U OF D MERCY LAW SCHOOL FEDERAL PRO SE LEGAL ASSISTANCE CLINIC
The U of D Mercy Law School Federal Pro Se Legal Assistance Clinic provides free legal assistance,
not representation, to low-income pro se litigants (a person who does not have an attorney).
Clinic services are not available for incarcerated individuals.
Monday, Wednesday and Friday - 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm
To make an appointment call 313-234-2690 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
CLINIC SERVICES MAY INCLUDE:
Review of case before or after being filed for federal court jurisdiction
Explaining legal claims and amending the complaint, if necessary
Assistance completing forms
Legal advice regarding the law, court rules and procedures
Explanation of court orders, court pleadings, and discovery issues
Limited legal research and assistance with writing motions and responses
Assistance with preparing for conferences, hearings, settlement conferences, mediations and other court appearances
PRO SE CASE ADMINISTRATOR
The Pro Se Case Administrator ("PSCA") is in the Clerk's Office and
provides free case filing and case related procedural assistance to pro se litigants (a person who does not have an attorney).
The PSCA, is not a lawyer and is an employee of the U.S. District Court.
The PSCA may only answer questions about forms and procedures.
The PSCA cannot provide legal advice, legal assistance, complete forms or advocate on your behalf.
Until further notice, the PSCA is available by telephone or email only.
Monday - Friday - 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
Must call for intake interview first. Serves Arenac, Bay, Clare, Genesee, Gladwin, Gratiot, Huron, Isabella,Lapeer, Midland, Saginaw, Sanilac, St. Clair, and Tuscola counties.
Legal Services of South Central Michigan
Monday - Friday, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm for intake interview
Washtenaw County Office Phone: (734) 665-6181 or 1-888-665-6181
Monroe & Lenawee Counties Phone: (734) 241-8310 or 1-888-251-1598 lsscm.org
Must call for intake interview first. Have available all documents relating to your legal problem. Serves Barry, Branch, Calhoun, Clinton, Eaton, Hillsdale, Ingham, Jackson,Lenawee, Livingston, Monroe, Shiawassee, and Washtenaw Counties.
LEGAL ASSISTANCE HOTLINE
COUNSEL AND ADVOCACY LAW LINE (CALL)
CALL provides legal advice over the phone and free of charge on a wide range of issues.
STATE BAR OF MICHIGAN
LAWYER REFERRAL PROGRAM
Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to 4:45 pm
Cost: $25.00 administrative fee
Clients pre-pay a $25.00 administrative fee for a referral to a lawyer for up to a 25-minute free consultation. The administrative fee will be waived for tenants with urgent housing problems, Social Security claimants, workers' compensation claimants, and personal injury plaintiffs.
MODEST MEANS PROGRAM
Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.
Cost: $25.00 administrative fee
Modest means clients pre-pay a $25.00 administrative fee for a referral to a lawyer for up to a 25-minute free consultation. If you qualify for the program, the modest means attorney will charge a reduced fee for any legal work provided after the initial consultation. The reduced fee rate is $75 per hour. Unless using one of the fixed-fee services, the attorney will bill by the hour. Exceptions may apply. Eligibility for the program is based on the legal matter, income, assets and availability of lawyers.
COUNTY LAWYER REFERRAL SERVICES
MACOMB COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION LAWYER REFERRAL SERVICE
The Macomb County Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service program offers legal referrals to lawyers. The service does not provide referrals to pro bono attorneys or free legal services. The referral and up to a thirty-minute consultation are free.
OAKLAND COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION LAWYER REFERRAL SERVICE
The OCBA's Lawyer Referral Service provides callers with referrals to lawyers. The service does not provide referrals to pro bono attorneys or free legal services. The referral and up to a thirty-minute consultation are free.
WASHTENAW COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION LAWYER REFERRAL SERVICE
Callers pre-pay a $30.00 administrative fee for a referral to a lawyer for up to a 30-minute consultation. The consultation does not cover document review or drafting of documents. It takes two to five business days for an initial consultation with the attorney. The Lawyer Referral Service is not an emergency service.
GENESSEE COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION LAWYER REFERRAL SERVICE
Monday - Friday, 9 am to 5 pm, (Closed from 12:00 pm -1:00 pm)
Callers pre-pay a $30.00 administrative fee for a referral to a lawyer for up to a 30-minute consultation. The $30.00 administrative fee is waived for personal injury and social security matters.
