legal Services will use the grant to develop and support a …

MLSA Adds New Health Centers to Medical Legal Partnership

Butte MT, Hardin MT  –  The Montana Healthcare Foundation recently awarded $100,000 over two years to the Montana Legal Services Association (MLSA) to support expansion of the Montana Health Justice Partnership.  Health centers in Butte and Hardin, Montana, will now be partners in the successful program. The grant will fund a new part-time paralegal and …

IRS Has Refunds of Over $3.6 Million for Montanans Who Have Not Filed Their 2014 Taxes

​The IRS has announced that about 3,500 Montanans have an average refund of $808 available to them if they file their 2014 taxes before April 17, 2018.  You will lose your right to a refund for your 2014 taxes if you don't file before April 18th. For more information on 2014 refunds, visit: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/irs-refunds-worth-one-point-one-billion-dollars-waiting-to-be-claimed-by-those-who-have-not-filed-2014-federal-income-tax-returns. If …

MLSA meets with Montana Delegation in Washington D.C.

MLSA Executive Director Alison Paul, Development Director Michelle Potts, and Board Member Andy Patten recently traveled to Washington D.C. to meet with Montana's US and Congressional Delegation. Over the course of two days, MLSA's staff met with Senator Tester, Senator Daines, and Representative Gianforte, first at the weekly Montana Coffee (pictured below) and then in …

The Missoula MLSA Office Has Moved!

Where did we move? 1535 Liberty Lane, Suite 110D Missoula, MT 59808. The new office will be in the Solstice Building just off of Russell and Broadway.                         When? Our office was closed Monday, November 13  through Friday, November 17. We re-opened at our …

IRS now accepting ITIN renewals

As of yesterday, the IRS is accepting ITIN renewals for anyone who has an ITIN that will expire at the end of 2017. ITINs with middle digits of 70, 71, 72 or 80 and ITINs that have been not been used in the last three years will expire at the end of 2017.   We …

New Funding for Tribal Survivors Legal Project

Helena- The Montana Legal Services Association (MLSA) recently received a contract from the Northern Cheyenne Tribe under their Coordinated Tribal Assistance Solicitation Grant from the U.S. Department of Justice. MLSA will receive $40,604 over two years to fund the Tribal Survivors Legal Project to provide civil legal assistance to survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, …

New Funding for Domestic Violence Services in Dillon

Dillon- The Women’s Resource Center and the Montana Legal Services Association (MLSA) recently received a grant to the Women’s Resource Center from the Office of Violence Against Women Rural Domestic Violence program in the amount of $327,918, to be disbursed over three years. This funding has helped MLSA hire attorney Bree Williamson, a resident of …

Attorney Amy Hall Testifies Before the Montana Legislature

“We abolished incarceration of people who failed to pay their debts centuries ago. Do we want to return to the days of debtor’s prison?” MLSA Housing Attorney Amy Halls visited the Montana Legislature on Tuesday, March 7, 2017 to testify against Senate Bills 239 and 255. If passed, the two bills would allow tenants who …

IRS Has Refunds of $3.5 Million for Montanans Who Have Not Filed Their 2013 Taxes

​The IRS announced today that about 3,600 Montanans have an average refund of $727 available to them if they file their 2013 tax refund before April 18, 2017.  You will lose your right to a refund for your 2013 taxes if you don't file before April 18th. For more information on 2013 refunds, visit: https://www.irs.gov/uac/newsroom/irs-has-refunds-totaling-1-billion-for-people-who-have-not-filed-a-2013-federal-income-tax-return. …

Need Help Finding Out How Much You Owe in Taxes?

Are you confused about how much you owe in taxes? This week the IRS launched a tool to allow taxpayers to review how much they owe on a secure website. The tool can be found here: https://www.irs.gov/payments/finding-out-how-much-you-owe   Do you dispute how much you owe in taxes or do you have financial difficulties that prevent …

MLSA Receives Increased Funding for Domestic Violence Services

Helena- The Montana Legal Services Association (MLSA) recently received a grant from the Office of Violence Against Women for the Legal Assistance for Victims Grant program. MLSA will receive $400,000 over three years to fund the Survivors Legal Project to provide civil legal assistance to survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and dating violence. …

Client Success Story: Jason

Jason reached out to MLSA for help after he decided he wanted to end his abusive marriage. He found filing the paperwork to end his marriage on his own to be an overwhelming task, so MLSA assigned his case to a volunteer attorney, who also works as an MLSA staff attorney. The attorney helped guide …

