A new program provides help for low-income Kansans needing answers to legal questions.
Free Legal Answers, online at Kansas.freelegalanswers.org, lets people ask questions and get answers from lawyers.
To be able to use the website, the asker’s income must be less than 250 percent of the federal poverty level. They also must not be incarcerated.
Questions must be related to civil matters, such as landlord-tenant disputes, workers compensation issues, or tort law matters such as injury caused by someone else.
The program provides answers to questions, not a lawyer to handle the person’s case in court. Users can have up to three questions answered per year.
So far about 15 Kansas lawyers have signed up to help with the program.
“Oct. 23 to 29 is National Pro Bono Week,” Hillsboro lawyer Josh Boehm said. “They are doing it as part of the celebration of that.”
Pro bono means “for the public good, so it’s without charge,” Boehm said.
Marion lawyer Brian Bina said he believes the program is a benefit to people who cannot afford a consultation with a lawyer.
Bina said he is slightly concerned about the fact that both the lawyer and the user are anonymous to each other, because people could act on the answer and then have nobody to go back to.
“I have a few concerns there,” Bina said.
Bina said area residents are lucky that local attorneys are often willing to provide an initial consultation free and will occasionally take a case without charge.
KBA also offers a Lawyer Referral Service and Lawyer Advice Line.
Additionally, they help support Kansas Legal Services, a non-profit law firm for low-income Kansans.