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Volunteer Lawyers Project represents the people of Greater Boston. Our work is possible thanks to our staff and strong team of volunteers. We stand ready to provide you with legal help. To find out if you qualify, read through the information below.

VLP provides free civil legal assistance to low-income individuals and does not charge clients for legal services.

Request Legal Assistance Online

You may submit an online application for legal assistance or legal assistance with appeals at any time with the exception of Wednesday, when we do not accept online applications. Please refer to our call center intake hotline hours under Call for Legal Assistance for further availability to speak with an intake specialist regarding your legal matter.

An email address is required to request help online. 

If you do not have an email address, please call our hotline at 617-603-1700.

Apply Online for Legal Assistance

Apply Online for Legal Assistance with appeals

Call for Legal Assistance

We represent US citizens, green card holders, and certain other immigrants. Specific rules do apply, and our legal help may be limited due to funding requirements.  Even if you do not qualify for our services, we do our best to offer referrals. 

 

All information shared with VLP is private and confidential, regardless if you are eligible for our assistance.

 

To find out if you qualify for our services, call:

Our call center’s hours during the pandemic are:

Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 9AM-12PM
Tuesday & Thursday: 12:30PM-3:30PM

 

When you call ERLI, you may need to wait to speak to a Legal Advocate. Please be patient as we assist many people. Whatever you tell ERLI is private and confidential. An ERLI staff person will ask you some questions to find out if you qualify for legal services from VLP or another organization. ERLI may be able to give you information or advice about your legal problem. Some callers are scheduled for 30-minute telephone legal advice sessions with experienced pro bono attorneys.

Landlord Advocacy Project

Are you an owner-occupant landlord? Do you live in and rent out one or more units of your home? If you need legal advice and or assistance applying for financial services, please fill out the below form to find out if you qualify for our free services. To learn more about the programs and services we offer owner-occupants, visit our web page here

Are you a landlord with a question about an ongoing case? 

Contact Landlord Project Coordinator Yesenia Carrion.

Phone: +1-857-320-6452

Email: ycarrion@vlpnet.org

Tenant Advocacy

Are you a tenant who has received a Notice to Quit and a Summons and Complaint in their Summary Process Eviction case?

 

If your answer is yes, you should file your Answer and Counterclaims, Jury Demand, and Discovery Request three (3) business days before your first Tier-1 Mediation.

 

What is an Answer? Your answer is your chance to respond to the reasons your landlord is evicting you. It is also where you can tell your side of the story, including any defenses to eviction and your counterclaims against your landlord. Most importantly, your Answer is where you request a jury trial.

 

What is a Defense to eviction? A defense is when you have a legally recognized reason why you shouldn’t be evicted. For example, landlords are required to follow certain laws that are meant to protect tenants’ rights, and if your landlord has violated one these laws, you might be allowed to keep living in your apartment.

 

What is a CounterClaim? A counterclaim is when you have a legal claim against your landlord in response to their eviction case against you. Examples of counterclaims are when you have bad conditions in your apartment and you request that the court order your landlord to fix the conditions, or when you request money damages for the landlord violating certain laws meant to protect tenant’s rights.

 

What is a Discovery Request? When you request discovery, you are asking your landlord to answer questions and provide documents that will help you fight your eviction case in court. The information you request will also help you prepare your defenses to eviction and your counterclaims against your landlord.

 

How do I complete my Answer and Discovery documents?

Volunteer Lawyers Project hosts an Answer and Discovery Clinic every Thursday at 9:00am and 11:00am on Zoom.

 

During the clinic, you will work with a lawyer who will help you fill out your Answer and Discovery documents. Once your documents are done, the lawyer will file the documents with the court for you and will give a copy to your landlord or your landlord’s lawyer. The Answer and Discovery Clinic is on Zoom and it will take approximately two (2) hours to complete your documents.  

 

To sign up for our Answer and Discovery Clinic, please call our Legal Helpline at (617) 603-1700 or click the button below to be taken to our online Intake form. 

Want to help VLP serve you better?  Take a moment to fill out our brief, confidential survey.

This survey is part of VLP’s process of reviewing our priorities and finding out about the legal issues faced by low-income people in the communities we serve. We appreciate you taking a couple minutes to answer these questions.

 

English

Esta encuesta forma parte de un proceso que VLP está llevando a cabo para examinar nuestras prioridades y determinar las situaciones legales que enfrentan los residentes de bajos ingresos de las comunidades que servimos. Mucho le agradeceremos que dedique unos pocos minutos a contestar estas preguntas.