MLSA Attorney Ed Higgins Receives George L. Bousliman Award

In August 2016, MLSA staff attorney Ed Higgins received the George L. Bousliman Professionalism Award from the Montana State Bar. The Bousliman Award recognizes lawyers who have established a reputation for professionalism and have demonstrated extraordinary professionalism by contributing time and resources to public service, public education, charitable or pro bono activities, and encouraging respect for …

Important Changes Coming for Taxpayers with ITINs

The IRS recently announced that they will require taxpayers who use Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) to renew their ITINs periodically on a rolling schedule, beginning this October. More information can be found here: https://www.irs.gov/uac/irs-works-to-help-taxpayers-affected-by-itin-changes-renewals-begin-in-october   If you use an ITIN to file your taxes and have questions on how or when you will need …

Low-Income Taxpayers Clinic Outreach Coming Your Way!

Have a tax problem with the IRS? MLSA's Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) can help. LITC will be visiting community partners across the state this summer to expand access to legal services for taxpayers. Feel free to contact LITC to set up a meeting during their visit to your town! 1-800-666-6899 M-Thur 8:30am-5:30pm, and Fri 8:30am-4:30pm. …

Jerry Metcalf Foundation Helps Fund Medical-Legal Partnership

The Montana Legal Services Association (MLSA) recently received a grant from the Jerry Metcalf Foundation in support of a staff attorney who provides services free of charge to Montanans living in poverty with health-harming civil legal needs whose solutions lay outside the boundaries of medicine and in the justice forums. These patient/clients are referred through …

Yellowstone Club Community Foundation supports MLSA’s Survivor’s Legal Project

The Montana Legal Services Association (MLSA) recently received a grant from the Yellowstone Club Community Foundation to help fund its Survivor’s Legal Project, which partners with Bozeman’s HAVEN domestic violence shelter, and targets the unmet civil legal needs of survivors of domestic violence in the Greater Big Sky / Bozeman communities.   The Survivors Legal …

The Treacy Foundation and NorthWestern Energy Help Support to MLSA

Thanks to the generosity of the Treacy Foundation, along with financial assistance from the NorthWestern Energy Charitable Giving Program, MLSA was recently able to purchase a car to be used by attorneys like Kallie Dale-Ramos, pictured right, on circuit rides throughout the state. Circuit rides to rural areas of Montana are an essential part of …

MLSA Receives Funding to Help Preserve Native American Families’ Trust Land

The Montana Legal Services Association (MLSA) recently received a contract to help fund its Indian Wills Project, aimed at assisting Native American Montanans on seven reservations to avoid losing their trust land upon death. The contract, for funding from the Indian Land Tenure Foundation, will run through September 30, 2017.   The Indian Wills Project …

MLSA to Hold Community Conversations on Access to Justice

In honor of MLSA's 50th Anniversary of providing civil legal services to Montana’s most vulnerable citizens, MLSA is holding a series of community conversations on civil legal aid and access to justice. Titled “Justice for Some? A Conversation on Securing Equal Justice for All,” these conversations are chance for everyone to learn more about what …

IRS Has Refunds of Over $3 Million Waiting for Montanans Who Have Not Filed Their 2012 Taxes

The IRS announced last week that about 3,500 Montanans have an average refund of $669 available to them if they file their 2012 tax refund before April 18, 2016.  You will lose your right to a refund for your 2012 taxes if you don't file before April 18th. For more information on 2012 refunds, visit: …

Access to Justice Commission to Examine Civil Legal Needs/Civil Legal Aid in Billings March 16

MLSA and other providers of civil legal aid, community services, and judicial and political leaders will meet Wednesday, March 16, 2016, in Billings, to discuss civil access to justice in the Billings area and in Montana. The forum is part of a statewide series happening in 2015 and 2016. The public is invited and welcome to sign up to provide …

March is the Final Month to Take Advantage of Health Insurance Special Enrollment Period for Those Who Need to File 2014 Taxes

If you tried to enroll in healthcare coverage on the federal Marketplace earlier this year and were told you were ineligible for coverage because you had not filed your 2014 taxes or reconciled your 2014 advance payment premium tax credit (APTC), you may be able to enroll in healthcare coverage through a newly announced Special …

Do you know about MLSA’s Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic?

