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Eligibility and Case Acceptance Criteria

Dakota Plains Legal Services is a private, non-profit firm primarily funded by the Legal Services Corporation.  The Legal Services Corporation was established in 1974 to provide legal services to individuals who would otherwise be unable to obtain legal representation due to financial constraints.


ELIGIBILITY:  Eligibility for legal services is established according to your income and residence. Income eligibility is determined using the federal poverty guidelines. Some people are eligible for our services regardless of income, such as those over 60 years old. For residence, go to the Areas Served page to see where DPLS practices. If you reside outside these areas and there is another office you can contact, DPLS will provide contact information for that office. Please call a DPLS office if you are outside of these service areas but have a legal issue within these service areas.


CASE PRIORITIES:  DPLS cannot accept every case of every eligible client.  DPLS is required by Federal Law and Regulations to establish case priority guidelines in deciding whether or not to accept a case even if the person is eligible for legal services.  The following is a list of types of cases which have been approved by the DPLS Board of Directors for acceptance in accordance with the case priority policy. To find out more about what kinds of cases DPLS accepts, go to our Services page and view the Program Priorities for the current year.



Family Law



Income Maintenance

Individual Rights

Indian / Tribal Law

Wills / Estates

Economic Development Assistance and Incorporation

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST:  DPLS offices cannot provide assistance if a conflict of interest exists, regardless of income and residence eligibility.


SCOPE OF RETAINER:  For accepted cases, Dakota Plains Legal Services will provide 1 of 3 levels of assistance, depending on the available resources for this office and on the merits of each case.  The three levels of assistance are 1) advice only, 2) brief service (i.e investigation or preparation of paperwork) and 3) appearance as counsel of record.  Preparation of paperwork alone does not constitute a commitement by Dakota Plains Legal Services to make an appearance in court.

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