Even if you plan to represent yourself in court, it is important to talk with a lawyer to understand some of the options and risks in your case. All lawyers licensed to practice law in Alaska must be members of the Alaska Bar Association which includes an on-line directory of names and contact information. Court staff, including Family Law Self-Help Center staff, cannot provide specific attorney recommendations.
A lawyer can:
You can hire a lawyer to represent you for your whole case or for part of your case or just to give you some advice. It is up to you to decide what kind of help you need and what you can afford to pay the lawyer. You need to negotiate what level of services you want the lawyer to provide.
Some attorneys are willing to provide limited scope legal services to clients. This is called "unbundled services" or discrete task representation. Instead of hiring an attorney for full representation, the client hires the attorney to perform a specific service that they both agree upon. This may involve:
The Alaska Bar Association has created a list of attorneys who provide Unbundled Legal Services. Please note this list includes only those attorneys who have requested to participate - it does not include all members of the Alaska Bar Association. You can also contact individual attorneys to see if they will do unbundled services.
Alaska Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service: (907)272-0352, (800)770-9999 (outside Anchorage), Monday - Friday 8:30 am - Noon; 1:00 - 4:00 pm
This service provides you with the names and phone numbers of three attorneys who practice in the area of law you need help with. If you use one of those three attorneys, you are guaranteed a rate of $125 or less for the first half hour of their time. Please note that this service includes only those attorneys who have requested to participate - it does not include all members of the Alaska Bar Association.
Unbundled Legal Services: The Alaska Bar Association has created a list of attorneys who provide Unbundled Legal Services. Please note this list includes only those attorneys who have requested to participate - it does not include all members of the Alaska Bar Association. You can also contact individual attorneys to see if they will do unbundled services.
Word of Mouth: Talk with family and friends who may have gone through a similar legal issue and learn whether they can refer to a specific lawyer.
Yellow Pages & Online Directories: Most attorneys advertise in the yellow pages or online directories.
Some organizations and private attorneys offer free or low-cost legal services. Unfortunately, the need for free legal services is greater than the number of lawyers who are available to provide them. Contact the organizations listed below to see if you qualify for legal assistance.
Alaska Legal Services Corporation (ALSC) is a private, nonprofit law firm that provides free civil legal assistance to low-income Alaskans. Contact ALSC to see if you qualify for services.
Alaska Network on Domestic Violence Pro Bono Program provides free lawyers to domestic violence victims in certain cases involving custody, divorce, housing, public assistance and probate. Contact your local domestic violence program to see if you qualify for legal services.
Alaska Immigration Justice Project provides low-cost immigration assistance to immigrants and refugees in all immigration applications including citizenship, permanent resident status, work permits, asylum, family-based petitions and immigration petitions for immigrant victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking. Contact AIJP to see if you qualify for services.
Alaska Native Justice Center provides direct legal services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault who are involved in a divorce, custody or protective order case and teaches legal clinics.
Disability Law Center of Alaska provides free legal advocacy for people with disabilities in Alaska in Social Security and public benefit appeals, employment or housing discrimination, cases involving access to special education programs, businesses, services and voting and cases involving financial exploitation. They do not generally take family law cases or criminal cases. Their website contains a list of the kinds of cases they generally take and those they do not.
Private lawyers are sometimes willing to take a case pro bono which means they do the case for free for low income clients. Some lawyers are willing to do cases for reduced fees. You can always ask a lawyer to take your case pro bono or for a reduced fee.
The “Collaborative Law” process is an out-of-court alternative for couples who wish to avoid the cost, stress and unpredictability of divorce litigation. Each party hires an attorney who is trained in the collaborative law practice. Working together as a team in joint sessions, the parties, their attorneys and allied professionals identify the needs, interests and priorities of each family member as well as the areas where the parties disagree. The Collaborative “team” then assists the parties in using problem-solving strategies to resolve these disagreements and to arrive at a carefully thought out settlement, which meet the needs of each family member. The Alaska Association of Collaborative Professionals are the attorneys in Alaska who have received collaborative law training.
| 15 October 2013
© Alaska Court System
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