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Low-Cost Legal Assistance and Self Help Tools in Dane County : Civil Matters/Tax Issues/Information & Referral

A list of legal assistance agencies and clinics in Dane County, WI. Organized by area of law.

Appellate Help Desk

Appellate Help Desk

Legal Assistance - From the Appellate Practice Section of the Wisconsin State Bar. People representing themselves in a Wisconsin Civil appeal can email or leave a voice message (contact info available in link above) for volunteer attorneys to get help with legal information and procedural rules. Assistance not available for criminal appeals or federal appeals.

Eligibility - Wisconsin residents needing help with a civil appeal.

Costs - No costs for access to this site

Legal Tune Up

Legal Assistance - Online tool built by LIFT Dane, with the help of UW Law School, Legal Action of Wisconsin, the Center for Patient Partnerships, and other organizations.  Through this site, users can receive help with and take steps to resolve various legal issues related to: suspended drivers licenses, eviction records, inaccurate criminal records, child support changes, and more.  

Eligibility - Wisconsin residents 

Costs - No costs for access to this site


Legal Assistance - State Bar website is designed to assist with drafting a correctly formatted for the Wisconsin Court of Appeals. Provides examples of briefs,explains various sections within briefs, and directs users to sites for cases, statutes, etc for citing within briefs.

Eligibility - All Wisconsin residents with a civil appeal

Costs - No costs for access to this site

Free Legal Answers

Legal Assistance - Ask a legal question online, receive an answer via email from a volunteer Wisconsin Attorney.

Eligibility - Wisconsin residents who cannot afford a lawyer and have legal questions.

Costs - No costs for access to the site.

Staff - Volunteer attorneys.

Case Mediation Program

Post Office Box 44008
Madison, WI 53744-4008
Phone: (608) 848-1950
Fax: (608) 848- 9266

Legal Assistance - Volunteer attorneys mediate civil and family law cases (financial issues only) filed in Dane County Circuit Court through voluntary or court ordered mediation.

Eligibility - Open to all parties with litigation pending in the Dane County Circuit Court.

Costs - Filing fee for mediation is $75.00 per party

Contact -

Staff - Volunteer attorneys who are members of Dane County Bar Assocation.

Publication - Web site -

Community Justice, Inc.

222 South Hamilton St., Suite 22
Phone: (608) 204-9642
Hours: Monday-Thursday 1:00 P.M. - 4:00 P.M.

Legal Assistance - Representation in many areas, including landlord/tenant, disability and mental health, employment, discrimination, consumer/credit child welfare, land use, environmental, and criminal law.

Eligibility - Individuals who are underrepresented and/or unable to afford an attorney. Potential clients must first participate in an intake phone interview that lasts 10-30 minutes.

Costs - Affordable representation through income-sensitive fees

Staff - Six lawyers, five of whom are graduates of UW

Publications - Web page - (includes client brochure and an online contact form)

Legal Clinics by the UW Law School

UW Law School Economic Justice Institute
Villager Mall                                      UW Law School
2312 South Park Street                    975 Bascom Mall
Madison, WI                                     Madison, WI

Legal Assistance -  Students provide workshops and clinics to community and interest groups in a variety of areas. Available clinics: Consumer Law Clinic (see box below on this page), Eviction Defense Clinic, Family Court Clinic, Immigrant Justice Clinic, Neighborhood Law Clinic (see box below on this page), Restraining Order & Survivor Advocacy Clinic

Eligibility - Wisconsin community and interest groups.

Costs - No costs.

Contact - Phone: (608) 890-0678

Staff - UW law school students.



Consumer Law Litigation Clinic

UW Law School, Room 2221
Phone: (608) 263-6283
Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 P.M.

Legal Assistance - Representation in federal and state consumer protection law suits. Assistance in filling out forms related to the case. (Mediation may also be available through the clinic's Mediation Clinic.)

Eligibility - Individuals unable to afford an attorney. No set financial guidelines.

