The Essex County Legal Aid Association (ECLAA) provides free immediate legal advice on civil law matters (e.g., landlord/tenant, consumer), preparing pro se legal paperwork so that clients can proceed in court themselves, negotiating with opposing counsel when possible, and (if we are certain that a tenant client is incapable of represent their interests pro se) representing that client in Landlord-Tenant court and/or hearings. If we cannot help a client, we will make referrals to other nonprofit organizations and government agencies who we believe can further assist these clients.
ECLAA performs its emergency services on-site, in the courthouse -- the Hall of Records at 465 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Newark. Like a medical emergency room, we are physically located where crises related to the absence of legal help are likely to be stressful for low-income residents of Newark and all other Essex County communities. We perform a form of triage similar to an emergency room, with the goal of providing guidance, assurance, and/or a referral to each low-income person who knocks on our door.
Every one of our eligible walk-in clients receives immediate emergency legal advice, legal paperwork preparation, and counseling from our legal staff. ECLAA's free legal services are available to qualified low-income residents of Essex County who need emergency help and may have even arrived in court unaware of legal support services available to them.
At ECLAA, we treat our clients with courtesy and integrity. We guarantee realistic and honest legal advice. We serve more than 1,000 clients and their families on an emergency basis each year from our office in the Hall of Records building in downtown Newark. None of our clients paid for our free on-the-spot legal advice.
If you are poor, live in Essex County, and need legal advice related to civil matters (we do not handle criminal matters), please take a look at our website's "For potential clients" page regarding income eligibility.
We are available when the courts are open Monday-Friday each week. Intake begins at 9:00 a.m. and we do our last intake by 1:00 p.m., since our attorneys will often need to work with clients already in our office for a few more hours on their emergent but complex legal issues.
No legal advice can be given over the phone. You need to come to our office to get our legal help.