 The LITC helps low-income taxpayers in Montana with federal tax problems. The LITC will be busy during tax season. Check out the list of events below where the LITC will provide information about its services and/or provide help with federal tax problems. Need tax filing help? The LITC does not help prepare taxes for filing …

MLSA Seeks Developer for Interactive Family Law Forms

Montana Legal Services Association is seeking a HotDocs and A2J developer to automate a series of interactive family law forms for MLSA and our partner the Montana Access to Justice Commission / Self-Represented Litigants Committee. Interactive forms allow users to answer questions in an online interview. The computer uses the answers to fill in the …

LawHelper: Find the legal info you need

Now featuring the LawHelper! The LawHelper is the new interactive tool on www.MontanaLawHelp.org designed to help users determine what options they have for representing themselves in court, finding a private attorney, or solving rental problems. Users start by telling the LawHelper exactly what they are looking for, such as “How to represent myself in court” …

MLSA Gives Thanks

  MLSA staff wishes you a Happy Thanksgiving and shares what we are thankful for:   Opportunity to serve our clients in ways that not only make a difference in the clients' lives but also strengthens our communities. Work which helps make the world a more just place for all beings — together with a …

Health Care Coverage and You – What are your options?

As you may know November 2nd marked the beginning of Open Enrollment for healthcare coverage through the Marketplace. It’s crucial that you investigate your options and find coverage that is right for you and your family. Failure to have health insurance this year means you will probably have to pay a fee of at least …

MLSA to Provide Civil Legal Aid to Patients Through Montana Health Justice Partnership

Montana Legal Services Association has been funded as a partner of the Montana Health Justice Partnership, a pilot program to address the health-harming civil legal needs of patients whose health solutions lay outside the boundaries of medicine. The Montana Health Justice Partnership pilot program includes MLSA, the Montana Primary Care Association, Bullhook Community Health Center …

Celebrate Pro Bono Week!

      With only 13 full time staff attorneys, Montana Legal Services relies on pro bono (free) attorneys to help bridge the gap in access to justice for low income Montanans. In 2014, over 300 pro bono attorneys assisted MLSA in handling cases, providing a huge service to those Montanans with civil legal needs …

MLSA Will Attend Veteran Stand Down in Missoula Oct 29

MLSA AmeriCorps members will attend the Missoula Stand Down on October 29, 2015, from 9:00am – 3:00pm and provide general legal information, self-help resources, and legal referrals to attendees. The Stand Down will take place at the American Legion at 825 Ronan St., Missoula. Veteran Stand Downs provide veterans with life resources such as food, …

MLSA Shares View on Access to Justice During Forum

MLSA, along with other legal and social providers, shared information about the state of access to justice in Montana to a listening panel of legal, governmental, and policy leaders in Kalispell this week during a forum hosted by the Montana Access to Justice Commission. MLSA's Executive Director, Alison Paul, shared that there are potential devastating …

MLSA Will Attend Billings Veteran Stand Down Oct 15

MLSA AmeriCorps members will attend the Billings Stand Down on October 15, 2015, from 9:00am – 2:00pm and provide general legal information, self-help resources, and legal referrals to attendees. The Stand Down will take place at the Al Bedoo Shrine Auditorium located at 1125 Broadwater Ave. Veteran Stand Downs provide veterans with life resources such as …

50th Anniversary Kickoff with MLSA’s Own Beer, Justice for Alt

  MLSA will hold its 50th Anniversary kickoff tonight, October 6, from 5-8pm at the Blackfoot River Brewing Company. The kickoff, which includes the roll-out of an altbier brewed for MLSA, appropriately named "Justice for Alt," is part of a Community Partnership sponsored by the Blackfoot River Brewing Co. and Crowley Fleck Law Firm. Proceeds from the …

Record Number of Domestic Violence Deaths in Montana

Before you read this article, please know: An abuser can track your computer and Internet use. Learn more about using a safer computer and keeping your computer sessions private. ————————————————————————————————————————————————- Domestic violence, relationship abuse, stalking, sexual assault . . . All are more common than we like to admit. In fact, 16 Montanans have been killed by …

MLSA to Attend Libby Veteran Stand Down Oct 3

MLSA AmeriCorps members will attend the Libby Veteran Stand Down on Saturday, October 3, where they will provide general legal information, self-help resources, and legal referrals to attendees. The Stand Down will take place at the VFW Post 1548, at 110 W. 2nd Street. Veteran Stand Downs provide veterans with life resources such as food, …

MLSA Celebrates American Indian Heritage Day!

