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There are two non-profit agencies in Franklin County that offer free civil (non-criminal) legal aid to financially eligible residents of Franklin and Fulton counties.
Franklin County Legal Services provides legal representation, advice and education focusing on areas that are of special importance to low-income individuals and families. Those areas include domestic relations, housing preservation, income security, consumer protection, civil rights and civil liberties, and immigration. FCLS also works with private attorneys who donate their time and expertise to qualifying clients.
FCLS is located at:
Franklin County Legal Services
336 Lincoln Way East, Suite B
Chambersburg, PA 17201
The phone number is 717-262-2326
MidPenn Legal Services provides representation for such emergencies as loss of income, shelter and medical care in 18 Pennsylvania counties. MidPenn also can provide legal information and advice to many families to help them evaluate legal problems. The agency conducts family law clinics on custody and divorce; teaches low-income people about their legal rights and responsibilities; and works with private attorneys who donate their time and expertise to qualifying clients.
MidPenn is located at:
MidPenn Legal Services
230 Lincoln Way East, Suite A
Chambersburg, PA 17201
The phone number is 717-264-5354
The Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Lawyer Referral Service is the attorney referral service for Franklin County and 45 other counties in the commonwealth. Attorneys participate in this service on a voluntary basis and indicate the areas of law in which they will accept referrals.
There is no charge for contacting the service. Participating attorneys agree to grant a Lawyer Referral Service client an initial consultation of up to one half-hour for a fee of $30.
The service operates 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
For more information or a referral, contact the PBA Lawyer Referral Service at 800-692-7375 (toll free in Pennsylvania) or 717-238-6807. The mailing address is P.O. Box 186, Harrisburg, PA 17108-0186.
Please see below for a list of links to websites with legal aid, legal information, forms, and Court information.
Pennsylvania Free Legal Answers is a virtual legal advice clinic in which qualifying users post civil legal question to be answered by pro bono attorneys licensed in their state. Question topics include Family, Divorce, Custody, Housing, Eviction, Homelessness, Consumer Rights, Financial, Work, Employment, Unemployment, Health and Disability, Civil Rights, Income Maintenance, Juvenile and Education Law. Pennsylvania (freelegalanswers.org)
Franklin County Legal Services – fcls.net
MidPenn Legal Services – midpenn.org
PA Law Help – palawhelp.org PALawHelp.org has information on civil legal issues.
Representing Yourself – pacourts.us/learn/representing-yourself The judicial system of Pennsylvania embraces the idea that access to the Courts is a fundamental right of all Pennsylvanians. Through its long history, the judicial system in Pennsylvania has been, and continues to be, committed to dispensing justice for all Pennsylvanians. Some litigants, for any number of reasons, may find it necessary to represent themselves pro se before the Court.
PA Courts Forms – pacourts.us/forms The Unified Judicial System provides forms for citizens, the judiciary and law enforcement.
PA Code Search – pacode.com The Pennsylvania Code is an official publication of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. It contains regulations and other documents filed with the Legislative Reference Bureau under the act of July 31, 1968 (P. L. 769, No. 240) (45 P. S. §§ 1102, 1201—1208 and 1602) and 45 Pa.C.S. Chapters 5, 7 and 9, known as the Commonwealth Documents Law (CDL). It consists of 55 titles.
PA Statutes – legis.state.pa.us
Franklin County, PA Court Information – franklincountypa.gov
The Franklin County Bar Association offers two specific programs for youths and young adults: Law Day and Stepping Out.
Our Law Day program is held at the Franklin County Courthouse on the first Friday in May, and is for area 8th graders. The morning-long program features a mock trial in which students act as jurors. Attorneys from the bar association serve as prosecutors, defense attorneys, victims, defendants and witnesses. The students deliver a verdict based on the evidence presented.
Law Day is celebrated nationally on May 1. President Dwight D. Eisenhower created Law Day in 1958 as a day to reflect on our country’s legal heritage. As the American Bar Association notes, “Our legal system makes the great guarantees of our Constitution not just high-sounding abstractions, but legally enforceable rights.”
Stepping Out is a program aimed at high school seniors who are getting ready to “step out” into the world. Attorneys from the bar association go into local schools to discuss the legal rights and responsibilities seniors have as they make the transition to adulthood. This program is offered throughout the school year.
The Franklin County Bar Association can provide schools with attorneys who will discuss the profession of law at career day programs; talk with students in any age group about specific areas of the law; and much more.
For additional information on Law Day and Stepping Out or to arrange for a speaker for a class or career day program, call the bar association office at 717-267-2032 or contact us by email.
The Franklin County Bar Association offers two specific programs for the community: The Law and You and our Speakers’ Bureau.
The Law and You is a kind of “people’s law school,” where attorneys from the bar association provide general information on a range of topics of interest to the general public. Past programs have focused on divorce, custody and support issues; taking a civil case to small claims court; and elder law issues, such as wills and estate planning.
While the attorneys cannot address questions about participants’ specific legal cases, they strive to provide attendees with a basic foundation of information about the topic.
The bar association provides community groups with speakers on a wide range of both criminal and civil legal issues.
Attorneys with expertise in family law, elder law, real estate law, small claims court, criminal prosecution and defense, and other areas can present programs of general interest or tailored to a topic of specific interest to a group’s members. Speakers can be provided for both day and evening programs.
For more information on future Law and You programs and to arrange for a speaker, call the bar association office at 717-267-2032 or contact us by email.
The Franklin County Law Library is located with the Franklin County Bar Association on the third floor of the Heritage Center Office Complex at 100 Lincoln Way East, Chambersburg (across the street from the Franklin County Courthouse). It has a varied collection of Pennsylvania and federal resources available to the public, including access to online materials through Lexis Nexis.
The library’s hours of operation are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. The Law Library is open for walk-ins on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. On Mondays and Wednesday the Law Library is open by appointment. For more information or to make an appointment, call the library at 717-267-2032 or contact us by email.