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Frequently Asked Questions

Questions you may have about getting legal help

Getting help from ELAP

No. We need to talk directly with the person who needs legal assistance.

If there is no parent or legal guardian available, we will refer youth under 18 to organizations that specialize in working with children and teens.

We serve people residing in King County who are low income. Contact us if you think you may qualify or if you have questions about qualifications.


We will return your call within 72 hours to discuss your legal issue, eligibility, and next steps.

Funding for civil legal aid is based on need, and the need is established by organizations like ELAP that collect this data. With the information you provide we can show where the greatest need is by geographic area, age group, income level, among men or women, among immigrants from different countries, veterans, and much more. We do not share any identifying information about you, including your legal issue, with funders.

ELAP’s legal clinics

Yes. Following your initial appointment with the attorney you can call our office to schedule a follow-up appointment. You can schedule only one appointment at a time as many times as you need. 

Probably not.

Legal clinic appointments are for consultation and advice only. The volunteer attorneys do not represent you in court. Although they are meeting with you, they are not your attorney the way a private attorney is who has signed a contract with a client. Our volunteer attorneys may be able to answer questions about forms if you email the form(s) to ELAP ahead of the appointment, but they do not complete the forms for you. 

It depends on your legal issue. We may be able to schedule you for an appointment in as little as 7-10 days or it may take as much as one month. 

Bring any important paperwork related to your situation. Please prepare a brief written summary of your issue. If your issue involves a legal form, fill out the sections you are able to before your appointment. It may be helpful to have a list of questions ready to ask the lawyer. 


About civil legal aid

Adjournment: A temporary postponement of a case 

Affidavit: A written document where the sender swears under oath that the statements in the document are true 

Appeal: When either the plaintiff or defendant asks a higher court to reverse the decision of a trial court after final judgment or another legal ruling 

Continuance: When the judge delays the trial or hearing 

Defendant: In a civil case, this is the person being sued 

Deposition: Testimony from a witness under oath before a trial 

Discovery: The efforts to get information about before trial like documents and depositions 

Domestic Violence Protection Order: A type of “restraining or no-contact order” that you can file against another person if you believe you have been a victim of domestic violence by that person 

Eviction: A legal case brought by a landlord to get a tenant to move out 

Exhibit: A document or object like a photo introduced as evidence during a trial 

Hearing: When the parties in a case present their sides of a case to a judge or other officer 

Jurisdiction: Authority given to a court for a particular geographic area and/or certain types of cases 

Notarize: To have a notary public formally attest to the authenticity of a document’s signature  

Petition: A formal written request to a court 

Plaintiff: The person who is suing (also called “petitioner” in summary proceedings) 

Power of Attorney: A written document appointing another person the power to act on your behalf, usually relating to your health, property or financial affairs 

Proceeding: A legal filing, hearing, trial and/or judgment 

Service of Process: The delivery of legal documents like a summons or subpoena to appear in court 

Show Cause Hearing: The hearing/summary proceeding in a case where one party has to explain or justify something about the case

Summary Proceeding: A shorter and simpler proceeding  

Civil legal aid is free assistance that organizations like ELAP provide for people who have a non-criminal issue that may have a legal solution.

Sometimes difficult things happen in life, like losing a job, facing eviction from a home, or experiencing a trauma like domestic violence or sexual assault. Many people having these experiences could benefit from legal help, but they don’t know where to turn or can’t afford a lawyer. 

Getting more help

Visit our Community Resources page to see if another organization or service provider can help you.

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