Legal Services of South Central Michigan

Legal Services of South Central Michigan (LSSCM) is the civil legal aid program for South Central Michigan including Barry, Branch, Calhoun, Clinton, Eaton, Hillsdale, Ingham, Jackson, Lenawee, Livingston, Monroe, Shiawassee, and Washtenaw Counties (and senior citizens in St. Joseph County).

LSSCM provides free civil legal assistance to low income persons with emphasis on homelessness prevention, domestic violence prevention, assisting in accessing health care, food, and needs-based income programs.

Who is Eligible?

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We represent low income individuals and families in civil matters. We do not handle criminal cases.

Financial Eligibility

LSSCM uses federal income eligibility limits (125% of the federal poverty level) to determine income eligibility. Pursuant to federal guidelines, we are also able to represent clients who have household incomes less than 200% of the federal poverty levels with certain eligible expenses. As an example, a family of four qualifies if their household income is $47,400 or less. In addition, some of our grants permit us to handle cases above the federal guidelines.

If you are low income and facing a civil legal crisis, please call to determine financial eligibility.

If you are a migrant or seasonal farmworker, please call our Farmworker Legal Services office.

Who we Serve

LSSCM serves approximately 10,000 families and individuals each year. Following is demographic information for the clients we serve:

  • 36% of LSSCM clients are ethnic/racial minorities
  • 21% of LSSCM clients are seniors
  • 72% of LSSCM clients are female
  • 49% of LSSCM clients have household incomes less than $10,000 per year
  • 82% of LSSCM clients have household incomes less than $20,000 per year
  • 32% (or over 524,000 people) of the population in the 13 counties served by LSSCM qualify for free civil legal aid

Services Offered/Cases Handled

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The program offers a broad range of civil legal services to low income individuals and families. Our goal is to respond to the growing legal needs and concerns of low-income people and senior citizens throughout southern and central Michigan.

In some situations, a client might only require information or advice. In other cases, a legal problem may require extensive research and consultation or may need formal in-court representation. Our staff can offer advice, answer questions, prepare documents, negotiate settlements, and provide court representation.

Our staff can meet with client groups to give talks and discuss legal matters of interest to clients. Our staff can also work with and provide legal advice to community organizations.

We are unable to accept criminal cases or civil cases that generate fees. The problems listed below are intended to give you a general outline of the kinds of cases we may be able to help with. Because LSSCM receives funding from the federal Legal Services Corporation, we are subject to certain federally-imposed advocacy restrictions, see LSC Laws, Regulations & Guidance. Because of local funding opportunities, some of our offices have more resources to handle certain types of cases. Unfortunately, due to limited resources we are not able to assist everyone that applies. If you have a critical civil legal need,you should contact the local offices to see what services are available.

Family Law - domestic violence prevention and maintaining stable homes

Helping persons in immediate peril of injury due to domestic violence or cases meant to stabilize living environments for children. Examples of cases include:

  • Securing Personal Protection Orders,
  • Divorce and Custody cases for domestic violence survivors,
  • Custody actions when children are at risk, and
  • Cases preventing the transfer of custody from an established custodial environment

Housing - homelessness prevention

Helping individuals and families facing an imminent loss of shelter. In addition advocating to increase the supply, availability, eligibility, safety, security or repair of low income housing. Examples of cases include:

  • Evictions,
  • mortgage foreclosure,
  • land contract forfeitures, and
  • property tax foreclosures.

- to provide income for basic needs

Helping families obtain and maintain basic income and other necessities for household stability. Examples of cases:

  • Protecting a household from the loss of essential income or possessions due to garnishment or attachment,
  • Preventing the termination of need utilities,
  • Obtaining income or benefits or defending the termination/reduction of income or benefits such as cash assistance programs, emergency relief programs, unemployment and disability programs, and food programs.
  • Obtaining or maintaining employment, including employment licensing cases and drivers license restoration cases.
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Consumer Matters – to protect economic stability

Protecting families from unfair trade practices, credit reporting, contracts and warranties, debt collection, and bankruptcy.

Health Care - helping clients secure needed health care

Seeking to secure medical services or coverage for low income persons such as Medicaid, Medicare, State Disability Assistance, and county-based health plans, and private insurance.

Special legal needs and Seniors

Some populations face unique legal problems. We provide specialized services in many of our communities and have expanded priorities for seniors, immigrants, homeless individuals, and others. We receive grants to help seniors in Branch, Clinton, Eaton, Hillsdale, Ingham, Jackson, Lenawee, Livingston, St. Joseph, and Washtenaw Counties. We prioritize services to low income seniors.

How To Get Help

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You may telephone our offices between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, at the phone numbers listed below. You may be interviewed by phone when you call, or advised to come in for an in-person interview, or asked to leave your name and number for a call back when an intake person is available.

At the time of your first interview, you should have available all documents relating to your legal problem.

If you need special accommodations to access our services, we can make arrangements. Please contact the office nearest you to request assistance.

Washtenaw County Office:     Click here for a map
(Includes Michigan Advocacy Program Administration)

420 N. Fourth Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Phone: (734) 665-6181
Toll-free: 1-888-665-6181
Fax: (734) 665-2974


Family Law Project
(Washtenaw County Domestic Violence Cases Only)

P.O. Box 8294
Ann Arbor, MI 48107

Phone: (734) 998-9454
Fax: (734) 998-9125


Battle Creek Office:     Click here for a map
(Barry, Branch & Calhoun Counties)

123 W Territorial Rd.
Battle Creek, MI 49015
Phone: (269) 965-3951
Toll-free: 1-800-688-3951
Fax: (269) 965-4874


Jackson Office:     Click here for a map
(Jackson & Hillsdale Counties)

540 N. Jackson St.
Jackson, MI 49201
Phone: (517) 787-6111
Fax: (517) 787-5805


Lansing Office:     Click here for a map
(Ingham, Eaton, Clinton, Livingston, and Shiawasee Counties)

3490 Belle Chase Way, #50
Lansing, MI 48911
Phone: 888-783-8190
Fax: (517) 394-4276


Monroe Office:     Click here for a map
(Monroe & Lenawee Counties)

1118 S. Telegraph Rd., Ste A
Monroe, MI 48161
Phone: (734) 241-8310
Toll-free: 1-888-251-1598
Fax: (734) 241-1381


Farmworker Legal Services     Click here for a map

3030 S. 9th St Ste. 1A
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Phone: (269) 492-7190
fax: (269) 492-7198

FLS is also a direct services component of the Michigan Advocacy Program. FLS provides free civil legal assistance to low income migrant and seasonal farmworkers throughout the state.

If you'd like to see how to get to any of the offices, please click on the maps linked above for door-to-door directions, or call the office for directions.

In order to obtain legal assistance, new clients need to contact the individual office listed above. If you have a general program or administrative question, you may email us at lsscm-info@lsscm.org

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