MLSA Celebrates American Indian Heritage Day[/caption]For years, MLSA has been honored to collaborate with Montana Tribal Nations to provide effective services to Tribal members both in and out of court. With MLSA, Tribal members protect their rights against illegal and unfair actions by creditors,  get repairs made so that housing is safe and healthy, build …

MLSA at Sidney Stand Down Sept 25-26

MLSA AmeriCorps members will attend the Sidney Stand Down on Sept 25 and 26, where they will provide general legal information, self-help resources, and legal referrals to attendees. The Stand Down will take place at the Richland County Event Center, 2118 W. Holly Street, Sidney MT. Veteran Stand Downs provide veterans with life resources such …

State Bar Passes Resolution Supporting MLSA

On September 10, 2015, the State Bar of Montana passed a resolution of support for MLSA. Specifically, the resolution urges Congress to maintain its commitment to access to justice for low-income people and to increase federal funding for civil legal aid programs, and strongly urges all State Bar of Montana members to participate in pro …

MLSA to Attend Great Falls Veteran Stand Down Sept 17-18, 2015

MLSA is pleased to attend the Veteran Stand Down in Great Falls on Sept 17 and 18. The Stand Down will take place at the Montana ExpoPark in the Mercantile Building. MLSA AmeriCorps members will provide general legal information, self-help resources, and legal referrals to attendees. Veteran Stand Downs provide veterans with life resources such …

Legal Information at Project Homeless Connect / Kalispell

Are you homeless or at risk of becoming homeless? Do you need general legal information and resources? Montana Legal Services Association (MLSA) will be attending the 2015 Kalispell Project Homeless Connect event on Wednesday, June 17. Come find answers to your general legal questions and/or apply for MLSA services. The event, which runs from 11am-7pm, …

MLSA to Attend Bozeman Veteran Stand Down June 13

  MLSA is pleased to attend the Veteran Stand Down in Bozeman on June 13. The event will take place at the Gallatin County Fairgrounds from 7:45am – 12:30pm. 'MLSA AmeriCorps members and/or staff will provide general legal information, self-help resources, and legal referrals to attendees. Veteran Stand Downs provide veterans with life resources such …

MLSA to Attend Veteran Stand Down in Kalispell May 30

MLSA is pleased to attend the Veteran Stand Down in Kalispell on May 30. The Stand Down will take place at the Evergreen Fire Hall (2236 Highway 2 East, Evergreen MT) from 9am – 2pm. MLSA AmeriCorps members and/or staff will provide general legal information, self-help resources, and legal referrals to attendees. Veteran Stand Downs …

MLSA Guest Blog Post for Legal Aid Ontario: An Evolution for Quality Service Delivery

MLSA was recently glad to accomodate Legal Aid Ontario's request for an article for its blog on how MLSA's delivery of services to clients has changed over the years. Having done the hard work of changing with the times to better serve clients, we were happy to share our story and hope that doing so …

May 1 is Law Day!

Today we reflect on and honor law. Law gives us rights. It gives us a process to protect our rights. Law is important to us as individuals and as a country. Law is important whether or not we have legal problems. Want to learn more about Law Day 2015? American Bar Association President William C. …

April is Fair Housing Month!

The Fair Housing Act makes it illegal to discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, familial status or disability in the sale or rental of housing. If you are a Montanan who has experienced housing discrimination, there is help. You can: Contact Montana Fair Housing at: (406) 782-2573 / 1-800-929-2611   Montana …

2014 Montana Pro Bono Report Released

The Montana Supreme Court and the State Bar of Montana recently released the State’s 2014 attorney pro bono report.  The report details the involvement of Montana attorneys in pro bono work across the state and provides detailed information on the types of pro bono work being done around the state. The dedication that Montana attorneys …

MT Court Help Program Seeks State Funding

MLSA partner, the Montana Supreme Court – Court Help Program, is seeking permanent state funding to continue its service to self-represented litigants across the state.  The Court Help Program, like MLSA, provides legal information and referrals to self-represented litigants with civil legal problems. Court Help serves people of all incomes. MLSA provides AmeriCorps Justice for Montanans …

Taking a Look at Food Stamps in Montana

Food Stamps in Montana… During the holiday season, when plates get piled high with family meals, this becomes the hallmark image of how people celebrate and eat around this time of year. However, thinking about how food gets to those plates is a different image.  Many people may not consider those using Food Stamps to …

MLSA to Develop Comprehensive No-Cost Legal Services for Victims of Crime

Montana Legal Services Association (MLSA), in partnership with the Montana Board of Crime Control (MBCC), will implement the Vision 21 Victim Legal Assistance Network (Network), providing comprehensive, wraparound, no-cost legal services for victims of crime through a coordinated network of providers. The Network will assess crime victims’ legal needs across the state, including on tribal …

Need Affordable Health Insurance?