Costs - No fees are charged up front. If the client is awarded damages, attorneys fees will be assessed.

Contact - 608-263-6283; online contact form available at web page link in Publications below

Staff - Second and third year UW law students under supervision of advisory board.

Publications - Web page -  (Brochure available)

Dane County Law Library

215 South Hamilton St.
Room L1007
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 266-6316
Hours: Monday-Friday 8:30 to 4:30

Legal Assistance - DCLRC serves the legal information needs of judges, attorneys, and the general public by providing reference and research assistance, training, and forms sales and distribution. The Center also assists the Dane County Sheriff's Department with providing legal information to inmates of the Dane County Jail. Borrowing privileges are available to court staff, licensed attorneys, federal, state, and city government agency employees. Borrower cards obtained at DCLRC can also be used at the Wisconsin State Law Library. . DCLRC reference staff can help users in the library or answer questions via phone, mail, or email. Resource Center staff cannot give legal advice but can refer users to other local agencies who can offer legal assistance.

Eligibility - Judges, attorneys and the general public.

Costs - No costs, except for legal forms that are available for purchase or for document delivery.

Contact - Bob Lopez, Reference/Outreach Services Librarian.

Staff - Two librarians.

Publications -

Website at:
Low-Cost Legal Assistance In Dane County -
Dane County Family Court Resource Booklet:

Lawyer Referral & Information Service

State Bar of Wisconsin
PO Box 7158
Madison, WI 53707
Phone: (608) 257-4666 or 1-800-362-9082 (Wisconsin only)
Hours: Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Legal Assistance - Referrals to attorneys or Legal Organizations. Callers begin by talking to an experienced legal assistant who can assist in locating the best sources of help. Assistants generally refer callers to one or more of three services: Lawyer Hotline - An attorney answers a caller's simple legal question; Lawyer Referral - Caller is referred to a Wisconsin attorney who practices in the area about which the caller is inquiring; Community Referral - Caller is referred to community sources such as low income legal services, government agencies, consumer protection, and other services. See also the Modest Means Program in this guide for patrons desiring low cost attorneys.

Eligibility - All Wisconsin residents

Costs - Free service, unless the caller makes an appointment to speak with an attorney. In this case, the attorney will charge potential client no more than $20.00 for an initial half hour consultation.

Contact - By phone (above) or request a lawyer online at

Staff - State Bar legal assistants and volunteer attorneys

Publication - Information is available off of the State Bar's web site at

Legal Action of Wisconsin

744 Williamson Street
Suite 200
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: 855-947-2529
Hours: Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.*

Legal Assistance - Legal services in many areas. See
for more information.

Eligibility - Low income individuals and families. 

Costs - Free services for qualified, income-eligible persons. See

Contact - 855-947-2529

Staff - Attorneys and paralegals

Publication - Web site -See

Note* - Walk in service, but times of service vary depending on the type of assistance that is needed.

Low Income Tax Payer Clinic

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Clinic through UW-Whitewater (2022)
UW-Whitewater Community Engagement Center: 1260 W Main Street, Whitewater, WI
Phone: (262) 472-5452, (262) 472-1229

From February 2 through April 13, the VITA program will be open from 3:30 to 6:00 p.m. on Wednesdays. Taxpayers should arrive one hour before closing, and they will be served on a first come, first served basis.

Legal Assistance - Assistance with tax related issues; help taxpayers resolve controversies with the IRS and help answer tax questions; ESL assistance. Sponsored by the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and grant funding from the IRS via the LITC grant programSchedule information can be found here:

Eligibility - low and moderate income taxpayers

Costs - Free services

Contact - (262) 472-5452, (262) 472-1229

Staff - The VITA clinic is staffed by certified student preparers and supervised by faculty in the College of Business and Economics Department of Accounting

Publications - Web site:

Modest Means Program

State Bar of Wisconsin, Modest Means Panel
PO Box 7158
Madison, WI 53707
Phone: (608) 257-4666 or 1-888-529-7599
Hours: Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Legal Assistance -   The Modest Means Program of the State Bar of Wisconsin assists people whose income is too high to qualify for free legal services, but too low to pay a lawyer’s standard rate

Eligibility - Wisconsin residents, subject to income limits. See web page for chart.

