SANTA FE, N.M. (KAMR/KCIT) — New Mexico recently launched a new hotline that will provide New Mexicans of “modest means” access to free civil legal assistance.

The “Modest Means Helpline” operation hours are from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and was a collaboration between the New Mexico Access to Justice Commission, the Administrative Office of the Courts and the State Bar of New Mexico and the State Bar Foundation. New Mexicans can reach the helpline by calling 505-797-6013 or 888-856-9935.

The Administrative Office detailed that two staff attorneys will provide legal assistance over the phone, along with references to additional private attorneys who have volunteered their free legal services upon the need for more extensive legal assistance.

“This program fills a critical justice gap, offering help to people ineligible for other services such
as those through New Mexico Legal Aid,” said Second Judicial District Court Judge Erin
O’Connell, co-chair of the Access to Justice Commission.

The office noted that New Mexicans with incomes from “200% to 500% of the federal poverty level” may qualify for helpline assistance along with individuals who do not have access to the New Mexico Legal Aid Volunteer Attorney Program because of a “conflict of interest.” For example, the program cannot assist both parties in a lawsuit.

“This Helpline provides a convenient way for many New Mexicans to access legal services when
they are unable to afford an attorney,” said Supreme Court Chief Justice C. Shannon Bacon.
“Help is literally a phone call away for an array of civil legal issues, whether it involves a
kinship guardianship for grandparents needing to raise grandchildren or someone facing
foreclosure or debt collection.”

Those who are 55 and older can gain legal advice by calling the State Bar Foundation Legal Resources for the Elderly Program at 505-707-6005.

“Expanding access to free and low-cost legal resources is critical for New Mexicans to meet
essential civil legal needs, including assistance with family issues such as child support and child
custody as well as safe housing and protections against financial exploitation,” said Richard
Spinello, executive director of the State Bar.

For more information on the available legal resources in New Mexico click here.