Loans For Legal Fees With Bad Credit: Paying A Lawyer

How can you borrow money to hire a lawyer with poor credit or low FICO® or Vantage® scores?

You must convince lenders to approve your request or find another way to get the money.

Avoid legal peril by following a roadmap.

Critical Points

  • Unsecured loans are viable when positive elements balance the negative.
  • Pledged collateral makes secured loans easier to get if you have equity.
  • Some legal specialties match well with specific financing options.
  • Reducing legal fees is always better than borrowing money.

Bad Credit Loans To Pay Lawyers

You can get a loan with bad credit to pay a lawyer. However, there are no guarantees. The following three strategies improve your chances.

  1. Pledge collateral to offset losses should you default
  2. Balance your profile with positive borrowing credentials
  3. Have many specialty lenders bid to present offers

Personal Loans

Getting an unsecured personal loan may prove more challenging when you have bad credit. The lender must file a lawsuit to offset losses should you default. Therefore, they approve fewer requests.

However, you can still get money to pay a lawyer without pledging collateral. Balance the adverse payment history with positive elements. Have many lenders see your profile, not just one.

Lender Volume

Presenting your credentials to an online network of subprime lenders is the volume approach to overcoming weak borrowing credentials.

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Subprime finance companies specialize in consumers with bad credit. Using an online network gets your credentials before more lenders are more likely to approve your request.

You may receive offers for unsecured personal loans after inputting these details into the online form.

  • Citizenship status: Most lenders require applicants to be citizens or permanent residents of the United States.
  • Age: Applicants must be 18 years old to apply for a loan.
  • Income: Lenders will want to know the applicant’s income to determine whether they can repay the loan.
  • Credit score: Applicants with low ratings may still be eligible for a loan, but the interest rates and fees may be higher.

Positive Elements

Balancing your borrowing credentials with positive elements is another way to overcome a bad credit history. Lenders consider other factors besides FICO® and Vantage® scores.

You might get an unsecured personal loan to pay a lawyer by presenting solid employment, a low debt-to-income ratio, or using a co-signer.

DTI Ratio

A low debt-to-income ratio (DTI) can help overcome a poor credit score. The DTI measures how much of your monthly earnings goes towards debt payments.

Personal loans with high DTI are challenging to get. You need to persuade the lender to agree to longer repayment periods, reducing the monthly payments but extending the time for interest charges to accumulate.


A solid work history and verifiable employment can help overcome a history of late payments on your consumer report. Lenders want to ensure that the borrower has a stable source of income to repay the loan.

Personal loans based on employment, not credit scores, might help. Lenders will ask for proof of employment, such as pay stubs, tax returns, and bank statements.


Having a co-signer is another way to overcome poor borrowing credentials. A co-signer agrees to repay the personal loan if the borrower cannot.

The co-signer must have good credit and be willing to take on the repayment risk if the borrower defaults.

Secured Loans

Getting a secured loan to pay a lawyer is easier when you have bad credit. The lender has the legal right to repossess and sell the pledged collateral to recoup losses should you default so they can approve more applicants.

Vehicle Title

A vehicle title loan is secured financing, making it easier to qualify with poor borrowing credentials. The lender can repossess and sell your car if you default.

Here are the key steps to get a vehicle title loan:

  1. Check if title loans are allowed in your state. Laws vary locally.
  2. Bring your car and title paperwork to a storefront lender near you.
  3. The lender will inspect your vehicle in person.
  4. They will assess your car’s value based on year, make/model, mileage, condition, and extras.
  5. This appraisal determines how much you can borrow against the title.

Second Mortgage

A home equity loan or second mortgage is secured financing, making qualifying easier if your credit scores are low. The lender can place a lien on your property if you default to recoup losses.

A home equity loan is an installment contract. You borrow a specific amount and have fixed monthly payments lasting a predetermined time or term.  


A home equity line of credit HELOC represents secured financing, making qualifying with an adverse history on your consumer report easier. The lender can place a lien on your property if you default to recoup losses.

A HELOC is a revolving contract. You have flexible monthly payments and can borrow additional money up to the account limit.

Loans By Legal Specialty  

Taking out a loan to cover legal fees is challenging when you have bad credit. In this section, you can find ways to overcome obstacles by tailoring the financing to specific specialty areas.  

