Memphis Area Legal Services, Inc. (MALS) provides free legal assistance and representation in civil (non criminal) matters to eligible clients in Shelby, Fayette, Tipton and Lauderdale counties in Tennessee. MALS also provides community education and outreach in those counties. These services are made possible through federal, state and local grants and individual, corporate and other donations. Learn more.
Who is eligible
For most help, individuals must be a U. S. Citizen or legal resident, have low-income and limited assets and be seeking help with a civil legal issue of the type we handle. While most services are available only to low-income individuals and families, special funding enables us to provide assistance to the elderly, those with foreclosure prevention, mortgage default and other housing matters, and tax issues even if you are not low-income. Our staff can provide you with information about your particular situation.
What we handle
We may be able to assist with issues relating to: (click on any link below to learn more):
- Family and Children orders of protection, divorces, conservatorships, guardianships, dependency and neglect, termination of parental rights – read more about:
- Housing and Real Property Discrimination in housing, landlord-tenant issues, Section 8 or other subsidized housing, repair issues, mortgage default counseling, foreclosure prevention, homeless Veterans services – read more about:
- Consumer and Individual Rights car purchases, collections, student loans, public utility problems, employment matters, accessibility issues, special education rights, income tax problems – read more about:
- Health and Benefits Supplemental Security Income (SSI), TennCare, Medicaid, Unemployment Compensation, Veterans benefits, Food Stamps (SNAP) – learn about our Earn Benefits Program
- Elder Law Issues Medicare, PAE denials, Qualified Income Trust/Millers Trust, Wills, Powers of Attorney, Other Advance Directives, elder abuse issues, including financial exploitation
What we do not handle
- contested divorces not involving domestic violence
- criminal cases
- class actions
- personal injury/product liability
- worker’s compensation
What you should know
- We must speak to the person in need of legal help unless he or she is physically unable to communicate with us.
- If you are limited English-speaking, we provide in-house interpreting service for Spanish-speakers and contract with professional interpreting services for all other languages.
- If you are deaf, deaf-blind, hard-of-hearing, or hearing or speech-impaired, we utilize the Tennessee Relay Service for phone communications.
- If you have court dates or other critical dates or deadlines, we will need that information when you call.
- You will be screened for financial eligibility and asked about your household gross income and assets.
- We are not able to assist all financially qualified individuals and must accept cases in accordance with established case acceptance guidelines.
- Depending on the nature of your case, you may be accepted for advice, limited service or extended representation
- If we are unable to assist you, we will make every effort to refer you to other possible assistance.
- You can learn more about us here or find other resources here.
How to apply
You may apply for assistance by calling (901) 523-8822. We are unable to process e-mail requests for assistance except in extenuating circumstances. Residents in outlying areas of Fayette or Lauderdale Counties may call us toll free at (888) 207-6386.