Marquette County residents who are unable to afford an attorney have a new place to go for assistance – the Michigan Legal Help Self-Help Center of Marquette County. Located in the Peter White Public Library at 217 N. Front Street, the Self-Help Center assists visitors in using the Michigan Legal Help website to gain information about how to represent themselves in simple civil legal matters. An open house will be held on November 1st from noon to 1:00pm on the second floor of the library.
This self-help center is part of the Michigan Legal Help Program, which consists of a statewide legal self-help website (MichiganLegalHelp.org), affiliated local self-help centers and partnerships with courts, bar associations, libraries, legal aid and others to educate those who assist self-represented persons.
“We are pleased to welcome the Michigan Legal Help Self-Help Center to Marquette County,” said Hon. Jennifer Mazzuchi, Circuit Court Judge for the 25th Circuit Court. “Its location at the Peter White Public Library will permit our county’s residents to access legal forms and information at their convenience. Many of the litigants in the court system are unable to afford legal counsel to assist them, and these materials can help better prepare them for their court proceedings.”
The Michigan Legal Help Self-Help Center of Marquette County is an internet-based self-help center that makes use of the free legal information website www.MichiganLegalHelp.org. In addition to the website, self-help center ‘navigators’ will be available to help visitors find information they need on the website, answer questions about court practices and processes, and answer simple questions about forms that are available on the website. Navigators cannot give legal advice.
The Michigan Legal Help website was created to make legal information easier to understand and to show people how to navigate the court system properly and efficiently. The website contains articles explaining specific areas of law, toolkits, forms and instructional checklists to help prepare people who represent themselves in court. Many court forms can be filled out online using a simple question and answer interview format.
The website can also help users look for a lawyer in their area if they need more assistance. The website includes information about local community services and details about the court(s) where a website visitor’s legal issue may be handled.
“We are excited to be working with the community partners in Marquette County,” said Project Director Angela Tripp. Tripp is the project director for the Michigan Poverty Law Program, which manages the Michigan Legal Help Program. Tripp said, “The support for this self-help center includes judges and staff from the Marquette County courts, private and legal aid lawyers, library staff, and others. All of the Michigan Legal Help self-help centers operate with this kind of community-based approach.”