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In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, some organizations are offering free legal clinics and consultations today.
While millions across the United States will be enjoying a day off and/or participating in the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service by volunteering in their communities, many lawyers in places like Alaska, Indiana, and Pennsylvania will be offering free legal services on MLK Day.
Here's what you need to know to take advantage of these free MLK Day legal clinics:
Every Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Alaska, the Alaska Bar Association, Alaska Court System, and Alaska Legal Services Corporation sets up free legal clinics to help residents resolve their legal issues. More than 150 lawyers are giving free, 15-minute consultations on a first-come, first-serve basis.
In the spirit of MLK, the lawyers will focus on civil issues including, family law, landlord-tenant disputes, Social Security, Medicare, and other public benefit issues, according to the Anchorage Daily News. These free legal clinics have taken place every year since 2010, and are being offered this year in Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Juneau.
Some attorneys in Indiana will also be offering free legal consultations in honor of MLK Day. About 1,000 Indiana lawyers have participated in the annual program over the past eight years, The Palladium-Item of Richmond reports.
For example, the Whitewater Valley Pro Bono Commission is offering free 15- to 20-minute consultations on pretty much any type of legal matter; this legal clinic is only open to residents of Wayne, Union, Fayette, Rush, and Franklin counties, and is operating on a first-come, first-serve basis, according to the Palladium-Item.
Similarly, the District 10 Pro Bono Project in Bloomington is also hosting a free legal clinic at its office, according to The Reporter-Times of Martinsville. In addition to accepting in-person consultations, people with legal questions can also call the District 10 Pro Bono Project's office to speak to an attorney.
Some lawyers in Pennsylvania will also be offering free MLK Day legal services.
Philadelphia VIP, a pro bono legal group founded by the Philadelphia Bar Association and Community Legal Services, will be holding a free small business legal clinic at the offices of Ballard Spahr LLP. About 50 attorneys will be on hand to help local business owners with legal issues like employment regulation and taxes.
If you can't make it to that event, there are several legal aid organizations in Philadelphia that you can visit during their regular (non-holiday) hours.
How to Find Legal Aid Services Near You
Utilizing the justice system and lawyers to resolve disputes in a non-violent manner is a fitting tribute to Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy. So while the above-listed free legal clinics are only available on MLK Day, each state has legal aid resources and organizations that are available pretty much year-round.