The Michigan Legal Help website is for people who are handling their legal problems without a lawyer. The website provides information about how to handle simple civil legal matters, such as housing, family matters or other civil rights. There are also forms and Do-It Yourself guides available at no cost. The site does not give legal advice and it is NOT a substitute for having a lawyer.
MICHIGAN LEGAL HELP SELF-HELP CENTERS
The Michigan Legal Help Self-Help Centers have staff available to help visitors find what they need on the website, answer questions about court practices and processes, and answer simple questions about forms available on the website. Navigators cannot give legal advice. There is also access to computers and the internet.
WAYNE COUNTY: Family Alliance for Change
5716 Michigan Ave
Detroit, MI 48210
Mondays and Wednesdays 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Visitors can access computers and printers during these hours. Help is available in both English and Spanish. All services are free.
WAYNE COUNTY: Friend of the Court
11th floor (Room 1145)
645 Griswold St
Detroit, MI 48226
Monday - Thursday, 9:00 am to 3:00 pm.
Visitors must sign in no later than 2:30 pm This office closes promptly at 3:00 pm.
WAYNE COUNTY: Coleman A. Young Municipal Center
19th floor (Room 1901)
2 Woodward Ave
Detroit, MI 48226
Fridays, 9:00 am - 3:00 pm.
Visitors to this center must sign in no later than 2:30 pm. The office closes promptly at 3:00 pm.
OAKLAND COUNTY: Oakland County Legal Resources Center
Building 14 East - 2nd Floor
Oakland County Courthouse
1200 N. Telegraph
Pontiac, MI 48340
Monday - Friday, 8:30 am - 5:00 pm
OAKLAND COUNTY: Oakland County Clerk's Office
Building 12 East
1200 N. Telegraph
Pontiac, MI 48340
When: Monday - Friday, 8:00 am until 4:30 pm
MACOMB COUNTY: Old County Building 13th Floor
10 N. Main St
Mt. Clemens, MI
Monday - Friday, 8:00 am - 4:30 pm
Residents from any nearby county may use the computers and highspeed internet connection to access the tools and resources on MichiganLegalHelp.org.
MONROE COUNTY: Monroe County Opportunity Program
1140 S. Telegraph Road
Monroe, MI 48161
Monday - Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm
(734) 241-2775, ext. 208
Visitors should come before 4:00 pm to have enough time to search the website.
LIVINGSTON COUNTY: Howell Carnegie District Library
314 W. Grand River Avenue
Howell, MI 48843
Mon - Thu: 10:00 am-8:00 pm
Fri - Sat: 10:00 am-5:00 pm
Sun: 12:00 pm-4:00 pm (The library is closed on Sundays in June, July, and August.)
SAGINAW COUNTY: Hoyt Library
505 Janes Avenue
Saginaw, MI 48607
Detroit Public Library
5201 Woodward Avenue
Detroit, MI 48202
University of Detroit Mercy Kresge Law Library
651 East Jefferson Avenue
Detroit, MI 48226
Wayne State University Arthur Neef Law Library
474 Gilmour Mall
Detroit, MI 48202
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What type of cases are filed in Federal Court? (click to expand/collapse answer)
Federal courts have limited jurisdiction. The types of cases filed in federal court are:
cases that deal with a question involving the United States Constitution;
cases where the United States is a party;
cases brought under federal law, including statutes; and
cases where the parties live or do business in different states and the alleged damages are more than $75,000.00 (also called diversity jurisdiction).
If your case does not fall under any of these categories, the federal court may not be the correct court to file your lawsuit.
Can I file a criminal case against someone? (click to expand/collapse answer)
An individual cannot file a criminal case against anyone. The United States Attorney's Office is responsible for filing federal criminal cases. Allegations of criminal behavior should be reported to the local police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, or other law enforcement agency
I can't find an attorney. Will the Court appoint an attorney to represent me? (click to expand/collapse answer)
Where are the rules? How do I conduct legal research? (click to expand/collapse answer)
You can find links to the Local Rules, Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and other legal research resources by clicking here.
Can the Clerk's Office Staff help me with my case? (click to expand/collapse answer)
The Clerk's Office staff can provide general information about court rules and how the process works. They cannot:
Give legal advice;
Explain how court rules apply a case;
Recommend a how to proceed in your case;
Predict when a judge will rule on a matter;
Predict a judge's decision on a specific matter; or
Explain the meaning of a court order or judgment.
Can I speak with the judge directly? (click to expand/collapse answer)
You will not be able to speak directly or have any private communication, which is considered "ex-parte communication", with the judge.
To properly communicate with the judge, all communications should be submitted in writing, through the Clerk's Office.
