Law and Nonprofits

Legal nonprofit launches online intake interview

March 20, 2017
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Legal Aid of Western Michigan online application screenshot
A screenshot of the welcome page in the online application for services from Legal Aid of Western Michigan. Photo via

Low-income individuals and seniors who are seeking legal services now have another way to make an initial connection with a local nonprofit.

Legal Aid of Western Michigan in Grand Rapids has launched an online intake interview, which will help potential clients determine whether they meet eligibility requirements for Legal Aid’s services.

The tool can be accessed by computer, tablet and smartphone.

Mary Ellen Drolet, deputy director of the nonprofit, said the online intake form adds a third mode for capturing intake information.

“This does not replace the current telephone and hotline access but offers our clients another way through the door,” Drolet said.

“Over the years, both our clients and technology have changed. More of our clients are employed and cannot call during business hours, and many low-income people have cellphones with limited minutes and cannot wait on the phone. This offers another option.”

Drolet said Legal Aid designed the tool to let those who don’t qualify find out quickly — and provide them with the contact information of other places where they might find help.

The guided online intake tool is interactive and should take less than 15 minutes to complete.

Legal Aid of Western Michigan

Legal Aid of Western Michigan provides free legal services in non-criminal cases to low-income and elderly residents.

Applicants must qualify for the services under financial guidelines. Most families who receive government benefits or have minimum-wage jobs are eligible for services, up to 200 percent of federal poverty income guidelines.

Legal Aid considers cases in most areas of civil law. These include problems with government benefits, consumer loans and collections, housing, divorce due to domestic violence and defendants in child custody cases. 

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