LegalLine

Consejos Legales is postponed until further notice. Please check the HBA website (hba.org) for the latest information.

Consejos Legales se posponer hasta nuevo aviso. Consulte el sitio web de HBA (hba.org) para obtener la información más reciente.

Sign up to receive legal advice over the phone from an attorney at no cost: click here

If you're an attorney and you would like to volunteer to give advice for the virtual LegalLine, click here.


 

What Is LegalLine?

 

LegalLine is a community service outreach program created by the Houston Bar Association in 1985. This hotline is designed to help the people of Houston receive simple legal advice, answers to legal questions and referrals to helpful resources over the telephone, at no cost to the caller. Callers may ask questions on any legal topic.

All calls are answered by licensed attorneys. Our volunteer attorneys specialize in a variety of fields, including family law. The volunteers remain anonymous.

No appointment is necessary, just place your call while the program is taking place. We accept phone calls only — not in-person visits. Please note that when the LegalLine program is not taking place, there are no attorneys who can be reached at this phone number.

For more facts about LegalLine, click here.

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When and Where Is LegalLine?

From April 8 through the end of May 2020, the HBA is holding virtual LegalLine sessions every Wednesday. To receive legal advice from an attorney over the phone at no cost, please follow these steps:

  1. Click here to go to the signup form and pick an available date and time slot to receive your phone call. Note: your reservation is not confirmed until you receive a confirmation email with the subject line, "Confirmation: Legal Advice Over the Phone."
    Sign Up!
  2. Be sure you are free to take a phone call from an anonymous phone number during the time slot you select.

You can confirm the date and time of the next LegalLine by consulting our website calendar or calling the HBA office at (713) 759-1133.

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Who Can Call LegalLine?

Any resident of Harris County or surrounding areas may call LegalLine.

If you do not live in the area, you may call, but note that the laws in your place of residence may differ from those in Houston.

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¿Qué (y cuando) es consejos legales?

Consejos Legales is postponed until further notice. Please check the HBA website (hba.org) for the latest information.

Consejos Legales is a program offered by the HBA and co-sponsored by the Mexican American Bar Association and the Hispanic Bar Association. It offers free, simple legal advice in Spanish for Harris County residents.

With few exceptions, Consejos Legales takes place on the first Thursday of every month, between 6-8 p.m., over the phone at (713) 759-1133. You may confirm the date and time of the next Consejos Legales by consulting the website calendar or calling the HBA office at (713) 759-1133.

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Consejos Legales se posponer hasta nuevo aviso. Consulte el sitio web de HBA (hba.org) para obtener la información más reciente.

Consejos Legales es un programa ofrecido por el HBA y copatrocinado por la Asociación Mexicana de Abogados y la Asociación Hispana de Abogados. Ofrece asesoría legal simple y gratuita en español para los residentes del Condado de Harris.

Con pocas excepciones, Consejos Legales tiene lugar el primer jueves de cada mes, entre las 6-8 p.m. por el teléfono al (713) 759-1133. Puede confirmar la fecha y hora de las siguientes Consejos Legales consultando el calendario del sitio web o llamando a la oficina de HBA al (713) 759-1133.

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Tips on Calling LegalLine

These are some suggestions to keep in mind when calling the LegalLine program:

  • You don’t have to be nervous. Attorneys are people too. They just have some knowledge that you might not have.
  • There is no need to rehearse or have a set script. During the call, the attorney may ask clarifying questions that didn’t come to mind before.
  • LegalLine attorneys cannot make direct referrals or take cases. LegalLine calls must remain free and anonymous in order to comply with HBA rules. These calls are for advice purposes only.
  • Boil down your call to a few key questions. All the attorney needs is enough information to guide you in the right direction.
  • Keep it brief. There are other callers waiting for this opportunity. Please be considerate of their time and the attorney’s time.
  • If you can remember, tell the attorney how you heard about the HBA’s LegalLine, so we know how to advertise in the future.

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How Else Can I Get Help?

If you can’t wait until the next LegalLine, or LegalLine didn’t get you everything you need, don’t worry. You have options. Note that due to stay home, work safe closures, not all of these services may be available.