Enroll Now November 15, 2014 marked the Open Enrollment for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. This makes health insurance available for some low income Montanans. The Open Enrollment is for both people who are new to the marketplace, looking to get health insurance for the first time, and for those renewing coverage from …

MLSA Receives Funding from the Sample Foundation

The Sample Foundation, a private family foundation located in Billings, has granted $10,000 to Montana Legal Services Association  to help purchase a reliable, safe vehicle for legal aid advocates to reach rural, remote, and Native American clients. MLSA attorneys serving remote clients frequently drive anywhere from one to 12 hours, longer in winter, making a …

MLSA to Create Updated Interactive Family Law Forms for Self-Represented Litigants

The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) has granted $52,946 to enable Montana Legal Services Association to create new interactive family law forms for self-represented litigants. Interactive forms allow a computer user to answer questions in an online interview. The answers populate the forms, which can then be printed, emailed, or saved for further editing. The new …

Pro Bono Celebration Week

Do you know that this week is a National Pro Bono Celebration? At Montana Legal Services Association, we like to celebrate Pro Bono attorneys and legal professionals all year long. Pro Bono legal professionals make justice happen for many Montanans. MLSA appreciates Pro Bono professionals and we know their clients do, too.   Law Student …

MLSA Receives Funding from Steele-Reese Foundation

The Steele-Reese Foundation has granted $30,000 to Montana Legal Services Association to support civil legal assistance to rural Montanans living in poverty. The funding will help assure fairness for all in the justice system by protecting low-income Montanans’ legal rights related to their basic needs: housing, economic security, freedom from abuse, and more. The Steele-Reese …

MLSA Receives Innovative Community Improvement Award

Citing Montana Legal Services Association's (MLSA) technology and service delivery innovations to improve Montana communities, the Montana Board of Crime Control (MBCC) presented the 2014 Innovative Community Improvement Award to MLSA during MBCC's annual Crime Prevention Conference on October 8, 2014. The award is given to individuals or organizations that have made impacting and lasting …

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Do you know that October is domestic violence awareness month? Domestic violence, relationship abuse, stalking, sexual assault . . . All such forms of violence are more common than we like to admit. Sometimes we suspect someone we know is a victim but we don't know what to do. Often it seems easier to look …

Nominate a Law Student for Pro Bono Award

  Nominations are open now until October 3, 2014, for the Montana Law Student Pro Bono Service Award. The award is a collaborative effort between the University of Montana Law School, private firms and attorneys, Montana Legal Services Association, and the local judiciary to recognize the outstanding volunteer work of law students. The award is …

MLSA Awarded Pro Bono Innovation Grant / Director Alison Paul Speaking on Innovation at LSC 40th Anniversary

Pictured: Alison Paul Receiving Grant Award at LSC 40th Anniversary MLSA is honored to be among the inaugural recipients of a new national pro bono initiative by the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) to address the civil legal needs of low-income people. The $141,087 two-year grant will fund the Montana Pro Bono Connect project to support …

MLSA Justice For Montanans Members Serve and Celebrate for AmeriCorps 20th Anniversary

"Montana is a better place to live, to work, to raise a family because of the investment of time, energy and enthusiasm of AmeriCorps members." — Governor Steve Bullock MLSA Justice for Montanans members join Governor Bullock in a service project during the AmeriCorps 20th Anniversary. L-R: Gareth Ford, Andrew Martinez, Meghan Flannery, Gov. Steve …

MLSA Trains Law Enforcement at Rocky Boy’s Reservation

MLSA staff attorney Jennifer Hill-Hart recently trained law enforcement at Rocky Boy's Reservation on domestic violence issues. Alongside trainers from the FBI, Montana Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, and others, Ms. Hill-Hart provided information and resources on identifying domestic violence and determining predominate aggressors in domestic violence situations. MLSA legal experts are available for …

MLSA HelpLine Hours Changed

Due to a staff shortage, the MLSA HelpLine hours have changed temporarily. The new hours are: Monday – Friday 9am-noon and 1pm-4pm   If you try to call the HelpLine and can't get through, please remember you can apply using our online application or mail/fax in a paper application /  Espanol. We expect the temporary …

MLSA Congratulates Crime Victim Advocates of the Year

Kelly Erickson-HAVEN (Bozeman), Angie Fox-Yellowstone County Attorney's Office (Billings), and Janel Pliley, Adult Protective Services (Powell County), were recently recognized for their exemplary service in 2014 by Montana's Attorney General Tim Fox. Jan Berry, MLSA Supervising Attorney-Domestic Violence Practice Group, wrote a letter of recommendation for Ms. Erickson and presented at a ceremony in Bozeman. …

