Monday, August 27, 2007

2. About Micronesian Legal Services

Micronesian Legal Services is a private, non-profit law office. We operate throughout Micronesia, with offices in the CNMI, Palau, FSM and the Marshall Islands. Like most non-profits, we have a variety of funding sources, including local and federal governments, grants and donations.

We handle only civil cases--no criminal or traffic matters. We represent only poor people who qualify under our regulations and policies, set by the Legal Services Corporation, our Board of Directors, and our office. You can get a better idea of our organization from our Law Help pages at Micronesian Legal Services Corp. Law Help.

Some of the requirements for assistance from the Marianas Office of MLSC are:

1. residence in the CNMI. (It doesn't matter if you were born here, once lived here, have land here. If you aren't living in the CNMI now, we won't entertain your application.)

2. poverty. (We look at both income and resources. We assess eligibility based on the household, so even if you are poor, if you're living with a relative who has income, we consider the whole family in the household and all of the income.)

3. type of case within our priorities. (We handle most types of civil cases, but there are some we don't handle. We also don't accept cases that we think lack merit. We don't accept cases where we have a conflict of interest.)

People who want legal help from us must apply in person, if possible. We do make home visits for the handicapped, disabled, elderly and sick.

We frequently close "intake" of new cases because of the volume and the limits of our abilities. Typically, we accept applications for help with domestic cases (divorce, child support, adoption, guardianship, name change) only one week every two or three months.

Our goal is to help people gain access to the court system and justice. We've been providing legal aid since 1971. We have a dedicated staff, and we welcome your comments and suggestions.

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