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Who Can Get Help

Bay Area Legal Services provides free legal help to eligible residents of our five-county service area:

  • Hillsborough
  • Manatee
  • Pasco
  • Pinellas
  • Sarasota

If you do not live in our service area, but you need to file or respond to a lawsuit here, you should apply at a legal services program in your community and ask for a referral to BALS.

The type of service we provide depends on your legal problem and our resources.  In most cases we can assist only clients with limited income and assets, and who are permanent legal residents of the United States.  However, we can also provide help to:

  • Seniors (clients 60 and older) in Hillsborough and Pasco counties, regardless of their income and assets
  • Seniors (60 and older) outside Hillsborough and Pasco counties, who may be eligible for services from the Florida Senior Legal Helpline*
  • Domestic violence victims regardless of their income, assets, and their immigration status
  • Applicants seeking help with fair housing issues or foreclosure who have resources above our regular financial guidelines

We do not handle:

  • Criminal cases
  • Traffic cases
  • Workers’ Compensation claims
  • Cases that may be fee-generating (when an attorney may consider your case without a fee up front because the attorney can collect the fee later from any cash award you may receive, such as a personal injury claim)

We provide free interpreters for applicants and clients who do not speak English or have a hearing impairment.

*BALS manages the Florida Senior Legal Helpline, a free statewide telephone advice and referral service for Floridians aged 60 and older. To apply for this program, call 1.888.895.7873, Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.,to be screened for eligibility and to request an appointment.