Legal Aid Volunteer Attorneys (LAVA)
1001 State Street, Suite 1200 Erie, PA 16501
Central Intake Unit (814) 452-6957
The Legal Aid Volunteer Attorneys (LAVA) Program has been assisting Erie's low income individuals since 1982. The program was begun in response to government funding cuts to Legal Service, the organization providing free civil legal services to low income individuals.
The LAVA Program matches private attorneys with eligible individuals needing civil legal services. Each year these local attorneys generously donate their time by providing direct representation free of charge to Erie's low income citizens. Low income people needing an attorney in the criminal area should contact the Public Defender's Office at 814/451-6322.
Since it began in 1982, LAVA has provided free legal assistance to approximately 7,000 local individuals and families. Just since 1996 the Program has handled 1,748 cases. In 2005 alone, over 140 new cases were referred to private attorneys who gave over 1,000 hours of their time.
Administration and screening for LAVA eligibility is handled by Northwestern Legal Services. Potential clients must be eligible both financially and by the type of case.