Costs - The State Bar does not charge  a fee for the referral service; however, the lawyer may charge a $20 fee for the initial half-hour consultation. 

Contact - (608) 257-4666 or 1-888-529-7599

Staff - State Bar staff and volunteer attorneys

Publication - Information and downloadable form at

Neighborhood Law Clinic

2238 S. Park St.(Villager Mall)
Madison, WI 53713
Phone:(608) 265-2441 
Fax 608-265-3732
Hours: By Appointment - Monday 1:00pm - 3:00pm, Tuesday 1:00pm - 5:00pm; Thursday 1:00pm - 3:00pm


Legal Assistance -  Provides free legal services to Dane County residents. NLP helps with legal problems involving housing, employment, and public benefits.

Eligibility - Dane County Residents.

Costs - Free services

Contact - No particular contact person

Staff - UW law students under the supervision of attorneys.

Publication - Web site -

Small Claims Assistance Program

Run by the Dane County Bar Association and University of Wisconsin Law School’s Pro Bono Project

Phone: 608-618-2970
Hours: 3rd Friday of the Month by Appointment


Legal Assistance - operate virtually, allowing Dane County residents to make appointments with a lawyer or paralegal for information and guidance. Information, forms, and limited legal advice may be provided but no legal representation is available. SCAP can help you start a small claims case or with a case that is already started. They provide assistance to both plaintiffs and defendants in all small claims actions.

Eligibility - Unrepresented small claims litigants in Dane County, intended for people without attorneys.

Costs - Free services

Contact - Appointments can be made by phone call (608-618-2970) or by emailing 

Staff - Volunteer Attorneys and Paralegals

Publication - Web site -

Small Claims Court

Dane County Courthouse
Room 1000
215 S Hamilton St.
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 266-4311
Hours: Monday - Friday 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.


Legal Assistance - Claims are filed with the clerk of Small Claims Court. The clerk provides the necessary forms. The claimant must complete the forms, pay the fee, and wait for a decision. The forms must contain the following information: Time of incident, names and addresses of all persons involved, specific details about what happened, the amount of money involved

Eligibility - Claims can be filed in Dane county if one of the following circumstances are present : The person or business being sued resides or does a substantial amount of business in the county. The claim arose in Dane County.Property involved in the claim is in Dane County.

Costs - $59.00 filing fee and a $2.00 filing fee for each defendant, payable at the time the claim is filed. If claimant wins, fees will be awarded.

Contact - No particular contact person

Staff - Clerk of Circuit Court

Publications Guide to Small Claims Court -

The State Bar of Wisconsin also has a guide to small claims court -

State Bar of Wisconsin Website

Website -

"Legal Research Tools" - - this section of the site contains links to a variety of sources, including Wisconsin legislation, case law, administrative decisions, local and federal court rules and circuit court forms. Requires registering for an account.

The state bar website provides a starting point for resolving a legal issue. Some of the highlights include options which allow patrons to:

Eligibility - No restrictions for access to the site (although only Wisconsin residents are eligible for State Bar of Wisconsin services).

Costs - No costs for access to the site.

