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If you need to consult with an attorney please contact the Erie County Bar Association's Lawyer Referral Service.

Northwestern Legal Services/Legal Aid

Northwestern Legal Services provides free legal representation and answers legal questions in civil legal matters for low-income people in Erie County and nine other counties in Northwestern Pennsylvania.

In order to qualify for free legal help applicants for service from Northwestern Legal Services, except in domestic violence cases, have to meet income and, in some limited instances, property asset eligibility guidelines set by their funding sources. As they are a law firm, Northwestern Legal Services must also make sure there is not a conflict of interest between the applicant and current or former clients of their agency. In addition, the applicant must have a type of civil legal issue which Northwestern Legal Services handles. Legal assistance within specific legal categories is also often limited, provided by advice and counsel, a self-help clinic or only in certain counties. 

Northwestern Legal Services provides legal help in the following categories:  landlord/tenant, foreclosure, land contract, custody, divorce, domestic violence, child support, public benefits provided by the county assistance office, unemployment compensation, SSI, Social Security, school expulsion, utility termination and debt problems, among others. 

Northwestern Legal Services does not provide any assistance with criminal matters, DUI, traffic tickets, personal injury, probate of estates, real estate, business contract disputes, Social Security initial application disability appeals, contested/property issue divorces, civil rights or discrimination complaints and defendants in protection from abuse or child support cases.

You can apply for legal help from Northwestern Legal Services online at nwls.org or by calling 800-665-6957, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.  When you apply, an intake screener will interview you to determine if you qualify for legal help. Please note: intake screeners are not lawyers and cannot give you legal assistance! If you qualify for free legal help, the screener will arrange for legal staff to meet with you at the office nearest to your home or talk to you about your issue over the phone.   5/18