What kinds of cases does MetroWest Legal Services handle?

We provide services exclusively in civil (non-criminal) matters. Because we do not have the resources to handle every eligible client's case, our staff must choose those cases in which our representation will have a significant impact on the client. Our priority cases include:

  • Housing
  • Homelessness
  • Public benefits (including unemployment)
  • Education
  • Elder law
  • Health care access
  • Domestic violence
  • Immigration assistance for victims of abuse

For a detailed description of the types of cases we handle, see Our Programs.

What kinds of cases does MetroWest Legal Services NOT handle?

  • Criminal cases that relate to crimes, such as theft
  • Child support enforcement cases
  • Selective Service
  • Voter redistricting
  • Lemon laws
  • Fee-generating cases (such as personal injury cases)

What are the requirements to get legal assistance?

You must be low-income, have a legal problem that falls within our priority areas, and reside in our service areaWith the exception of the Community Enterprise Project, low- income means your income level is at or below 125% of the federal poverty guidelines.

 If you are a senior citizen, aged 60 or older, there are no income eligibility guidelines to receive our services.

How do I apply for services?

You must first complete our online intake form or you may call our office at 508-620-1830 or 1-800-696-1501 to be screened for eligibility. If you are eligible for our services, you will be contacted by an intake worker who will conduct an intake to get more detailed information about you and your legal problem.

What does screening mean?

An intake worker will conduct a screening interview over the phone before doing an intake. We collect basic information during these screening interviews to help us determine whether you are eligible and whether we can help you. All information that you give us is kept confidential.

What does intake mean?

An intake is the time set aside for potential clients to call or come into the MWLS office to talk with an intake worker and answer a series of questions about themselves and their legal problem.  This information is then given to the appropriate advocate who will then contact the client directly.

Is there a fee for obtaining legal services from MWLS?

No. MWLS provides these services free of charge.

Does MWLS have interpreters for non-English speaking clients?

Yes.  MWLS has staff fluent in Spanish and Portuguese as well as access to interpreters for clients who speak other languages.

What if I am over-income?

If you are over-income, you may contact the Boston Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service or theMassachusetts Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service.  You will be referred to an attorney convenient to your home or office, practicing in the area of law you need.

Does everyone get representation by a MWLS attorney?

No. Due to budget and staffing constraints, not everyone gets access to a MWLS lawyer. Many clients are given advice only or brief service, or are referred to another agency if their legal problem does not fall within our priorities. MWLS has a Pro Bono panel where private lawyers in the community volunteer to accept cases within our program priorities. Applicants must still meet the same financial guidelines as MWLS in-house services. Referrals for pro bono services are made through our office. 

What if MWLS can’t take my case?

There may be other free resources available. Check the Links section on our website to find information specific to your legal problem.