Legal Aid Society of Story County

The Legal Aid Society of Story County is a privately funded non-profit that has been increasing access to justice in Story County since 1974. The purpose of our program is to provide legal counsel to low income Story County residents facing non-fee generating civil matters including, but not limited to, divorce, custody, guardianship, and eviction. Our goal is to provide access to the legal system to Story County residents who would otherwise not be able to afford an attorney and are not entitled to court appointed counsel for the type of legal problem (such as with criminal cases). We open more than 150 cases on average each year, often substantially more when we are fully staffed with 3 attorneys. Each case we open represents progress toward that goal.

The professional services we offer result in clients being more safe, more secure and having a better understanding of the law regarding their legal issue. The indigent population in Story County is substantial and accounts for more than 20% of the total population in our community. As such, helping our clients stay in their homes, obtain a protective order, a proper custody, visitation, and support order for their children, or develop a payment plan for a creditor seeking to garnish their wages is often paramount to ensuring stability in other areas of their life.

We currently staff 2 full time attorneys and in the process of hiring a 3rd attorney. To be eligible, clients must be residents of Story County, be at or below 150% of the Federal Poverty Level for their family size, and have a qualified civil legal problem.

Legal Aid also operates the Story County Volunteer Lawyer Project, which extends the same services to residents whose income is up to 175% of the federal poverty guidelines. This program coordinates client placement with volunteer attorneys in Story County.

Legal Aid clients are primarily women in poverty seeking security, safety, and stability for themselves and their children. More than 2/3 of the cases are family law cases including divorce and child custody/visitation. The remaining cases include domestic abuse protective orders, unemployment appeals, Social Security appeals, landlord/tenant issues, and others. Accessing legal counsel empowers clients through expanded knowledge of the Iowa Code. Legal Aid actively encourages clients to participate and make informed decisions. The attorneys are flexible in their approach to working with clients, 39% of whom self-identify as having a mental illness. This may come in the form of moving schedules around to meet emergency client deadlines or rescheduling appointments respecting clients’ family needs.

Legal Aid Society of Story County

937 6th Street, Suite 101

Nevada, IA 50201

(515) 382-2471