There are thousands of websites that have directories filled with thousands of legal forms and documents. You can find a contract or a legal document for just about any purpose.
Although, most of these websites require you to pay a certain amount to be able to access their vast directory. If you would only want to download a single document for your business or any freelance activity then paying for access to the whole directory would seem like such a waste.
Furthermore, you might end up paying for a document that you will not be able to use or edit. Luckily for you, there are five sources of legal free forms that you can check out.
All of these websites recognize the struggle of making your legal documents without a lawyer. That’s why they have collected public documents that you can use. You just have to find the right one in each directory because their list varies from each other.
Listed below are the top 5 sources of legal free forms:
- Docracy – This website has a large array of free documents available for download. These documents come from different lawyers, non-profit organizations, and other users of their service. This website allows you to download legal forms that you can edit according to your specifications. They even have a feature that allows you to sign electronically the documents for free. You can check out their website here.
- Internet Legal Research Group (ILRG) – They boast an astounding 2,000+ free legal documents on their websites. Their forms are written to comply with state-specific laws and even challenge anyone to demonstrate that their documents are not compliant with state law. They continue to expand their directory and would be pleased to get an e-mail from you if ever you don’t find the legal form that you need. They have documents for businesses and personal use. You can visit their page and see if the document you need is there.
- LawInfo – They assure their consumers that these documents are open and are 100% free. However, they do disclaim that these legal forms should be used according to one’s discretion. Their legal forms are for business, wills, debts, intellectual property rights, family law, real estate, and other general matters. Their website can be found
- Get Free Legal Forms – This website recognizes the difficulty in finding the right legal document especially if you are not well-versed in the language of law. That is why they have provided a color-coded free legal documents directory. They believe that an on organized location would eradicate the daunting task of looking through thousands of free legal forms. You can find the directory here.
- AllLaw – This website has very specific legal documents for personal use. They have various legal documents on personal injury and disabilities. They also provide forms for real estate and business.
Using a free legal document comes with some fine print. These websites are not responsible for any damages or consequences that may arise upon using their documents. The liabilities will fall mainly on you. This is why these websites strongly advise that you should at least get a consultation with a professional to avoid any trouble in the future.
Legal cases are being filed in court every day, and people are getting sued by the minute. Legal fees for a good attorney can be very high and in most circumstances, a client’s bank account depletes, whether they win or lose the case, due to various attorney fees.
The state recognizes the right of the people to be able to defend themselves in court, despite their financial and social status. That is why pro bono programs were created by bar association upon the requirement of the state.
It roots from the phrase “pro bono publico” which translates to the phrase: “for the public good.” This means pro bono is done with the public interest in mind. Most lawyers do this partly to improve the image of their firm or to expand their experience and network.
Pro bono programs are found in most bar associations. These programs have attorneys that waive their fees and defend their clients for free or at a relatively lower rate. These lawyers under these bar associations are obliged to do a specified number of hours doing pro bono work.
Pro bono lawyers can help in cases that involve domestic violence, family law, sexual assault, neighborhood disputes, and some criminal matters. It would also depend on the case and the lawyer if they would be able to waive the fees completely or if they would only be able to cut the costs.
Do you qualify for pro bono?
Not just everyone can be allowed to enter the pro bono program. Each program has a given set of standards to determine if a certain individual deserves the free/reduced-rate legal help.
For you to be considered, you have to prove that you are in fact incapable of hiring your lawyer. You can do this by showing them the list of your assets or your income levels. There are also special cases where people living with HIV/AIDs and those who are abused are allowed to be enrolled in the pro bono program.
There are bar associates that require you to get the approval of the head of the firm, the ethical officer, and the supervisor to be allowed in the pro bono program. The complicated process of applying for a pro bono lawyers often result in a lot of people not getting the help they need.
Looking for Pro Bono Lawyers
You do not need to have an extensive network and knowledge on how to find pro bono lawyers in your community. You can find lists on the internet of lawyers who provide free legal help.