HBA & Ancillary Organizations

Houston Lawyer Referral Service - One of the HBA’s ancillary organizations. Call to receive a free referral to an attorney for a civil or criminal case, and a 30-minute consultation with an attorney for $20 (paying attorney’s normal fees afterward). (713) 237-9429 | hlrs.org

Houston Volunteer Lawyers - One of the HBA’s ancillary organizations. Callers who meet low-income qualifications can be referred to an attorney who may represent their civil case on a pro bono basis. (713) 228-0732 | makejusticehappen.org

Pro Se Assistance - 9:00 a.m. – noon and 1:00 – 5:00 p.m., Monday-Friday, Harris County Civil Courthouse (201 Caroline) 17th Floor, and Harris County Law Library (1019 Congress Ave.) tunnel level. This information booth, operated by Houston Volunteer Lawyers, offers help to self-representing litigants looking to fill out forms correctly. In-person only.

Saturday Legal Clinics - 8:00 a.m., two Saturdays per month, locations vary. Houston Volunteer Lawyers holds semimonthly walk-in clinics offering free legal advice to the first 75 visitors. These clinic locations are different each time they are held. Click here for dates, times and locations. (713) 228-0735 | makejusticehappen.org

Veterans Legal Initiative - The HBA and HVL offer free legal services to active duty military, veterans, and spouses of deceased veterans through this program. In addition to advice clinics at the DeBakey VA Medical Center every Friday afternoon, volunteers also staff semimonthly, traveling clinics for veterans on Saturdays. (713) 759-1133 | hba.org/VLI

Dispute Resolution Center - One of the HBA’s ancillary organizations. Services are free and include community-based mediation, court-ordered mediation, arbitration, and moderated settlement conferences. Trained mediators and moderators help parties reach agreement before the problem leads to a costly lawsuit or violence. (713) 274-7100 | drchouston.org

Harris County Law Library - Open 8:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m., Monday-Friday, located at 1019 Congress Street. The law library offers free legal resources digitally and in print. www.harriscountylawlibrary.org.

 

Geographically-specific Advice & Representation

Fort Bend Lawyers Care - Available to residents of Fort Bend County, Texas. Qualifiers will receive a phone call the same day or following Monday. Pre-qualification calls are open every Friday from 10:00 a.m. to noon at (281) 239-0015.

Legal Aid of Northwest Texas -Available to qualifying Texans living in the northwest area, excluding Dallas and Tarrant Counties. 1 (888) 988-9996 M-F 9:00 a.m. – noon and 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Rio Grande Legal Aid - In Spanish and English. Available to residents of these Texas counties: Bexar, Cameron, El Paso, Hidalgo, Nueces, Starr, Val Verde, Victoria, Webb, and Willacy. 1 (888) 988-9996 M-Th 8:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m., F 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. | www.TRLA.org

Waxahachi Telephone Intake - Intake available to qualifying residents of the Waxahachi County, Texas area. Callers will receive a call back. Intake calls are every Tuesday 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. at (972) 923-3344.

The Woodlands Bar Association - Available to residents of Montgomery County, Texas. (281) 645-6344 First Monday of each month 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

State-run Programs

Lone Star Legal Aid - An attorney referral service that provides low-income Texans with pro bono representation for certain types of civil cases. (713) 652-0077 | lonestarlegal.org

State Bar of Texas Disaster Relief Hotline - In Spanish and English. A hotline to help disaster victims find legal assistance in their areas. 1 (800) 504-7030 | texasbar.com/disasters

State Bar of Texas Lawyer Referral & Information Service - An attorney referral service run by the State Bar of Texas, which operates in almost every county in Texas. Provides referrals to civil and criminal attorneys for regular fees. Apply over the phone or online. 1 (800) 252-9690 M-F 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. | texasbar.com/LRIS

State Bar of Texas Client-Attorney Assistance Program (CAAP) - The State Bar of Texas is the licensing body for attorneys in the state. If you have an issue with your attorney, contact CAAP for help, over the phone or online. 1 (800) 932-1900 M-F 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. | texasbar.com/caap

ABA Legal Answers - General information in written form. Inquirers will receive an email response. freelegalanswers.org | For Texas-specific questions, texas.freelegalanswers.org

Texas Law Help - General information in written form, including answers to frequently asked questions, and free printable legal forms. texaslawhelp.org

 

General Information

LegalLine Austin - General legal information and advice available for free over the phone. Run by the Austin Bar Association. (512) 472-8303 First Tuesday of each month 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

