Civil Legal Assistance - Legal Services of Eastern Missouri

In a Nutshell

Legal Services of Eastern Missouri (LSEM) is an independent, non-profit organization that provides high quality civil legal assistance and equal access to justice for low-income people and the elderly in eastern Missouri.  LSEM offers opportunities to donate time and funds to their many programs.

Project Information


Approximately 286,000 low-income people live in the 21 counties that LSEM serves. For many of them, their quality of life has been gravely compromised because they are struggling with life-altering legal issues such as the ravages of domestic violence, the challenges of inadequate housing, or battling the educational barriers that raising a child with special needs can bring. These are all legal issues that for many go unresolved because they do not have legal representation. Our goal is to provide free quality legal assistance in civil cases to these low-income families. We strive to strengthen families, build our communities, and to secure justice for our clients.

LSEM has offered free legal advice, advocacy, and representation to the socially and economically vulnerable for more than 56 years. Legal services are most frequently provided in areas relating to domestic violence and other family law issues, children, education, health, housing and homelessness, public benefits, elder law, immigration, and consumer matters. LSEM is staffed with talented attorneys, paralegals, advocates, and social workers so that we can provide our clients with a "holistic approach" to solving their legal issues.


As a non-profit organization, Legal Services of Eastern Missouri (LSEM) depends on the support of the community we all share to continue our mission to provide Justice For All to low-income people and the elderly in eastern Missouri.

However you can help, LSEM can provide you with the opportunities to make a difference and the rewards that giving to others can provide!

  • Attorneys - join our Volunteer Lawyers Program by clicking here.
  • Students Seeking Internships? Whether we are a law student, paralegal student, or a social work student seeking a practicum, LSEM may be a great choice for you! We also have internships available for many other disciplines. Click here for details.
  • Not a legal professional? There are plenty of other volunteer opportunities available, including help with administration, outreach and fundraising events. Click here for details.

Thanks to the generosity of individuals and the entire St. Louis community, LSEM is able to continue providing quality civil legal services to low-income families in eastern Missouri - free of charge. LSEM is grateful for your support and you assistance in reaching our goal of providing justice for all.  Click here to read about several ways to donate to LSEM.


2013 Annual Report

2012 Annual Report


Legal Services of Eastern Missouri offer several programs that help accomplish goals and objectives of OneSTL.

LSEM's Children's Legal Alliance Program works to combat barriers to educational services encountered by at-risk youth, particularly those with disabilities and unmet mental health needs.  LSEM provides FREE educational advocacy to qualifying children with special needs who are not receiving appropriate services, and those who have been excluded from school.

Goal 1: Improve overall quality of education.
     Objective: Improve the quality of education at all levels.
     Objective: Incorporate lessons on life skills into public education.
     Objective: Prepare persons with disabilities to be active members of society.

With many entrepreneurs who are low income and smaller nonprofits lacking funds and facing other barriers, their for profit and nonprofit enterprises are often at risk because they do not have sufficient resources to pay for basic legal assistance about liability risks, corporate governance matters, contract and employment issues.Through their Community Economic Development Program, LSEM offers one-on-one legal representation, community legal seminars, legal counseling sessions, and training sessions for business counselors.

Goal 4: Build the regional economy.
     Objective: Support entrepreneurship, creativity, and small business creation.
     Objective: Encourage the production, marketing, and consumption of locally produced food, goods, and services.
     Objective: Develop a skilled, creative, adaptive and diverse workforce.
     Objective: Support a diversified economy.
Goal 5: Reduce racial disparities in economic opportunities.
     Objective: Increase workforce diversity and inclusion programs.

The mission of LSEM's Housing Law Program is to preserve habitable and affordable housing and to remove barriers to housing. LSEM's Housing Law Program represents low income individuals and families in all housing matters including landlord-tenant disputes, subsidized housing issues, and fair housing issues. The Housing Law Program also represents homeless individuals in removing obstacles to obtaining housing, and advocates on behalf of those who are homeless.

Goal 2: Eliminate areas of concentrated poverty.
        Objective: Increase protection for source of income discrimination by including protections for housing financial assistance such as Section 8 vouchers.
Goal 3: Encourage integrated communities.
     Objective: Increase regional fair housing enforcement.
Goal 4: Improve access to opportunities.
     Objective: Provide equitable access to jobs, housing, education, health care, financial services and other services.
Goal 5: Improve quality of life in low-income neighborhoods.
     Objective: Increase the safety and quality of housing.
     Objective: Increase civic engagement of typically underrepresented populations.



Legal Services of Eastern Missouri
4232 Forest Park Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63108
(314) 534-4200  

Director of Development and Marketing
Teri Champion Chadwick
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
(314) 256-8742

More InformationMore Information

The services listed on this website are only a portion of the full offerings of LSEM.  Click here to read about all of LSEM's programs.

LSEM brochure.