The Office of Administrative Law Judges does not appoint representatives, refer parties to representatives, or provide legal assistance. 29 C.F.R. § 18.17. Therefore, if you would like to obtain legal services, you must hire an attorney or non-attorney representative yourself. While legal representation is not required to pursue your claim before OALJ, it is recommended that you obtain legal counsel because of the potential complexity of legal issues often present in cases adjudicated by OALJ.
This page provides some options in finding legal representative. It is not a complete list of the available options. Moreover, the suggestions and links provided on this page are for informational purposes only. The Department of Labor does not endorse or warrant the performance of any particular organization, lawyer, lay representative, or law firm.
A good way to begin a search for legal representation is to ask trusted friends, relatives, or business associates if they know of a reputable attorney or representative. You can also find an attorney by consulting a local telephone directory, or your state’s bar association website. State bar websites generally have resources for members of the public looking for an attorney. Be aware that each legal case is different and not all lawyers may be suited for your specific legal problem. Many attorneys offer free initial consultations, but not always, so make sure you ask if you will be charged for consultation services. If you are unfamiliar with how to work with an attorney, the American Bar Association's Find Legal Help page is a good resource.
Lawyer Referral Services
Another way to find an attorney is to contact a local Lawyer Referral Service, which is an organization designed to help direct you to an attorney who might be suited to represent you in the type of case you have.
- American Bar Association
- Free or Low Cost Legal Services
The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) funds locally based legal aid services for persons in financial need and maintains a list of contacts on its website.
- Immigration-specific referral service
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website has page Find Legal Services.
The U.S. Department of Justice - Executive Office for Immigration Review has page List of Pro Bono Legal Services Providers.
The American Immigration Lawyers Association has a "Find an Immigration Lawyer" page that can assist in finding an attorney who specializes in immigration law. AILA's Immigration Lawyer Referral Service does not provide legal advice. The Service will only refer you to a lawyer who specializes in your area of need in your geographic area.
- Legal aid clinics
Many law schools and non-profit organizations have legal aid clinics that provide free or low cost legal assistance. Many of them have websites or pages on a law school website. Most of these clinics, however, focus on particular subject matters, and may not have any specific expertise relating to DOL adjudications.
- Directory of National Black Lung Clinics (Dec. 2018)