Estate Planning

Installment loans match well with estate attorneys because of their fixed fee structures. They typically quote a specific price upfront for a will, durable power of attorney, medical directive, or special needs trust.

Unsecured personal and secured home equity loans are installment contracts. You borrow a specific amount once and pay it back in equal monthly payments.

You do not want to die intestate (without a will) when you have bad credit.

Personal Injury

Revolving loans such as a HELOC match well with personal injury attorneys. You might need access to money periodically to cover living expenses while your case winds through the court system.

Lawyers representing clients injured at work, in a car accident, or through medical malpractice often charge contingency fees; they only get paid for a favorable result.

Therefore, use the HELOC to fund your expenses, not the attorney working on contingency. 30% of your award is just compensation for their effort and expertise.

Criminal Defense

Getting a bad credit loan to pay a criminal defense lawyer may be expensive (high-interest costs), but consider the alternative if found guilty.

  • Misdemeanor: punishable by one year in jail
  • Felony: punishable by more than one year in prison

Private Attorney

Revolving loans such as a HELOC match well with private criminal defense attorneys. The pledged collateral makes it easier for defendants with bad credit to get, and their flexibility fits the uncertain fee schedule.

A vigorous criminal defense could include periodic charges for jury consultants, expert witnesses, private investigators, scientific forensic testing, and replenishment of the attorney’s retainer fee.

Public Defenders

Your Miranda rights suggest you may not need a loan for criminal attorney fees. “If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be appointed for you.”

Ask for a public defender at arraignment. A lawyer paid by the government and appointed by the courts may represent you. You might qualify based on several criteria.

  • Amount of assets
  • Severity of the charges
  • Availability of family or other support

Family Law

Settlement loans might be a better alternative to finance family legal fees when you have bad credit. Divorce proceedings can drag on endlessly when negotiating contentious issues.

  • Child custody and visitation rights
  • Division of marital assets
  • Child support and alimony

New Chapter Capital offers divorce financing based on the projected settlement. It provides resources for living expenses, legal fees, expert forensic accountants, etc.

You do not make monthly payments. Instead, you fund a single lump-sum payment from your share of the divided assets after your case closes.


People with bad credit often seek legal relief for their debt problems. However, taking out a loan to pay bankruptcy attorney retainer fees has severe drawbacks.

  • Lenders are unlikely to approve debtors teetering on the edge
  • Borrowing money you have no intention of repaying is fraud
  • Creditors will challenge your right to discharge the debt

Most debtors fund the upfront retainer fee in installments by stopping payment to existing creditors. The bankruptcy courts allow this practice under Chapters 7 & 13.

Debt relief programs are an alternative to bankruptcy operating similarly. You fund an escrow account by stopping payment to creditors, then make a settlement offer of immediate partial payment.

Real Estate

Taking out loans to pay a lawyer to help you close on a real estate transaction is tricky. Having lousy credit complicates matters further.

  • The fee agreement may stipulate payment even when the deal falls through
  • A recent loan makes it harder to qualify for a mortgage
    • Drops your credit score further
    • Increases your debt-to-income ratio

FHA mortgage insurance programs provide a possible solution. The lower down payment requirements free up cash to pay your real estate attorney, even if the deal does not close.  

Alternatives to Legal Financing

When facing legal issues, hiring an attorney can be expensive, and not everyone has the means to pay for representation. However, there are alternative financing options available for those with bad credit.

Legal Aid

Legal aid programs can assist individuals who cannot afford a lawyer. These organizations may offer free or low-cost legal representation to those meeting explicit income requirements.

Find legal aid in your community for people with low incomes. It is important to exhaust all possibilities when your borrowing credentials are poor.


Crowdfunding can help cover the costs of a lawyer when bad credit excludes you from traditional financing options. Your extended network might contribute to legal causes with emotional appeal.

For instance, AdoptTogether is the world’s largest non-profit crowdfunding platform for adoption. Parents may incur significant costs for court document preparation and legal representation.

Nothing motivates friends, neighbors, and co-workers to help more than pictures of innocent, cuddly babies. However, think twice about posting a mug shot after a DUI. Such appeals are unlikely to work.

Family Members

Another option for financing legal representation is to seek support from friends and family. While it can be embarrassing to ask for assistance, loved ones may be willing to help in times of need.

Discussing the terms of any loan or gift with clear expectations and repayment plans is vital to avoid any misunderstandings or conflicts.