Welcome to legalhotlines.org

CERA LogoLegalhotlines.org
 is sponsored by the Center for Elder Rights Advocacy (CERA), a project of Elder Law of Michigan, with a grant from the United States Administration on Aging. CERA's mission is to provide technical assistance to legal hotline managers, developers, and other stakeholders for non-profit legal programs that provide telephone legal advice. The legalhotlines.org website maintains a library of materials on setting up and running a non-profit legal hotline.

Find what you need to set up or operate a legal hotline in our comprehensive library of manuals, presentations, reports, and sample brochures produced by the Project and other programs related to the operation of legal hotlines. Click on the Hotline Resources button in the navigation bar to find information on setting up the hotline, training staff, evaluating your program, and reaching clients. We have also posted all available reports on hotline productivity, client outcomes and satisfaction, and legal needs studies.

Please contact us with any questions at info@ceraresource.org.

What is a Legal Hotline?

Woman on the phoneA legal hotline is a service designed to provide legal advice and information by telephone at the time the client contacts the program or soon thereafter. This definition includes programs that provide answers to clients’ legal questions, analysis of their legal problems, and advice on solving those problems. Hotlines may perform brief services such as making phone calls, writing letters or preparing documents on behalf of clients. Hotlines may also provide referrals to other programs or serve as the intake mechanism for a full service program. Programs that provide only information and referrals, or which are limited to intake screening, are not considered to be legal hotlines. Hotlines frequently call themselves help lines, advice lines, or intake units. It is the service, not the name, which defines a legal hotline. This website primarily addresses the needs of not-for-profit hotlines, although many of the issues apply to for-profit hotlines as well.

Hotline call handlers may be attorneys, paralegals or law students, working under an attorney’s direct supervision.  "Hotline advocate" and "hotline attorney" are used interchangeably to refer to these persons. Our definition includes programs that may not call themselves "hotlines" so long as they have a system for providing telephone legal advice.

CERA provides a state-by-state listing of Senior Legal Hotlines and other Senior Legal Service Providers to provide you with access to legal services in your state.

Click on the map below to view the listing or click here.

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