Montana Supreme Court Case Helps Homeowners

The Montana Supreme Court recently entered a decision in Morrow v. Bank of America, N.A., that may help Montanans who have experienced abuse or misconduct at the hands of their mortgage loan servicers and/or are in the foreclosure process.    The homeowners in the case, the Morrows, made several claims in District Court against Bank …

MLSA Holds Legal Clinic for Remote Clients Using Computer Tablets

MLSA recently held a clinic using computer tablets that allowed an MLSA attorney located in Missoula to give “face-to-face” legal advice to clients in another community. MLSA staff attorney Diana Garrett and each clinic participant used specially formatted tablets to discuss the participant’s case. Ms. Garrett and the participants were able to view and speak …

MLSA to Provide Services at Veteran Stand Downs Across Montana

MLSA is pleased to attend Veteran Stand Downs across Montana this spring through fall. MLSA AmeriCorps "Justice for Montanans" members, MLSA staff, and Justice for Montanans members from the Montana Court Help Program and the Montana Office of Consumer Protection will provide general legal information, self-help resources, and legal referrals to Stand Down attendees. Veteran …

April is Fair Housing Month!

The Fair Housing Act makes it illegal to discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, familial status or disability in the sale or rental of housing. If you are a Montanan who has experienced housing discrimination, there is help. You can: Contact Montana Fair Housing at: (406) 782-2573 / 1-800-929-2611   Montana …

New MLSA Pro Bono Program Coordinator

MLSA is pleased to announce that Angie Wagenhals is MLSA’s full-time pro bono coordinator. Angie has worked with MLSA since 2011 as a program assistant with pro bono coordination duties, but now will dedicate all her time to support pro bono and help expand pro bono statewide. Among Angie's many duties are expanding legal clinics …

MLSA’s Alison Paul Awarded National Medical-Legal Fellowship

Montana Legal Services Association (MLSA) Executive Director Alison Paul has been selected for a national medical-legal fellowship in the “Where Health Meets Justice” program. This fellowship was awarded to 24 leaders providing legal aid to the poor and is designed to improve the intersection of health and the law in each of their communities. The …

MLSA Attorneys Honored as Champions of Justice

MLSA is pleased to announce that MLSA attorneys Bob LaRoche and Amy Hall have been honored with the Montana Justice Foundation's (MJF) Champions of Justice awards. Also honored are several individuals nominated by MLSA for their work with MLSA’s pro bono efforts, including Deborah Anspach, Gary Connelly, Jane Cowley, Jessica Fehr, Shannon Hathaway, Diane Kaatz, …

MLSA Attorneys Admitted to Fort Belknap Bar

MLSA attorneys Jen Hill-Hart and Joe Hardgrave were recently admitted to the Fort Belknap Tribal Bar. Ms. Hill-Hart is also a member of the bar of the Chippewa-Cree at Rocky Boy and Mr. Hardgrave is a member of the bars of the Crow and Northern Cheyenne. Both are also admitted to the State Bar of …

MLSA Shares Expertise on Providing Access to Justice through Technology

Alison Paul, MLSA Executive Director, recently participated in a panel discussion in Austin, Texas, on how technological innovations can facilitate access to justice. MLSA, known nationwide as a leader in legal aid technological innovation, participated in the panel to share information and practices towards the goal of increasing access to justice in Montana and the …

Low Income Taxpayer Clinic At Tax Help Day

MLSA's Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) recently attended the Tax Help Day event in Helena, along with other tax-related service providers. At the event, LITC presented information about LITC and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) to both individuals and service providers, as well as made brochures, flyers, and palm cards available to participants. LITC …

Legal Services for Homeless Montanans

MLSA attorneys and AmeriCorps members recently attended the Billings Community Connect and Missoula Homeless Connect events, providing legal information to approximately 300 people who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness. MLSA addressed attendees’ legal needs by providing legal topic brochures, applications, and business cards featuring information for both the MLSA HelpLine and MontanaLawHelp.org. Further, MLSA …

MLSA and the War on Poverty

Fifty years ago in January, President Lyndon B. Johnson called for an “unconditional war on poverty.”  A year later MLSA began providing legal services to low-income Montanans and joined that fight. How does MLSA fight poverty, you may wonder? The answer is that MLSA services result in positive economic benefits not only for clients but …

Support MLSA with AmazonSmile

Montana Legal Services Association Just in time for the holiday season, Montana Legal Services Association is part of the AmazonSmile program. For each eligible purchase you make on Amazon.com, 0.5% of the sale is donated to MLSA through AmazonSmile. It’s as simple as that! AmazonSmile supports over one million 501(c)(3) organizations, and tens of millions …

