Pro Bono & Other Legal Resources

As a consumer law firm, we do our best to help everyone that we can. Sometimes, this means providing links to resources that may allow you to answer your own questions, seek assistance from a government or pro bono agency, or to even represent yourself.  We encourage you to see what free options may be available to you prior to calling us.

This part of the website is set up so that you quickly find the help you need based on whether your needs are general in nature or by a specific practice area.  Scroll down to the appropriate section you are interested in.

  1. GENERAL RESOURCES & REFERRALS
  2. BANKRUPTCY RESOURCES
  3. COLLECTION DEFENSE RESOURCES
  4. FORECLOSURE DEFENSE RESOURCES
  5. LANDLORD TENANT RESOURCES
  6. LEMON LAW & AUTO RESOURCES
  7. STUDENT LOAN RESOURCES

1. GENERAL RESOURCES & REFERRALS

These resources are designed to be as broad as possible and includes referral sites.  Even if you are looking for a specific practice area, these resources may be of help.

General Information, Small Claims, Representing Yourself, and Attorney General Link

Prior to driving down to a legal clinic or trying to schedule a consult with an attorney, take a look at these sites to see if they might have an answer to your issue.  In many instances, with these guides, you can effectively represent yourself if your issue is straight forward.  Also, in the case of consumer issues, a complaint to the Attorney General can often time force a creditor or business to do the right thing.

Pro Bono, Low Bono, & Moderate Means Referrals

Statewide Referrals

County Specific Referrals

Attorney Directories & Referral Services

Most of the referral services below are private companies offering the service.  These sites have minimal screening and quality assurance.  This does not mean every attorney you find will be bad, to the contrary, most will be decent and many will be excellent.  It does mean that you should take any referral with a grain of salt and not as an endorsement by this firm of the service of anyone that a particular service may recommend.  It also means you should do your due diligence in researching any recommended attorneys.

In general, we encourage you to check any attorney recommended by reviewing their website, results on a general google search, reviews, and to perform a Washington State Bar Association Discipline Notice Search.

Some sites include reviews (such as Avvo.com) while others may not.  When considering reviews of attorneys, beware of generic high star/number reviews with generic language (5 star, best attorney ever!) as it might be spammed or fake reviews.  Instead, pay attention to naturally worded, non-robotic sounding reviews that mention specifics and feel honest.

National or State Wide Referrals

County Specific

2. BANKRUPTCY RESOURCES

For many individuals filing bankruptcy, you face a catch 22 scenario.  If you had the money to file for bankruptcy protection, you might not need to file.  This is particularly true if you have just been garnished, lost your job, or you are facing other serious financial situations.  To assist those who may need to file on you own, obtain a pro bono bankruptcy attorney, or lower cost bankruptcy service than we can provide, we provide the below links.  We encourage everyone to consider these options.  As a warning, however, you do get what you pay for and if you need any help fixing errors and obtaining a clean discharge we can help.

For filing on your own, I would recommend a good Nolo guide on ch 7 or ch 13.  Chapter 7 is entirely possible to file on your own if your estate is simple and the assets you need to protect are not extensive.  Chapter 13 is much more difficult to pull off and it is not our recommendation to try a pro se Chapter 13.  The link we provide is from the Bankruptcy Court in Western Washington.

As for moderate means referrals, we would recommend first contacting several private attorneys for pricing.  Compare this to the price with discount of any moderate means referrals.  If they are in the same ballpark, decide how you wish to proceed.

As for the Northwest Consumer Law Center, they can only help those close to them, only handle Chapter 7 filings, and have very limited spots.

 

3. COLLECTION DEFENSE RESOURCES

Collection Defense is usually about one of several options: settlement, defending on the merits, counterclaiming under the FCPA, FCRA, RCW 19.16, RCW 19.86, and/or RCW 19.182.  Sometimes this can be done very effectively pro se (pro se means without an attorney) while other times it is better to use an attorney.  We give free consults so we do recommend you call us even if you are considering defending on your own.