 

Español

Questions to Get You Started

Volunteer Lawyers Project serves residents in Greater Boston. If you live in one of these towns, we may be able to help:


Acton, Arlington, Ashland, Bedford, Bellingham, Belmont, Boston, Braintree, Brookline, Cambridge, Canton, Carlisle, Chelsea, Cohasset, Concord, Dedham. Dover, Everett, Foxborough, Framingham, Franklin, Hingham, Holbrook, Holliston, Hopkinton, Hudson, Hull, Lexington, Lincoln, Malden, Marlborough, Maynard, Medfield, Medford, Medway, Melrose, Millis, Milton, Natick, Needham, Newton, Norfolk, Norwell, Norwood, Plainville, Quincy, Randolph, Revere, Scituate, Sharon, Sherborn, Somerville, Stoneham, Stow, Sudbury, Wakefield, Walpole, Waltham, Watertown, Wayland, Wellesley, Weston, Westwood, Weymouth, Winchester, Winthrop, Woburn, Wollaston, Wrentham.

VLP helps lower income families from the Greater Boston Area.  To find out if you qualify, please call our ERLI helpline at 617.603.1700

We provide legal help, information, or advice in the following areas:

 

Civil Appeals

If you think the decision made at court was wrong or unfair? We may be able to help you appeal the decision. 

 

Please call the Eastern Region Legal Intake helpline and ask to be screened for the Civil Appeals Clinic.  Or apply for assistance online here.

 

Click here for more information about the Civil Appeals Clinic, and for information on how to start an appeal, you can visit the Appeals Court Help Center here.

 

Consumer / Bankruptcy

  • Being harrassed or sued by debt collectors
  • Debt relief
  • Utilities being shut off
  • Bankruptcy (Chapters 7 & 13)
  • ID Theft
  • Legal issues with taxes

Employment

  • Wage theft and hour work violations
  • Unpaid wages
  • Denial of lawful benefits
  • Unemployment insurance
  • Nonpayment of overtime
  • Misclassification of independent contractor

Family Law and Guardianship

  • Guardianship over disabled adult child over 18
  • Family members seeking guardianship of minor children whose parents are unavailable
  • Modifications of child support and child custody
  • Child support
  • Child custody
  • Paternity
  • Divorce
  • Court cases for restraining orders in an abusive relationship

Housing

  • Tenants and families facing eviction
  • Filing a complaint against a landlord for bad living conditions
  • Low-income landlords with problem tenants
  • Homeownership preservation
  • Post-foreclosure eviction

Probate

  • Wills
  • Healthcare proxies
  • Powers of attorney

If we can’t help you, maybe some of these resources can. Below we have provided emergency hotlines, additional legal help, basic legal information that is available to the public, and trusted links.

Emergency Hotlines and Services

Domestic Violence:

Safelink Domestic Violence Hotline

877-785-2020

TTY 877-521-2601

Confidential hotline, open 24/7.
Translation services in over 140 languages

 

Child Abuse & Neglect:

Child-At-Risk Hotline

800-792-5200

 

Abuse & Neglect of
Persons with Disabilities:

Disabled Persons Protection Commission Hotline

800-426-9009

TTY 888-822-0350

 

LGBT+ Crisis Intervention:

The Trevor Project

866-488-7386

Confidential hotline or online messaging, available 24/7.

 

Disaster Assistance:

Massachusetts Emergency
Management Agency (MEMA)

Call 2-1-1 for non-emergency help

 

For Seniors:
Elder Abuse Hotline
800-922-2275

800 Age Info
800-243-4636

Questions about social security?

Browse the available resources below!

Is the Social Security Administration saying you owe them money? Did you know you can ask to lower the amount you have to pay back or not pay it back at all? 

 

Use our new guided interview to get the forms you need.

If you receive Social Security benefits, when something about your living situation changes, such as starting a job or moving, you need to report the change to the Social Security Administration.

 

Use this form to write a letter to tell the Social Security Administration about your change.

If you have a dedicated spending account from Social Security, every year you need to report how you spent the money.

 

This form helps you fill in the official form from the Social Security Administration.

This form helps a child support obligor (a parent who has been asked to pay child support) get help if the Department of Revenue…

  • Sent you a notice that says that you are behind in child support payments. That notice is called a Notice of Child Support Delinquency.
  • Took your tax refund.
  • Started taking money out of your pay or is taking more money out of your pay than they should.
  • Told you or your employer the amount of child support you need to pay is going up by 25%.
  • Froze your bank account so you cannot use the money in your bank.
  • Took money out of your bank account.
  • Took your driver’s license or suspended your car registration.
  • Took your business license, your trade license or your professional