What to Expect

SMRLS provides help in civil legal matters. We focus on helping clients secure and protect basic needs. If you have a matter concerning family law, government benefits, housing, immigration, education law, senior law, or another civil legal matter we may be able to help.

Screening process

When you call our hotline you will speak to an intake worker or "screener." The screener is not an attorney. They will get basic information from you to determine if you are eligible for our services. 

All applicants must be screened for eligibility. SMRLS serves low-income people in three regions: southeast Minnesota, southwest Minnesota, and the east metro. We also help agricultural workers throughout Minnesota and North Dakota. To see if you may be eligible for our services take our online eligibility survey, call 1-888-575-2954, or apply online.

If you are eligible, the screener will transfer the call to a hotline attorney. The hotline attorney will get more information about your legal problem. The hotline attorney will determine if your case needs to be reviewed by one of our staff attorneys for potential representation or will provide general advice and other possible resources.

SMRLS will not deny services on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, creed, national origin, age, religion, political affiliation or belief, or disability.

Tips when calling SMRLS

  • The person who needs legal help should contact us unless he or she cannot do so because of age or disability.
  • Please have court papers or other important documents with you when you contact us.
  • If you need the help of an interpreter, SMRLS will provide one.
  • When calling, please have the opposing party's information with you.
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