LegalLine Dallas - General legal information and advice available for free over the phone. Run by the Dallas Bar Association. (214) 220-7476 Second and Third Wednesdays each month 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

LegalLine Tarrant County - General legal information and advice available for free over the phone. Run by the Tarrant County Bar Association. (817) 335-1239 Second and Fourth Thursdays each month 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Texas State Law Library - The Texas State Law Library’s official list of free legal hotlines. This list is especially handy if you do not live in Harris County, if you need help in a specific field, or if our LegalLine hours do not work for you. www.sll.texas.gov

University of Houston Law Center Clinics - UHLC offers legal advice clinics on civil practice, consumer law, criminal defense, entrepreneurship, community development, immigration law, and mediation. Pro bono legal services are sometimes provided to members of the community at or below 125% of the federal poverty guideline. (713) 743-2094 M-F 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Texans Over 60/Medicare Recipients - Available to Texans who are over the age of 60 or on Medicare. 1 (800) 622-2520, option 3 | Leave a voicemail with your name, phone number (including area code), address, a brief description of your problem, and a best time to be called back.


 

I'm a Licensed Attorney. How Do I Participate?

If you or your firm would like to volunteer during a regular LegalLine session, contact Christina Trevino at christinat@hba.org or (713) 759-1133.

We recruit volunteers on an individual basis, and through law firms, corporate legal departments, HBA sections, committees and other groups. LegalLine is a great team-building experience for law offices. Spanish-speaking volunteers also are needed for Consejos Legales.

Currently, the HBA is offering an opportunity for members to volunteer from home with a virtual hotline system from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on the following dates:

  • April 8
  • April 22
  • April 29
  • May 13
  • May 27

The public will register by providing us with their name, phone number, a brief description of their legal question, and choose a designated time for 20 minutes of legal advice. We will email volunteers the caller’s information, asking that you use *67 before you dial the caller to block your number. We will also provide our basic referral resources and legal handbooks.

To volunteer, contact Ashley Gagnon Steininger at ashleyg@hba.org or click here.

Sign Up!

You can visit the LegalLine Committee webpage to learn more about the organizers.

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Frequently Asked Family Law Questions

Provided by the HBA Family Law Section.

I have a court order in place. Should it be followed during a “shelter-in-place” or “stay-at home order?”
Yes. As of March 24, 2020, the Supreme Court of the State of Texas issued an order stating that all existing trial court orders currently in effect regarding possession and access shall control. Parties should continue to follow the schedule for visitation in their orders.

Should I expect a delay in my child support payments?
The Office of the Attorney General has issued a statement advising that they do not anticipate a delay in the processing of any child support payments received due to the coronavirus. The State Disbursement Unit and payment processing teams have a strong plan in place to ensure that payments continue to be processed and disbursed timely.

When am I able to get a hearing set?
Until further notice, the Harris County District Courts are not having in-person hearings except in emergency situations. Beginning April 1, 2020, some hearings may be set via video-conferencing. You should look at the website of the specific court your case is in for further information as each court is issuing their own specific rules.

Why is no one answering the phone?
Based upon the directives issued by Government Officials this week, many offices including law firms, court clerks, the Harris County District Clerk, and the Office of the Attorney General are working remotely. Please visit websites and contact staff via email.

Are my child custody orders affected by the stay-at-home order and COVID-19?
No. The Texas Supreme Court issued an emergency order on Tuesday, March 24 that applies to possession schedules under suits affecting the parent-child relationship. The order says that a person’s right to possession of and access to a child will still be decided under the parents’ court-ordered possession schedule.

“Possession of and access to a child shall not be affected by any shelter-in-place order or other order restricting movement issued by a governmental entity that arises from an epidemic or pandemic, including what is commonly referred to as the COVID-19 pandemic,” the order said.

But, If you have been tested positive for COVID-19, or have been in contact with someone who has tested positive, notify your child's other co-parent. It is important that parents work together to keep any adult or child who has been exposed or tested positive away from others in order to prevent community spread. If you or your child has been tested or treated by a physician, you should share that information with the other co-parent so they know you are not using this situation to withhold visitation unnecessarily but rather due to a health concern.

For answers to more frequently-asked family law questions, visit sll.texas.gov.

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How Do I Get More Information About LegalLine?

Call the HBA office at (713) 759-1133 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays, and the staff will be happy to give you the information you need.

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