Tribal Nations and MLSA

During Montana's American Indian Heritage Day (Fourth Friday in September) and National Native American Heritage Month (November), we take the opportunity to look back on MLSA's collaborations with Montana's Tribal Nations. For over 30 years, MLSA has been honored to collaborate with Montana Tribal Nations to provide effective services to Tribal members both in and …

Veterans Day

  MLSA gives honor and thanks to veterans and military members today and every day. We appreciate the sacrifices made by all on this special day and commit to providing the best legal services we can in aid of the selfless women and men who defend and support our great nation.     If you …

Montana Businesses Donate Prizes for Pro Bono Attorneys

Montana pro bono attorneys won prizes donated by several businesses from across the state in raffle drawings this week during the National Pro Bono Celebration. Montana Legal Services Association (MLSA) organized the drawings in honor of the attorneys who provide free legal services through MLSA and regional pro bono programs. Pro bono attorneys won symphony …

Emily Lucas Wins Montana Law Student Pro Bono Service Award

Montana Legal Services Association (MLSA) and the University of Montana School of Law are proud to announce third  year law student Emily Lucas as this year’s recipient of the Montana Law Student Pro Bono Service Award. The award-including a $500 check donated by Crowley Fleck, PLLP- was given to Ms. Lucas on Friday, October 18th …

Celebrate Pro Bono!

Do you know that this week is a National Pro Bono Celebration? At Montana Legal Services Association, we like to celebrate Pro Bono attorneys and legal professionals all year long. Pro Bono legal professionals make justice happen for many Montanans. MLSA appreciates Pro Bono professionals and we know their clients do, too. Keep watch on …

Get Help for Relationship Abuse, Sexual Abuse, Stalking

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. We encourage you to share this information with your friends, family, and coworkers in an effort to help those who suffer abuse. ***** Domestic violence, relationship abuse, stalking, sexual assault . . . All such forms of violence are more common than we like to admit. Sometimes we …

Five Veteran Stand Downs span Montana this autumn

Five Veteran Stand Downs will take place in the months of September and October across Montana in Helena, Poplar, Hamilton, Great Falls and Libby. The concept of the Veteran Stand Down was created by two Vietnam veterans, Robert Van Keuren and Dr. Jon Nachinson. In 1988, they held the first Veteran Stand Down in the …

Jobs, Justice, Freedom: the 50th Anniversary of “I Have a Dream”

Today is the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's "I Have a Dream" speech.  Over the weekend civil rights leaders addressed thousands in front of the Lincoln Memorial calling for justice, equal access, jobs, healthcare, education, voters' rights, and an end to immigrant discrimination. Today at MLSA we'll …

Text with Caution: Direct Express Scam

A recent press release by the the Social Security Administration has warned consumers of a texting scam involving “Direct Express” cards. The Direct Express card is used by the U.S. Treasury as an alternative to direct deposit for those who do not have a bank account. The texting scam attempts to dupe people into giving …

Need Low-Cost Health Insurance? You may be eligible for Health Insurance Marketplace coverage

Under the Affordable Care Act (sometimes called “Obamacare”), many low-income Montanans may be eligible to get help to pay for health insurance.  The help comes in the form of subsidies or tax credits. The amount of the subsidy or tax credit depends on your income and other facts. The subsidy and tax credits would apply …

MLSA Volunteers for United Way Day of Action

MLSA personnel from Missoula volunteered at the 17th Annual United Way Day of Action. The Day of Action is a community-wide day of hands-on volunteering coordinated by the United Way of Missoula County to connect volunteers from local businesses with local nonprofit organizations. The Day of Action demonstrates how volunteerism is vital to communities. community. …

Veteran Stand Down – Bozeman – June 15, 2013

Bozeman is hosting its 3rd Annual Veteran Stand Down this Saturday, June 15, 2013. Veterans can receive haircuts, healthcare, dental work, job counseling, and can meet with state and federal officials who will work to make sure veterans are enrolled in appropriate programs. The Montana Legal Services Association will provide information about its services, how to …

MLSA en Español

MLSA has recently constructed a new webpage dedicated to resources in Spanish. This makes connecting with Spanish speakers much easier. The webpage has a simple, obvious name: ‘En Español’. A link to the page is provided on the MLSA homepage, reading ‘Para recursos en español, haga clic aquí’ (For resources in Spanish, click here). This …

Veterans Stand Downs Scheduled Across Montana

Several Veterans Stand Downs have occurred and are scheduled across Montana. The US Department of Veterans Affairs coordinates with local VA and community partners to host Stand Downs to provide services to veterans, focusing on homeless veterans. Stand Downs typically provide food, clothing, health screenings, VA and Social Security benefits counseling, and referrals to a …

Online application returns, improved for efficiency

After a five month hiatus, the online application for Montana Legal Services Association (MLSA) has returned. Since September, 2012, MLSA staff have been working to improve how the online application is received, its ease of use, and other implementations to streamline the application process. The previous online application consisted of an intimidating page full of …

May 1 is Law Day!