It is important to note that collection defense does mean more than bankruptcy.  Always treat bankruptcy as an option of last resort and first review the cost-benefits of settlement, defending, and counterclaiming.  In many instances, if there are viable counterclaims, your creditors may have to pay you instead of you paying them.  If you speak with an attorney regarding your debts and bankruptcy is the first and only thing discussed, I would urge you to consider continuing to look until you understand all of your options.

Consumer Protection Finance Bureau

We highly recommend you visit this site.  There are sample letters, explanations, and you can complain about a creditor all in this nice, one stop shop.

WA State Attorney General: Consumer Protection Division

This is an excellent site that provides similar services to the CFBP but on a local level and includes many explanations, guides, and other links.

Charity Care For Medical Bills

Washington State has a charity care policies (RCW 70.170 & WAC 246-453) that allow for reduction or waiver of certain medical bills.  These rules applies to hospitals generally, however, small private clinics are typically not covered.  It is always advisable to request a charity care application even if you do not think you would be covered as you never know if you will qualify for reduction or a payment plan option.

Garnishment Resources & Calculators

Other Resources

 

4. FORECLOSURE DEFENSE RESOURCES

Foreclosure defense is an art if done properly.  It can be one or more techniques including attacking the underlying loans for predatory lending violations, attacking and forcing production of the note, loan modification, foreclosure mediation, bankruptcy options, refinance options, lease back with option to buy, strategic default, and many more.

In our experience, pro bono, low bono, or attorneys who don’t extensively focus in foreclosure defense will miss one or more of these options or will only focus on one or two (usually loan modification and bankruptcy).  You will want to understand all of your rights to include those that do not require an attorney, loss mitigation options directly with your lender, government assistance, and legal options from medication to litigation to bankruptcy.  Be thorough in your research and in considering options.

As a special warning, under RCW 61.24.163, you only have limited time to apply for foreclosure mediation through WA state.  The time frame to apply begins when you receive a notice of default (the document usually will say you have 30 days to pay a certain amount or they will foreclose as well as saying notice of default) and ends 20 days after the notice of sale is recorded (the document that sets a sale date, usually 120 days after recording).  If you receive these notices, reach out for legal assistance immediately.

 

5. LANDLORD TENANT RESOURCES

Our firm only handles post eviction or post move out collection and deposit issues.  Accordingly if your need is for issues while you still live in the unit: eviction, discrimination by your landlord, failure to repair, hazardous living conditions, etc., you will need to utilize the resources below or seek a private attorney to assist.

Informational Resources (to explain your rights & remedies)

Emergency Assistance & Resources

Housing Justice Project (free help to help you fight in court, in person first come first serve program)

Moderate Means Program & Private Referrals

There are very few Tenant side attorneys that can assist.  In general, due to high volume, most charge a nominal fee for consultation.  Here are some of the attorneys that we know of that handle this type of work.  If you would like a referral to a private attorney, please email or call in.

 

6. LEMON LAW & AUTO RESOURCES

Lemon Law & Auto cases breakdown as follows: true lemon law cases, warranty or implied warranty cases (used vehicles), auto dealer sales issues, and repair issues.

For free resources, the best place to start is with the WA Attorney General Consumer Protection Division.  You can file complaints and their office will investigate and this can often clear up any issues.  If not, their findings will let you know if you have a case and if you should retain a private attorney.  As they have no financial interest in your case, this is a good way to see if you have a case or not for free.

Additionally, Washington Law Help has a great site with helpful explanations of your rights.

 

7. STUDENT LOAN RESOURCES

There are many programs for Federal Loans to help, ranging from income based repayment to loan forgiveness.  Private loans have few or not resources.  Student loan debt can be dealt with via settlement, litigation, consumer protection counterclaims, bankruptcy, and government programs.

NOTE: finding private student loans can be more challenging, sometimes you have to pull a credit report and see who claims to own the debt