In order for the judge to take action in your case, you must file a motion explaining what you want and why. If you are not incarcerated, before you file your motion, pursuant to EDM LR 7.1 (a), Seeking Concurrence in Motions and Requests, you must either call or write to the attorneys for the other parties and ask whether they agree or disagree with what you want to asking of the judge. Your motion must state that you contacted the attorneys for the other parties and what their response was to your request.
How do I get a hearing in my case? (click to expand/collapse answer)
The judge or magistrate judge assigned to your case in accordance with LR 7.1(f) will set a hearing on all other motions, unless an order submission and determination without hearing.
Hearings will not be held on motions for rehearing or reconsideration, unless the judge orders a hearing.
How long will it take for the judge to decide my motion/case? (click to expand/collapse answer)
There is no set time limit for the judge to issue a decision on a motion or to resolve your case.
My case has been referred to a Magistrate Judge. What is a Magistrate Judge? (click to expand/collapse answer)
Magistrate Judges are judicial officers appointed by the Court to assist in the work of the Court. They can decide matters in your case and their decisions are subject to review by the District Judge. The parties can also agree "consent" to have the Magistrate Judge preside over the case instead of the District Judge.
FILING A CIVIL LAWSUIT OR NOTICE OF REMOVAL
How do I file a civil lawsuit? (click to expand/collapse answer)
Click here to see a video on how to file a complaint
Can I amend my complaint after it has been filed? (click to expand/collapse answer)
Your complaint may be amended after it has been filed. The complaint cannot be amended by filing separate or supplemental documents.
All parties and claims must be included in the amended complaint. The amended complaint completely replaces the original complaint
What are the filing fees and how do I pay them? (click to expand/collapse answer)
The fee to file a civil lawsuit or Notice of Removal is $402.00. The fee can be paid by personal check,
cashier's check, money order made payable to "Clerk, U.S. District Court."
The fee can also be paid by debit or credit card. Cash is not accepted.
What if I can't afford to pay the filing fee? (click to expand/collapse answer)
A judge will review your application and decide if you can or cannot afford to pay the filing fee. If the judge decides you
cannot afford to pay, the filing fee will be waived.
If the judge decides you can afford to pay the filing fee, you will have a certain amount of time
to pay the fee. Partial payments are not accepted.
How long do I have to serve the defendant? (click to expand/collapse answer)
The complaint must be served on the defendant 90 days from the date the complaint was filed. Refer to Rule 4 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure for more information about serving the summons and complaint.
How do I serve the defendant? (click to expand/collapse answer)
The summons and complaint can be served on the defendant(s) using one of the methods below. For more information about service,
see the Service Handbook.
Personal Service A person who is not a party to the case and is over the age of 18, can personally deliver or
serve the summons and complaint on the defendant(s). The person who served the complaint must complete the second page of the summons form.
By Mail The defendant(s) can be served with the summons and complaint using certified mail with
restricted delivery and return receipt.
Waiver of Service You may ask the defendant(s) to waive formal service by sending a
Notice of Lawsuit and Request to Waive Service of a Summons and a Waiver of
the Service of Summons. If the defendant waives service, they will return the signed Waiver of the Service of Summons form to plaintiff.
Service by U.S. Marshal If your request to waive the filing fee is granted and your complaint is not dismissed,
the Court will direct the U.S. Marshal to serve the defendant(s) with the summons and complaint.
What happens after the defendant is served? (click to expand/collapse answer)
It is the plaintiff's responsibility to notify the Court that the defendant(s) have been served with the complaint by filing a proof of
service with the Clerk's Office.
If the summons and complaint were served by:
A green certified return receipt card (PS Form 3811) will be returned for each defendant that received the summons and complaint.
Complete the Proof of Service form and attach the return receipt card or a copy, and file it with the Clerk's Office.
The person who served the defendant must complete the Return of Service section on the second page of the summons. The Return of
Service must be filed with the Clerk's Office.
I have served the defendant with my complaint. How long do they have to respond? (click to expand/collapse answer)
After the summons and complaint have been served the defendant has 21 days to respond to the complaint.
If suing the United States, a United States Agency, officer or employee, they have 60 days to respond to the complaint.
How do I file documents? (click to expand/collapse answer)
The courthouse is closed to the public and the Clerk's Office is not open to accept in person filings. Documents for filing can only be
submitted by mail or electronically through the Temporary Pro Se Document Upload Program.
To Send Documents By Mail:
U.S. District Court
Attn: Clerk's Office
231 W. Lafayette, 5th Fl
Detroit, MI 48226