Civil Legal Services

Picture of Gretchen LewisGretchen LewisLegal Director 

The core component of Legal Aid of West Virginia (LAWV) is the Civil Legal Services program, which provides free legal advice and representation for vulnerable people across the state.   Over 50 attorneys in 12 offices across the state annually handle thousands of legal cases, helping protect citizens’ access to basic rights such as food, shelter, safety, healthcare, education and more.  

LAWV approaches its advocacy broadly and our mission includes direct legal assistance, as well as provision of legal information to the general public in a format that is clear and easy to understand.  We also bring the lessons of our in-the-trenches legal work to the attention of community leaders and work toward positive systemic change. 

Individuals seeking civil legal aid from LAWV generally must meet income guidelines, established by the federal government, and legal issues must fall into general priority areas.   

 


The types of legal cases LAWV typically handles are those affecting safety, livelihood, access to benefits, and other basic life needs.  These include, but are not limited to:

  • Protection from domestic violence
  • Divorce and family law
  • Access to government benefits, including veteran’s benefits, Medicaid, food stamps, unemployment compensation and others
  • Consumer protection
  • Housing disputes
  • Access to healthcare and education

Cases we typically do not handle include:

  • Criminal law cases
  • Personal injury/automobile accident
  • Medical malpractice
  • Class action lawsuits
  • Cases for individuals who do not meet income guidelines set by the federal government

Legal Aid of West Virginia’s statewide Community Economic Development Legal Project (CEDLAW) is a project of Legal Aid of West Virginia, that provides free business and nonprofit legal assistance. Find out more.