If you need a lawyer, but can’t afford one…

The Harvard Legal Aid Bureau was founded in 1913 “for the purpose of rendering legal aid and assistance, gratuitously, to all persons or associations who by reason of financial embarrassment or social position, or for any other reason, appear worthy thereof.” As the nation’s oldest student legal services organization, the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau aspires to be an engine for progressive change and social justice.

The Bureau is an entirely student-run non-profit law firm currently composed of approximately 40 second and third year Harvard Law School students who provide free civil legal services to a diverse population of low-income clients in the Greater Boston area. The Bureau employs seven practicing attorneys, each with extensive public interest and private practice experience, who train students, accompany them to court, provide strategic advice, and assist in case management. The Bureau also has a managing attorney and faculty director, who supervises the ongoing activities of the organization and serves as a liaison between the Bureau and the Law School, and an administrative director, who oversees office operations.

The Bureau specializes in four major areas of practice: housing law, including evictions from public and private apartments; family law, including divorce, child custody, paternity, visitation, and support issues; government benefits law, including appeals of the denial or termination of welfare, food stamps, unemployment, or social security disability benefits; and fair wage law, including nonpayment or underpayment of wages. Because the Bureau is student-run, students with take the lead in exploring new potential practice areas. Bureau members are encouraged to try to improve the organization’s work areas to better serve client needs.