We all need legal help at some point in our lives, whether it’s for a will, custody case, divorce, or help understanding our rights. While librarians may not be the ones who can offer that assistance, we CAN help you locate the best legal resources. We can also provide free legal forms and programs that allow you to spend time one-on-one with an attorney for FREE. In honor of National Pro Bono Week, coming up October 21-26, we thought we’d highlight what Jeff Davis Parish Library has to offer in terms of legal help.
On October 23, from 3-5pm, the Jennings Library will host a Lawyers in Libraries event. This free event allows you to spend about 15 minutes asking an attorney questions about civil issues. We host this event every year and are willing to host legal aid workshops if enough people ask.
The heart of what we offer, however, lies in what we can offer in terms of referring you to excellent resources (both online and by phone). One of the best kept secrets is that all public libraries in Louisiana offer Gale Legal Forms, which is a huge collection of legal forms that you can edit and print from any computer. Anyone with a library card can access these forms on our website. It is best if you know what form you need, as library staff cannot tell you this.
If you don’t know what forms you need, have no fear. The library has resources for that too! The Louisiana State Bar Association has a Find Legal Help page that has everything you need. From here you can search for an attorney (including those who charge reduced fees or do free pro bono work). If you want to self-represent and just need help selecting forms and navigating the courts, the section of Self-Help Services and Legal Forms will be very useful. For more specific topics, click on the Legal Information and Online Resources section. This section covers questions regarding turning 18, court interpreters, legal research, abuse hotlines, and witness preparation. This site also links you to the Law Library of Louisiana, which has TONS of free legal forms and information on many different topics (including divorce, emancipation, Medicaid, Social Security, SNAP, expungement of criminal records, and MORE).
We all know attorney fees are expensive, but help is available and the library is a great place to start. We may not be able to answer actual legal questions, but we can definitely do better than Google.