Finding a Free Lawyer --- The Good News and the Bad News

The good news is that are charitable organizations and taxpayer-funded government agencies which provide free legal services in some civil matters.  The bad news is that you have to be truly poor to qualify.  You are not entitled to a free lawyer as a matter of constitutional right except in certain criminal cases.  You do not have the right to a free lawyer in debt collection or foreclosure lawsuits.


The two principal sources of free legal assistance in civil matters are Southeast Louisiana Legal Services and the New Orleans Pro Bono Project.  You can find their locations and contact information  here and here.


You should also check out and you may want to call the Louisiana Civil Justice Center help line at (800) 310-7029.

Representing Yourself --- Acting As Your own Lawyer

We believe it is almost always a bad decision for a layman (or even a lawyer) to represent himself or herself in court.  But if you insist on trying, just remember that if you screw things up, it will probably be even harder and more expensive to find and hire a lawyer to bail you out of the problems you may have created.


If you decide to try to do it on your own, remember what Abraham Lincoln said:  "A man who acts as his own lawyer has a fool for a client."


Enough said.  Don't say we didn't warn you.

Finding a Lawyer --- The Right Way and the Wrong Way

If you don't qualify for a free lawyer, and if you're smart enough to follow the advice of Mr. Lincoln, you're going to have to hire one.  And if you're being sued for non-payment of a debt or if your home is in foreclosure, you don't have money to throw away.  You want to hire a lawyer whose fees are fair and reasonable, and who understands your financial situation and is willing to work with you on payment arrangements if necessary.


There’s a right way and a wrong way to hire a lawyer.


The wrong way is to act impulsivley – to pick a lawyer because he or she advertises or has a cool website or an office close to where you live or work. [Note: Our law firm advertises and we think this website is pretty cool and we have an office that is convenient to everyone on the Eastbank or Westbank, but that's not why you should hire us.]


The right way to hire a lawyer is to talk to the lawyer first. Call the lawyer's office and schedule a phone consultation or an office appointment.  Ask questions about what he or she can do for you, how much it will cost, and whether you can make payment arrangements. Don’t be shy; you’re the one who is paying the fee, and you’re entitled to value for your money. If your prospective lawyer doesn’t have the time to talk to you personally, he may be the greatest lawyer in Louisiana, but he’s either too busy or he doesn’t give a damn about his clients.  Either way, it’s time for you to look elsewhere.   

Call Us and Talk to Us at 504-309-3304. The First Consultation is Free.

We handle almost every aspect of consumer debt default, from collection intervention that stops the calls, to pre- and post-chargeoff negotiation that prevents a lawsuit, to pending-lawsuit defense that prevents wage garnishment and bank account seizure, to Chapter 13 debt reorganizations that you may have seen advertised on TV, to Chapter 7 bankruptcy in federal court if you feel it's time to wipe the slate clean and get a fresh start.

Most people prefer to start with a free 15-minute telephone consultation.  You don't have to take off from work or make arrangements for someone to watch your children.  If we need more information you can provide it by email or fax.


If you decide to hire us, you'll have to set up an in-person appointment at either our Eastbank or Westbank office to sign a written employment contract and make payment arrangements.  We understand your financial condition and we do our best to work within our clients' budgets.


Call us at 504 309-3304

for additional information or a free initial consultation.

About Our Law Firm

We are a private, for-profit law firm located the metropolitan New Orleans area.  The name of our firm is William G. Cherbonnier Attorney at Law LLC.  We have two convenient offices, one on the Eastbank on Causeway Boulevard in Metairie close to Lakeside Shopping Center, and the other on the Westbank in Gretna about a mile off the Expressway.

Who We Are

We are consumer defense attorneys.  We represent individuals and small businesses who have be sued by banks, mortgage servicers, credit unions, debt buyers, finance companies, payday loan companies, and other lenders.  We represent consumers only, and never the businesses who sue consumers.

Our Philosophy

We believe that no one should try to represent himself in a debt collection or foreclosure lawsuit, and we produced this website to try to explain the lawsuit process and help Louisiana consumers find a lawyer that will represent them for a fair and reasonable price (or for free if they qualify for legal assistance).

How To Reach Us

Call Us


To schedule a free telephone consultation or an in-person appointment at one of our New Orleans area offices, please call us at 504 309-3304 from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. weekdays.


Email Us


If it's after hours, you can send us an email to


Message Us


You can also fill out our contact form


Directions and Map


Find directions and a map to our Eastbank and Westbank offices on our Contact page.