The Volunteer Lawyers Project (VLP) is the pro bono legal assistance program of the Nebraska State Bar Association. For more than 30 years, VLP and its network of attorney volunteers has provided free legal information, assistance, and representation to eligible low-income Nebraska residents. VLP does not provide assistance with criminal cases or every type of civil case.
If you are a lawyer, please click Attorney Portal to view VLP opportunities, review cases needing pro bono assistance, or to register with VLP.
If you are a law student, legal assistant or other member of the legal community, please click Volunteer Registration for information about volunteering with VLP.
If you are seeking assistance from VLP, please review the information on this Website or call the VLP Automated Telephone Information line at (402) 742-8136.
If You Need an Attorney
If your total household income places you below the federal poverty guidelines and you have a non-criminal legal problem, you may be eligible for referral to a volunteer attorney. To apply for free legal assistance, contact Legal Aid of Nebraska at 1-877-250-2016 or apply online at www.legalaidofnebraska.org. Legal Aid will determine if you meet the income eligibility requirements for legal services and if your case type is one where legal services may be available. If Legal Aid determines you meet those requirements but Legal Aid cannot assist you, it may refer your application to VLP. There is no guarantee Legal Aid will refer your application to VLP or that VLP will locate a volunteer to assist you with your legal situation.
If you are not eligible for referral to a volunteer lawyer, visit the Nebraska Find-A-Lawyer Website at www.nefindalawyer.com. Find-A-Lawyer is a service of the Nebraska State Bar Association. The Website provides adirectory of lawyers who advertise their services. Some lawyers offer “Modest Means” and “Limited Scope Representation” to eligible persons.
Modest means representation is a discretionary type of representation where a lawyer may reduce the legal service fee if your household income is less than 200% of the federal poverty guidelines. Not all lawyers offer reduced fee services.
Limited Scope Representation allows you and the lawyer to decide tasks each of you will perform on a legal matter. This type of representation is helpful if you have limited financial resources and you can complete certain work in your case without a lawyer. Limited scope representation is not appropriate for every person or every legal situation. The attorney who offers this type of representation will make that decision after consulting with you.
Self Help Center
A Self Help Center is a free, walk-in legal information and resource center for low-income persons representing themselves in court. Representing yourself in court is not easy. Like lawyers, you are responsible to understand and follow court rules and procedures and adhere to strict time deadlines. A Self Help Center is not a substitute for professional legal advice. When you cannot afford a lawyer, however, a Self Help Center can provide legal information and resources to help you resolve a legal problem on your own.
Each Self Help Center is coordinated by the Nebraska State Bar Association Volunteer Lawyers Project in collaboration with the Courts, local bar associations, law schools, attorneys and legal professionals. Volunteers include Nebraska lawyers and non-lawyers who provide assistance under the supervision of a Nebraska lawyer.
- answer general questions about the civil court process and court procedures
- provide information and instructions for approved court forms and identify resources to help you complete the forms (forms are not available for every legal problem)
- review approved court forms for completeness and provide instructions for filing
- identify resources to help you find a lawyer or legal services for low-income persons
- meet with you if you are represented by a lawyer
- help with criminal, immigration, bankruptcy, appeals, or trial discovery documents
- provide information or resources for every case type or legal situation
- give personalized legal advice or legal strategies for your legal problem
- act as your lawyer, appear with you in court, or speak to a judge on your behalf
Important Information about Visiting a Self Help Center
The volunteer you meet with is not your lawyer. A lawyer-client relationship is not formed by meeting with a volunteer. This means your conversation with the volunteer is not confidential or privileged. The other party may visit a Self Help Center and may be helped by the same volunteer. If you want personalized legal advice or strategy, confidential communications, or representation in court, you should retain your own lawyer. There is no cost to visit a Self Help Center but there may be court filing fees and other costs associated with representing yourself. If you have limited financial resources, volunteers will provide you information about fee waivers that may be available for some or all of your court filing fees.
Self Help Center Locations and Hours
Self Help Centers are open when the court is open and when volunteers are available. Visitors are served on a walk-in, first-come, first-served basis. Due to the demand for services, you should arrive at least one hour before closing if you want assistance that day. Hours and services are posted at each location.
- Buffalo County: First Friday of the month 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Buffalo County Courthouse at 1512 Central Avenue in Kearney, across from the Clerk of the District Court office.
- Douglas County: Mondays, Wednesdays, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Douglas County Courthouse at 17th & Farnam Street in Omaha, across from the Douglas County Law Library, Harney Street level.
- Hall County: Fridays, 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Hall County Courthouse at 111 West First Street in Grand Island, the lower level across from Courtroom #3.
- Madison County: Third Friday of the month 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Madison County Courthouse at 313 North Main Street in Madison; check in with the Clerk of the District Court office (first office at the courthouse entrance).
- Scotts Bluff County: First and Third Thursday of the month 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Scotts Bluff County Courthouse at 1725 10th Street in Scottsbluff, basement level.
VLP is not a law firm. VLP staff cannot meet with you, give you legal advice, or recommend an attorney for your legal situation. The information and services available through VLP are listed on this Website and are recorded on the automated information line at (402) 742-8136.