Civil Legal Services for low-income persons are provided by two agencies in northeast Florida, Jacksonville Area Legal Aid and Three Rivers Legal Services.
Jacksonville Area Legal Aid
126 West Adams Street, 32202, and with offices in Clay and St. Johns Counties.
What is Jacksonville Area Legal Aid?
Today, Jacksonville Area Legal Aid, or JALA, operates independently of the Jacksonville Bar Association, as a nonprofit organization providing free high-quality legal assistance to low-income and other special-needs groups in civil (non- criminal) legal matters.
JALA’s roots extend back to the early 1930s when members of the Jacksonville Bar Association recognized a need for legal representation of indigent individuals following the Great Depression. The Duval County Emergency Relief Committee was formed in 1931, along with the Legal Aid subcommittee, following a community-wide survey by Jacksonville Bar President Elmer Hazard. In 1937, this subcommittee took on a life of its own as the Duval County Legal Aid Society in an attempt to meet the increasing need for services.
Today, Jacksonville Area Legal Aid is a nonprofit mid-size law firm of 35 attorneys and 30 support staff who handle civil legal matters which include public benefits, employment/unemployment law, family law, landlord-tenant disputes, fair housing, guardianship, refugee and asylee immigration, foreclosure defense, and consumer law. JALA’s main office is at 126 West Adams Street with satellite offices in Clay and St. Johns Counties. JALA provides assistance throughout the Fourth Judicial Circuit and in fourteen additional counties in the northeast Florida region.
Whom does Legal Aid serve?
Jacksonville Area Legal Aid serves low-income individuals, as well as other vulnerable populations including veterans, senior citizens, children, individuals affected or infected by HIV/AIDS, the deaf/hard of hearing, and disabled individuals.
Jacksonville Area Legal Aid offers free monthly clinics focusing on consumer issues, family law (including dissolution of marriage, paternity, and child support modifications), small claims court, and foreclosure to name a few. JALA also participates in a variety of community events throughout Northeast Florida as a way to educate client communities on their legal rights.
How can I help?
Jacksonville Area Legal Aid relies on a network of grants and community support to provide its vital services to the residents of Jacksonville and the surrounding communities. JALA is a 501(c)3 organization, and donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of law.
If you are an attorney, the Florida Bar advocates at least 20 hours of pro bono service or a contribution of at least $350.00 to your area legal aid provider; Jacksonville Area Legal Aid is the primary legal aid provider for Northeast Florida.
Go to www.jaxlegalaid.org to donate or to sign up to volunteer as a pro bono attorney.
How can I get help?
If you are seeking help in a civil legal matter and believe that Jacksonville Area Legal Aid may be able to help, visit www.jaxlegalaid.org or call (904) 356-8371 [Duval and Nassau], (904) 284-8410 [Clay], or (904) 827-9921 [St. Johns]. For deaf/hard of hearing individuals, V/TTY Video Phone service is available at (904) 245-1041.
Three Rivers Legal Services, Inc.
3225 University Boulevard South, Suite 220 Jacksonville, FL 32216
Jacksonville, Gainesville, and Lake City
Who is Three Rivers Legal Services, Inc.?
In addition to Jacksonville Areal Legal Aid, Three Rivers Legal Services, Inc. is also a local, non-profit corporation that provides free civil legal services to low-income clients throughout Northeast Florida.
Three Rivers Legal Services, Inc. (nicknamed “Three Rivers”) has served the Northeast Florida community for over 36 years. Our origins date back to 1977 after Storefront Legal Aid in Gainesville, Florida and Suwannee River Economic Council in Live Oak, Florida merged. Initially, our new program received funding from the Legal Services Corporation to serve seven counties in 1978. Immediately thereafter, five more counties were added in 1979. By 2004, Three Rivers expanded to provide advice and legal assistance to low-income persons in the following seventeen counties listed below.
Alachua • Baker • Bradford • Clay • Columbia • Dixie • Duval • Gilchrist • Hamilton • Lafayette • Levy • Madison • Nassau • St. Johns • Suwannee • Taylor • Union
While our main office is located in Gainesville, Three Rivers also has offices in Jacksonville and Lake City. Collectively, Three Rivers is comprised of 21 staff attorneys and 14 support staff members. As a civil legal aid firm, we render services to eligible clients with issues pertaining to foreclosure defense, landlord tenant, consumer law, family law, public benefits, veterans benefits, educational advocacy, and federal income taxes.
Who Are Our Clients?
Three Rivers serves community members with income below the 200-250% federal poverty level as well as the homeless, domestic abuse victims, disabled veterans, senior citizens, and special needs children.
In addition to providing free legal advice and representation, Three Rivers hosts seminars and workshops to educate the community on legal topics such as Restoration of Civil Rights and Sealing & Expungement through Project R: Restoring Rights, Repairing Records, and Rebuilding Hope. During tax season, we also offer Beware Before You Prepare presentations to inform taxpayers about how to avoid falling prey to tax scams and we give follow up presentations during the post tax season.
How Can I Help Three Rivers?
Three Rivers is funded through the Legal Services Corporation and various other grants. As a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization, we accept tax deductible donations from attorneys, businesses, agencies, and individuals. Moreover, we encourage Florida Bar attorneys residing in Northeast Florida to provide pro bono services to our clients or make a $350 contribution to satisfy their Florida Bar Pro Bono requirement, pursuant to Rule 4-6.1. Law students are also welcomed to volunteer at Three Rivers to fulfill academic pro bono requirements.
To make a monetary donation to Three Rivers, visit our website at www.trls.org. To volunteer as a pro bono attorney or law student volunteer, contact our Jacksonville Pro Bono Coordinator, Chardea Murray, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How Do I Become A Three Rivers Client?
To sign up for services, contact the Three Rivers Legal Help Line by calling 1 (866) 256-8091 or (904) 394-7450. Hablas español, and we also use an interpreter service to assist clients with a variety of other languages. For more information, visit our website at www.trls.org.