All you have to do is determine which bar associate covers your state and look for their website. Most often than not, these bar associates dedicate a section of their website to their pro bono program.
If you don’t know which bar associate handles the lawyers in your community, then there are websites that will help you find the legal help you need. These websites recognize your struggle of not knowing how to find a pro bono lawyer in your community.
You can even look through the yellow pages because some of these bar associations post the whole list of the lawyers involved in their pro bono program. To find the right pro bono lawyer you should contact some of the names listed on the pro bono program and have a consultation with them regarding your specific case. Each lawyer has their specialty and you should determine which lawyer will be able to help you most in your legal issues.
When you have found a pro bono lawyer that can help you in your case, you should be prepared to ask him or her a few questions during the consultation. These questions may include things like their experience in the industry, their knowledge about your case, and the past results of previous cases like yours.
Looking for help in the wrong places would not get you your desired results. By asking the right questions, you will be able to determine which pro bono programs will help you win.
This does not mean, however, that you have the ability to be extremely choosy. These lawyers may be obligated by the state to help you, but it does not mean you can decline every possible lawyer that comes your way just because they did not fit the description you had in mind.
Family members suffering abuse are advised to get help from the national domestic violence hotline
While official statistics of abuse and violence within families have been a cause for concern, the actual unwritten figures that should include, the many unreported incidents could be quite alarming. Not only would a clearer picture of the situation be possible, but so will a great deal of intervention, if victims of these acts would not hesitate to get help from the national domestic violence hotline as soon as such problems arise.
Domestic violence is often unreported for some reasons. In many cases, a physically abused wife may be fearful of bringing her case to the attention of the proper authorities, because she believes they would arrest and incarcerate her abusive husband, thereby depriving her family of their only means of support. Others are fearful that a violent family member who is apprehended and penalized by the law could, one day, be back with a vengeance and make things even worse for everyone.
There have, indeed, been instances of overzealous social workers who resorted to a severe intervention such as separating children from their parents rather than leaving things to sort themselves out. Such indiscretions, however, are soon rectified, resulting in a positive outcome for the members of the family. Families who endure violence and abuse inevitably realize that the worst thing they can do is allow the problem to fester, with a misguided hope that they can deal with such things by themselves. A little bit of trust and confidence in their local social workers would be beneficial.
Still other victims of abuse are reluctant to get help from the national domestic violence hotline because they dread the shame and scandal that could accompany the appropriate intervention by authorized personnel. Sadly, there are families who would prefer to endure the abuse and maltreatment by a family member than subject themselves to humiliation and “loss of face.” These families should develop some confidence in the competence and integrity of authorized service providers who have received the appropriate training and cultivated the proper outlook towards performing their work with the utmost discretion. They are, after all, tasked with protecting the victims of domestic violence, and not adding to their grief.
There are, however, some families whose cultural backgrounds cause them to attach undue value to honor and avoiding shame that they willfully shun any intervention, whether from peers, relatives, and least of all the government, just to avert any degree of scandal simply by making sure nobody knows about the situation. Personnel of agencies that address the problem of domestic violence often have to proactively investigate such cases, even if there was no call for help.
There are, of course, some victims who prefer not to get in touch with the proper authorities to deal with domestic violence problems because they have been trying to avoid dealing with authorities altogether. Having strived to remain inconspicuous or “under the radar” due to some anomaly or misdemeanor they are guilty of, whether it be tax evasion, illegal residence, vagrancy, or some other transgression, some people are reluctant to get help from the national domestic violence hotline, fearing that once they are logged into the system, all their guilty secrets may suddenly come to fore. It is advisable for such people to simply come clean and face all these issues, and allow the authorities to deal appropriately and justly with the domestic violence problem, which is often a relatively serious and even life-threatening hazard that surely outweighs any civil offense one may be hoping to conceal.
