Home » Current F-1 & J-1 Students » Life at Vanderbilt » Legal Resources

Legal Resources

In case you have some legal troubles while you are here in the United States, the following are resources to help you through the process.

Advice from the Legal Aid Society and Nashville Pro Bono Program on finding a Lawyer

The Legal Aid Society and the Nashville Pro Bono Program don’t have free lawyers to help every person with every case. They can’t help with any criminal cases or cases that are “fee-generating.” A case is fee-generating if the lawyer’s fee can be paid from money you may get.

If they aren’t able to help you, here are some ways to find a lawyer:

  • Ask a friend: Talk to your friends and family. Ask for the names of lawyers that they have used.  Call that lawyer and ask if she or he can help with your type of problem. If the lawyer can’t help, ask the lawyer to refer you to a lawyer who might help with that kind of problem.
  • Look online or in the phone book: In the phone book, look for “Attorneys” in the Yellow Pages. Online you can search for “Attorney” and the name of your town. You can also look for lawyers who say that they handle your kind of problem. Call the lawyers and ask if they will meet with you the first time without a fee. Ask how much it would cost to meet with them or for them to take your case.
  • The Lawyer Referral and Information Service: This service costs $40 just to be given the name of a lawyer. You have to call the lawyer and make an agreement to pay her or his fee.  To use this service, call 615-242-6546. You can also use the internet. Go to www.lawyer-referral.nashvillebar.org and click on “Find an Attorney.” The $40 fee is waived for personal injury, medical malpractice, worker’s compensation, victim compensation, and social security disability.
  • Fee-generating cases: For cases like car accidents, discrimination, or social security, you may be able to get a lawyer who will help on a “contingency basis”. This means, the lawyer makes an agreement with you to be paid if you win the case. You can use the same resources that are listed above for finding a lawyer. You may want to call lawyers who say, “We don’t get paid until you get paid.”
  • Criminal Cases: For any criminal case, expungement, or problem with a driver’s license reinstatement in Davidson County, you can get help at the Metro Public Defender’s Office at 404 James Robertson Pkwy, Suite 2022, Nashville, TN. Their number is 615-862-5730.

Notaries & Apostille

A notary is a person authorized to perform certain legal formalities, esp. to draw up or certify contracts, deeds, and other documents for use in other jurisdictions.

ISSS has a notary who works in the office.  For a list of other notaries on campus, click here.

An apostille is a certification provided under the Hague Convention of 1961 for authenticating documents for use in foreign countries.

Here are some other places that you can get legal help:

aLEGALzFree help to find resources to deal with civil legal issues for those who cannot afford a lawyer. Call 1-888-aLEGALz (1-888-253-4259) and leave a message at any time. Calls are returned by a licensed Tennessee lawyer.

www.OnlineTNJustice.orgFree legal advice about civil problems for Tennessee residents with income less than 250% of poverty and minimum assets. You create a user name and password and post a legal question. A lawyer will respond through the website.

Nashville Bar Association/Dial-A-LawyerFree legal advice by telephone from volunteer lawyers on the first Tuesday each month between 6:00 PM and 8:00 PM. Call 615-242-9272

Davidson County Public DefenderFree Legal help for poor defendants who are in jail, charged with a crime and are unable to make bond, or other defendants by court order. The office is at 404 James Robertson Parkway, Suite 2022, Nashville TN. To apply for help or for more information call 615- 862-5730

ACLU-TNHelp to address civil liberties and civil rights matters arising in the state of Tennessee with information, self help information, referrals and limited representation in lawsuits Complete the on-line form at http://www.aclu-tn.org to apply.

Disability Law and Advocacy Center of Tennessee (DLAC)Free legal help for Tennesseans with disabilities in certain types of cases. To apply for help or for more information call 1-800-342-1660.

Tennessee Fair Housing CouncilHelp to address housing discrimination, provides education and advocacy on housing discrimination, and takes complaints, with some legal help to negotiate disability-related accommodations with landlords, and filing administrative complaints or lawsuits. To apply for help or for more information call 615-874-2344.

Tennessee Justice CenterLegal help for families in need, focusing on policy issues and civil cases in which basic necessities are at stake. To apply for help or for more information call 615-255-0331.

Vanderbilt Legal ClinicFree legal help in special education; victims of domestic violence needing help obtaining orders of protection or with custody issues for unmarried persons; intellectual property issues. To apply for help or for more information call 615-322-6562.

For information regarding hiring an immigration attorney and a list of local immigration law firms, click here.