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Study: Big legal need among low-income Tennesseans

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A new study found more than 60 percent of low-income Tennesseans face a significant civil legal need.

According to a news release from the Tennessee Supreme Court, respondents cited conflicts with creditors and landlords, problems obtaining or paying for health care, and difficulties with government benefits.

Unlike criminal legal matters, people with civil legal needs are not entitled to public attorneys. And according to the study, only 25 percent of respondents were aware of resources to help find a lawyer.

Many said they did not seek help because they feared involving the courts would make their problems worse.

The Supreme Court's Access to Justice Commission is seeking ways to provide help civil legal aid to needy Tennesseans. The group meets in December to discuss the study's results.