Finally, there are victims of domestic violence who fail to get help from the national domestic violence hotline or even from local law enforcers because of ignorance. Some people are not even aware that help is available. Worse yet, some people are not even aware that they are legally entitled to State protection against such acts, whether or not these acts were committed by a stranger or a member of their family.
A great deal of domestic violence can be avoided or ceased if families were more aware of and had more confidence in the system behind the Hotline. A round-the-clock national network that was established less than ten years ago, the hotline takes calls from any part of the United States, and refers the issue to the appropriate response personnel and organizations in the specific locality of the victim. The highly-trained responders are equipped and knowledgeable in dealing with any form of domestic violence, including marital rape, child abuse, elderly abuse, unwarranted incarceration, and the like; as well as the various forms of physical violence and mutilation occurring within families which may seem culturally permissible, but are, nevertheless unlawful.
This worthwhile response system would only be valuable if the people it was meant to serve are willing to avail of it, and readily get help from the national domestic violence hotline whenever warranted.
Divorce procedures can be very messy. If you do not make the right moves and decisions, you will probably lose the case. The first thing you need to do is find yourself a good lawyer that will defend your interests in court.
However, a good lawyer does not come cheap these days. Divorce attorneys want to make sure that their services will be paid off after the case. This is why the client and the attorney have a pre-agreed amount when it comes to retainers.
A retainer is an assurance that the client will still be able to pay for the services of the hired attorney. This is because they want to ensure that despite other elements that deplete their client’s bank account, there will still be enough money left for them. Retainers are collected by lawyers so they can put this money in reserve.
Each month, the legal fees and professional fees to be paid to the lawyer will be deducted from the retainer. Retainers can be used to pay the hourly fee of your attorney, the cost of photocopies and faxes, court filing fees, payment to assistants and other employees involved in the case. That is why the agreed amount of this retainer should be large enough to be able to pay for the anticipated amount of expenses.
If you are looking into hiring a divorce attorney and they asked you to provide a retainer, there are five things you should ask a divorce lawyer before paying a retainer.
- Is there a contract or written agreement?
When dealing with a large amount of money, you should always ask for the agreement to be on paper. This is to avoid any confusions and unforeseen loopholes to complicate the process. This is also to ensure that you will not be tricked into giving all that money to your lawyer for nothing.
Make sure that the agreed terms and amount is written in the contract. Read the draft and change the terms you do not feel comfortable with. Remember, you are the client and it is your money on the line here. You have to know that the contract you are getting yourself into is fail-safe.
- Will I get what is left of the retainer after the case?
Although it is a given that the money should go back to you after you’ve paid all the fees you owe, clarifying it would help, you avoid getting scammed. Ask your divorce lawyer about this and tell him to include it in the contract. By putting this agreement on paper, you will be sure that after the case, your lawyer will not take off with the rest of your money.
- Where will the retainer fee go?
You have to know where your money is being kept and make sure that it is not just lying around in your lawyer’s safe. In most cases, lawyers would offer to put it in a trust fund under your name. If your divorce lawyer did not offer this option, then you should raise the issue.
You have to know that your money is safely tucked in a bank. Your lawyer should be the only one who has access to it as well.
- Where will you use the retainer fee?
This is one of the most important questions in the five things you should ask a divorce lawyer before paying a retainer. Each lawyer has different terms when it comes to handling the retainer fee. So before you pay the agreed amount you have to know where your money will be spent on.
Do you agree that your lawyer can use it to pay the rates of his assistant? Do you want to include the filing fees under the retainer? These are only some of the questions you will have to talk about.
Determining which aspects of the case will be paid using the retainer would allow you to gage how much you will need. You will also ensure that the fee will no deplete too rapidly. This allows you to have certainty that halfway into the case, you still have enough money to pay for your attorney’s fees until the case is closed.
- How will you pay the retainer fee?
You should know what terms you divorce lawyer is asking for. There are lawyers that require their clients to pay the retainer fee as a whole while some give enough leeway to allow their clients to pay it little by little. This would allow you to determine if you have the capability to keep your lawyer or if you should start finding a new one.