Legal help for poor, disabled often hard to come by

For Montana residents with little money or with disabilities, legal help is too expensive and too hard to find.
News Story (Montana)

David Crisp
KTVQ (CBS, Billings, MT)
March 17, 2016

Tags: Access to Justice, Justice for All

Organizations mentioned/involved: Montana Legal Services Association (MLSA)


Vicky was among the lucky few Montanans who get legal help through the Montana Legal Services Association, said Alison Paul, director of the association.

“They won the lottery,” she said.

Paul said the Legal Services Association had more than 7,000 requests for help in 2015. Only about a third of those people actually received help from the association, which has only 15 lawyers available for the 150,000 low-income Montanans who qualify for legal services.

Montana is one of only a handful of states that provide no state funding for legal services for low-income people, Paul said. While people charged with crimes are guaranteed access to attorneys, there is no guarantee of representation in civil matters.