Every year millions of Americans attempt to navigate the legal system without the assistance of a lawyer. For a growing number of citizens, private counsel is unaffordable, free legal services are unavailable and they are forced to represent themselves in civil cases. In fact, each year less than 20 percent of low-income individuals with civil legal problems obtain legal assistance. Yet these legal issues involve the most basic rights that lawyers are sworn to protect, including cases involving but not limited to housing, health care, child custody and protection from abuse.
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