Pisgah Legal Services (PLS) (North Carolina)

Founded 1978 with an office in Asheville, PLS provides civil legal aid primarily in six counties in Western North Carolina.
Organization website

Primary geographic focus: North Carolina, RURAL
Organization type(s): Provider
Acronym or short name: PLS

Since 1978 Pisgah Legal Services has fought to bring justice to the most vulnerable people in Western North Carolina – disadvantaged children, senior citizens, families at risk of homelessness and victims of domestic violence. PLS provides free civil legal aid to help more than 14,000 low-income people annually access justice to meet urgent needs each year.

Pisgah Legal Services is the primary provider of legal aid in our six-county service area: Buncombe, Henderson, Madison, Polk, Rutherford, Transylvania,

We provide limited free legal help in a total of 17 WNC counties.



Pisgah Legal’s Merrell fights for affordable housing

Dave Neal
Asheville Citizen-Times (NC)
December 24, 2015
Robin Merrell, a self-proclaimed poor girl from Brushy Creek in Madison County, was the first in her family to graduate from college. She went on to law school, but her homegrown values would shape her choice of career.


N.C. must shine a light on domestic violence

John Wester
Charlotte Observer
December 25, 2015
As 2015 draws to a close, adequate protection is more theoretical than it has ever been, even though all statistics show a surge in the need for such protection in cases of domestic violence.


Guest columnist: Five good reasons to sign up for health insurance by Jan. 31

Shannon Cornelius
Asheville Citizen-Times (NC)
January 22, 2016
More than one half of a million North Carolinians have signed up for coverage since Nov. 1, and here are five reasons you should too.

News Story

Asheville ACA advocates stress ‘coverage matters’

Julie Ball
Asheville Citizen-Times (NC)
January 17, 2017
Advocates and those who have benefited from the Affordable Care Act took part in a news conference Tuesday to urge members of Congress not to repeal the health care law.


Legislators could whack legal aid for the needy

Charlotte Observer
June 20, 2017
Out of sight of most of us, tens of thousands of low-income North Carolinians receive desperately needed free legal help every year.

News Story

Budget cuts legal aid for poor, but no explanation given

Travis Fain
WRAL (Raleigh)
July 23, 2017
The heads of the three agencies that used this money to handle thousands of child custody cases, landlord/tenant disputes and other civil matters said they received no notice for the cut and that they've gotten no explanation in the ensuing month.

News Story

North Carolina legal aid gets cut again, it’s unclear why

Associated Press (AP)
August 2, 2017
Poor people who need help fighting a landlord or keeping government benefits can get an attorney for free through North Carolina legal aid programs, but new state budget cuts mean fewer may have that option.

News Story

Moore Blames Overzealous Lawyers for Legal Aid Money Cuts

Associated Press (AP)
August 11, 2017
North Carolina's legal aid groups were puzzled when lawmakers this summer cut state funding designed to help poor clients with legal troubles, but now a top legislator has explained why it happened.

Audio , News Story

Pisgah Legal Services CEO on State Cuts to Legal Aid

Jeremy Loeb
WCQS (Asheville), Associated Press (AP)
August 14, 2017
Not only did North Carolina’s nonprofit legal aid groups see the General Assembly cut much of their state funding used to help poor clients with civil legal troubles, they were at a loss as to why it happened.


State cuts mean less help for our low-income neighbors

Lee Anne Mangone
Asheville Citizen-Times (NC)
August 22, 2017
As a former prosecutor of child abuse cases, I’m familiar with the courtroom, and know that our legal system is not meant to be navigated by lay people, especially those in the midst of crisis.

Audio , News Story

Small Budget Cut Deals Big Blow To Low-Income People In Need Of Legal Assistance

Rusty Jacobs
WUNC (Chapel Hill)
August 22, 2017
In the $23 billion budget approved with a veto override, GOP lawmakers repealed a statute that funneled state money to non-profits providing low-income clients with legal assistance.

News Story

Reality Check: Could health insurance be more affordable than you think?

Aaron Adelson
WLOS (Ashville, NC)
December 5, 2017
Open enrollment for 2018 health care plans bought through the Affordable Care Act marketplace runs through Dec. 15.

News Story

Pisgah Legal launches program to protect those deep in debt

Paul Eggers
Asheville Citizen-Times (NC)
February 12, 2018
A new Madison County Debtor Rights Project intends to help 100 local clients in the months ahead.

News Story , Video

What a challenge to the Affordable Care Act could mean for you

Aaron Adelson
WLOS (Ashville, NC)
July 17, 2018
A new effort to get rid of the Affordable Care Act is playing out in the courtroom. The legal challenge could jeopardize coverage for people with preexisting conditions.

News Story

‘I am surviving cancer’ with help from Affordable Care Act, Etowah woman says

Mark Barrett
Asheville Citizen-Times (NC)
November 2, 2018
Pfeiffer spoke at a press conference held by Pisgah Legal Services to bring attention to that and to outline help available to navigate the enrollment process.


Evictions remain stubbornly high in Buncombe County despite booming economy

John Boyle
Asheville Citizen-Times (NC)
March 1, 2019
"The whole point of this is to be here for the people who don’t know about Pisgah Legal Services, and they don’t know they have rights (as tenants) under North Carolina law,” said David Bartholomew, an attorney with PLS.

News Story

Despite Low Unemployment, Evictions Plague Asheville: One Nonprofit Offers Help

Frank Stasio, Dana Terry
WUNC (Chapel Hill)
March 22, 2019
Host Frank Stasio talks with Robin Merrell, managing attorney at Pisgah Legal Services, about its Total Eviction Response program and Buncombe County’s housing crisis.


3 things NC must do right now to save us from the COVID-19 pandemic | OPINION

Jim Barrett, Ken Schorr
Asheville Citizen-Times (NC)
April 8, 2020

News Story

N.C. Legal Services providers generate $48 million economic impact

Daily News (Jacksonville, NC)
February 11, 2014
A recently released report finds the work of legal services providers across the state generated $48,775,276 in economic impact in 2012.

This page last modified: Thu, April 16, 2015 -- 7:11 pm ET