Low Income Legal Assistance Resources

Low Income Legal Assistance Resources

The following information will assist you if you are in need of an attorney for a civil legal matter but cannot afford one.


In Iowa there are limited resources and programs available to provide free civil legal assistance. When you call a program to request assistance, you will be screened for eligibility. A client is eligible for assistance if their income and assets fall within the established guidelines and if the case fits within the priorities set by the program.

Not all clients who are financially eligible will be able to receive assistance because of the limited staff or volunteer resources of the programs. The program will assess your case to determine if they may be able to assist you. Your case may be handled by one of the staff attorneys at the program. In some circumstances your case will be referred to a private attorney who has volunteered to assist persons referred through a pro bono program.

Free Legal Answers

IA Free Legal Answers is a virtual, walk-in legal clinic that connects individuals who qualify with Iowa attorneys for non-criminal, brief, limited, free legal assistance.   Ask your question now! 

Iowa Legal Aid

Iowa Legal Aid is a nonprofit organization providing critical legal assistance to low-income and vulnerable Iowans who have nowhere else to turn.

Along with volunteer lawyers throughout the state, Iowa Legal Aid helps the legal system work for those who cannot afford help with legal issues.

To find an Iowa Legal Aid office address or fax number, go to: Legal Aid Directory.

Polk County Bar Association Volunteer Lawyers Project

The Polk County Bar Association Volunteer Lawyers Project (“Polk County VLP”) one of the most successful programs in the country. Polk County lawyers donate more than 5,000 hours of their time annually to ensure that every client with legal needs can access the justice system.


625 East Court Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50309
(515) 243-3904

Legal Hotline for Older Iowans

This program provides free legal services to Iowans 60 and over.

1111 9th Street, Suite 230
Des Moines, Iowa 50314
(800) 992-8161 or (515) 282-8161
Email: hotline@iowalaw.org

Learn more about the issues which the Older Iowans Hotline can assist.

Muscatine Legal Services

Muscatine Legal Services (MLS) provides quality legal assistance to low- income residents of Muscatine County. MLS provides assistance in the following civil matters, but are not limited to: Dissolution of Marriage, Child Custody, Actions for Child Support, Paternity Actions, Family Law matters, Guardianship or Conservatorship, Unemployment claims, Social Security claims, Landlord-tenant disputes, and consumer complaints. In addition to these civil matters, MLS assists defendants in criminal misdemeanor cases that are appointed by the court. MLS also assists with children in need of assistance (CINA), or children who have been accused of delinquent behavior; both types of these cases in juvenile court. MLS partners with Family Resources to offer free representation in obtaining restraining orders through a Domestic Violence Victim Assistance program. In addition, MLS will provide no cost assistance to victims in divorce and custody actions, provided that they are separated from the abuser for a period of six months.

122 E. 2nd Street
Muscatine, IA 52761
(563) 263-8663

Story County Legal Aid Society

Legal Aid Society of Story County is a non-profit corporation, formed in 1974 to provide legal assistance in civil matters to families who cannot afford to hire an attorney in private practice.

937 6th Street
Nevada, IA 50201
(515) 382-2471

Drake University Legal Clinic

Through the Neal & Bea Smith Legal Clinic, students have the chance to gain practical experience by working with actual clients. The clinic also serves the community by helping those who might not otherwise have access to legal assistance.

2400 University Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50311
(515) 271-3851

University of Iowa Clinical Law Program

The College of Law's Clinical Law Programs reflect the richness and diversity of modern law practice and the College of Law's commitment to clinical education. The clinic operates like a law firm within the walls of the Boyd Law Building, offering students the opportunity to put their legal skills to use in a variety of practice areas and venues.

Student interns work on cases supervised by full-time faculty members, and have primary responsibility for the representation of their clients at all stages of the legal process, including interviewing and counseling, negotiation, fact investigation, depositions, drafting and briefing, and courtroom appearances.

University of Iowa Law School
386 Boyd Law Building
Iowa City, IA 52242-1113
(319) 335-9023

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