Tenant Resource Center

1202 Williamson Street, Suite A
Madison, WI 53703
Housing Counseling: (608) 257-0006 or 1-877-238-RENT (877-238-7368)
Mediation: (608) 257-2799
Fax: (608) 257-0143
Hours: Monday - Friday 9am to 6pm

Legal Assistance - Landlord-tenant mediation Information and counseling on landlord-tenant rights and responsibilities

Eligibility - Tenants and landlords in Dane County

Costs - Free services

Contact - No particular contact person

Staff - Primarily volunteers

Publications - Web site -
Apartment Management in Wisconsin : a Self-help Guide for Property Managers and Owners
- also available through UW Law Library Reserve KFW 2517 Z9 L36
Student Tenant Union's Renter's Guide - Law Library Reserve KFW 2517 Z9 T46
Tenant's Rights in Wisconsin - Memorial Library KFW2517 Z9 T46

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance

Sponsored by Madison Public Library and the Wisconsin Department of Revenue
Various locations
Phone: (608) 266-6300 (Madison Public Library)

Legal Services - Assistance with completing tax forms. Most VITA activity consists of completing and calculating simple individual taxes on 1040A and EZ forms and the calculation of Wisconsin's Homestead Credit. For further information, see the Madison Public Library website linked below under "publications."

Eligibility - All taxpayers

Costs - Free services

Contact - Call the Madison Public Library or Madison IRS office to schedule an appointment.

Staff - Law student volunteers who receive training from the IRS and the Wisconsin Department of Revenue.

Publications - The IRS and Wisconsin Department of Revenue distribute publications free of charge to the public. See: and,,id=107626,00.html

Richard Dilley Tax Center

The Village On Park
UW Madison South Partnership Office
2238 South Park Street
Madison, WI 53713

Phone: Call (608) 283-1261 or (608) 224-3722

Legal Services - Free tax preparation at the Richard Dilley Tax Center, a partnership with Dane County UW Extension, City of Madison, IRS, UW Madison, and the Wisconsin Department of Revenue; open every year from late January through April 15th.

Eligibility - low-income, elderly and/or people with disabilities

Costs - Free services

Contact - Schedule appointment online; if unable to schedule online, call (608) 224-3700 M-F between 8am-4:30pm

Staff - volunteer tax preparers

Publications - Richard Dilley Tax Center Website & Richard Dilly Tax Center Informational Brochure

Goodwill of South Central Wisconsin Income Tax Prep

Various locations within and outside of Dane County

Phone: General phone 608-246-3140

Legal Services - Free tax preparation and/or access to free tax preparation software 

Eligibility - individuals with $73,000 or less in Adjusted Gross Income (AGI)

Costs - Free services

Staff - volunteer tax preparers

Publications - GSCWI Income Tax Prep Assistance Website

Veterans Law Center

 The Veterans Law Center is operated by the Dane County Bar Association. The Center operates virtually, allowing Dane County residents to make appointments with a lawyer or paralegal for information and guidance. The VLC will meet on the second Friday of every month. Volunteer lawyers will meet individually with people via Zoom for a consult of up to an hour. Information, forms, and limited legal advice may be provided but no legal representation is available. The attorney volunteers will be assigned specific dates.

Legal Assistance -   

  • Give information on court procedures
  • Refer people to community resources
  • Provide brief legal advice and assistance during time you work with an attorney
  • An attorneys/paralegals/law students can help you complete forms and provide filing instructions.
  • VLC cannot recommend a specific lawyer..

Eligibility - Veterans. Contact center if you have any questions about eligibility.

Costs - No costs.

Contact - or 608-618-2970

Staff -Volunteer Attorneys, Paralegals, Law Students

Publications -

WILL- Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty

Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty
1139 E. Knapp St.
Milwaukee, WI 53202

Legal Assistance -   Attorneys represent clients with violations of constitutional rights in the areas of  property rights, the freedom to earn a living, voting rights, regulation, taxation, school choice, and religious freedom.

Eligibility -

  • Wisconsin residents
  • Cases dealing with violations of constitutional rights

Costs - No costs.

Contact - Phone: (414) 727-WILL(9455), or fill out the online "Requesting Legal Assistance" form
Fax: (414) 727-6385

Staff - Attorneys, paralegals, and other staff.

Publication: Web site -


Law Group


UW Law Library Reference Librarians


Law Group


975 Bascom Mall
Madison, WI 53706