The Hampden County Legal Clinic (HCLC) is a pro bono program which strives to continually improve access to justice for the underserved in Hampden County through volunteer efforts of legal professionals. The HCLC provides free essential legal and law-related services to area residents in need through a variety of pro bono initiatives and community-based programs. There are no income restrictions or other limitations on participation in HCLC programs. The HCLC is generously sponsored by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company and MassMutual Foundation. The HCLC is a public service of the Hampden County Bar Association (HCBA).
How can I get help?
District Court Lawyer for a Day
This program serves self-represented litigants with matters that fall within the general civil jurisdiction of the District Court. These include debt collection, consumer protection, small claims, civil harassment, civil motor vehicle infractions, and general court procedure. Volunteer lawyers provide legal advice and may assist with filling out forms. The program operates out of the HCBA office on Wednesdays from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and Thursdays from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., subject to volunteer availability.
This program serves self-represented litigants with matters that fall within the jurisdiction of the Probate and Family Court. Volunteer lawyers provide legal advice and may assist with filling out forms on a variety of family and probate matters such as divorces, child support/custody, guardianships, and estate administration. This program operates out of the HCBA office on Fridays from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on a bi-weekly basis, subject to volunteer availability.
This program serves self-represented litigants with matters that fall within the jurisdiction of the Housing Court. Volunteer lawyers provide legal advice to landlords and tenants about the preparation of notices to quit, complaints, and responsive pleadings in eviction cases. The program operates out of the HCBA office on Mondays from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on a bi-weekly basis, subject to volunteer availability.
Western Division Housing Court Lawyer for a Day
This program, run in partnership with Community Legal Aid, matches volunteer lawyers with landlord and tenant litigants who have eviction cases on the docket that day in Housing Court. Volunteers provide counsel and advice, prepare court forms such as answers and motions, assist with mediations, and may appear on behalf of clients for hearings and trials. Volunteers assist in-court litigants during the summary process (eviction) sessions on Thursday mornings from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and Thursday afternoons from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Probate & Family Court Conciliation and LAR/Pre-Trial Programs
The HCLC coordinates the calendar for two volunteer programs operating in the Hampden County Probate and Family Court. The Conciliation program provides trained neutrals who assist parties in mediating their disputes, and the LAR/Pre-Trial program assists self-represented individuals during their in-court pretrial conference. The programs operate on various dates throughout the month, subject to volunteer availability.
Question and Answer Forums
The HCLC puts on several community-based legal advice and information events throughout the year. These forums are held at various locations, including public libraries, businesses, community centers, and senior centers. The discussions consist of a broad range of topics, including consumer debt, estate planning, elder affairs, landlord/tenant, family law, and consumer protection matters. Please call our office for more information at 413-733-6500 or via email.
Legal Help Hotline
The HCBA partners with WNEU Law School and Western Mass News to run a Legal Help Hotline four times per year. These hotlines allow the public to call in and speak with a local, experienced attorney free of charge on a variety of legal topics. Callers are given guidance on navigating the legal system and receive advice on how to move forward with their case.
The HCLC operates Monday thru Fridays from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. We can be reached via email or by phone at (413) 733-6500.