Today we reflect on and honor law. Law gives us rights. It gives us a process to protect our rights. Law is important to us as individuals and as a country. Law is important whether or not we have legal problems.   Want to learn more about the importance of law and how it works? …

Fair Housing is Your Right: Use It!

April is Fair Housing Month. Incited in part by the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., one week prior, Congress passed Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act in 1968, known as the Fair Housing Act. The Fair Housing Act makes it illegal to discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, …

MLSA Staff Attends Training

Broad-Based Legal Advocacy MLSA attorneys and staff recently attended training on broad-based legal advocacy. Hannah E.M. Lieberman, national consultant with extensive litigation and legal practice management experience, provided the training. Broad-based legal advocacy achieves good outcomes for clients and others. Litigation is one method used to get good outcomes, but other methods are also used …

Tax Information and Help

Do you know how to file your taxes for free? Do you need tax help? Are you in a dispute with the IRS?     Let MLSA point you in the right direction.   ► MontanaFreeFile.org is available for Montanans to find information on how and where to file their federal and state taxes. Find free …

MLSA Year in Review

Montana Legal Services Association (MLSA) has big goals for 2013 and we'll share those in future blogs. But first, we’d like to tell about just a few of the major accomplishments we —with your help—achieved last year: Helped clients with 3,570 cases; Began the Foreclosure Assistance Project and helped 39 clients as of mid-December; Restructured …

MLSA Helps Survivors of Domestic Abuse

In October, MLSA has blogged each Thursday on relationship abuse/sexual abuse/stalking topics in honor of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. We encourage you to share the information we blog on with your friends, family, and coworkers. — Please note: Always call 911 if you are in immediate danger.And know that if you are a domestic …

Pro Bono Celebration This Week

Do you know that this week is a National Pro Bono Celebration?At Montana Legal Services Association, we like to celebrate Pro Bono Attorneys all year long. Do you know that in 2012 so far, MLSA has placed 289 cases with Pro Bono Attorneys? That’s a lot of pro bono happening, which means a lot of …

Domestic Violence Fatality Review Commission

This post is by guest author Matt Dale, Director of the Montana Office of Consumer Protection & Victim Services, as part of the MLSA Advocacy Blog’s focus on domestic violence issues this October, Domestic Violence Awareness Month. MLSA thanks Matt for this contribution.This October we remember those who have died at the hands of their …

Relationship Abuse/Sexual Abuse/Stalking – Get Help and Information

In October, MLSA will blog each Thursday on relationship abuse/sexual abuse/stalking topics in honor of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. We encourage you to share the information we blog on with your friends, family, and coworkers. ***** Domestic violence, relationship abuse, stalking, sexual assault . . . All such forms of violence are more common …

3 Women Die Each Day Because of Domestic Violence

National Domestic Violence Awareness Month The National Network to End Domestic Violence reports that 3 women die each day because of domestic violence. 1 woman in 4 experiences domestic violence in her lifetime. Startling statistics, right? But those stats are the reason–among others–that October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. MLSA Helps At Montana Legal …

Billings Gazette Opinion: Reaching Justice – Montanans Need Access to Courts

The Billings Gazette newspaper recently published an opinon about the Montana Supreme Court Self-Help Law Center in Billings. Click here to read the article.Want more information–including location and hours–of all the Montana Supreme Court Self-Help Law Centers in the state? Click here for information on the Self-Help Law Centers. 

MLSA is hiring!

Looking for an opportunity to use your legal skills to positively impact lives in your community? A career at MLSA is guaranteed to do just that. At MLSA, every day is different and filled with work that is both intellectually stimulating and challenging. Whether you are just starting your legal career or are a seasoned …

Veterans Who Received Disability Payments May Be Eligible for Tax Refunds

Yesterday the​ IRS advis​ed veterans that they may be eligible for a refund if they received a one-time lump-sum disability severance payment after 1991. Veterans must submit an amended tax return to claim the refund within one year of receiving notification from the Department of Defense about their eligibility for a refund. Generally taxpayers can …