Why We Do It

A Message from Our CEO

Paul WhelanPeople often ask why we do what we do. Why do we keep our fees so low, Couldn’t we make more money by charging more It’s true. We could make more money. But that’s not why we’re here.

The reason goes back to my childhood. My sisters and I were raised by my mother. She was an amazing woman, an inspiration. She taught first grade in public school for many years. She devoted her life to her children. She took care of all of our needs and wants. We weren’t rich but that was ok. Nobody we knew was rich. In my mother’s classroom there was often a student who couldn’t afford school supplies. Someone who didn’t have what the others did. My mother would do her best to quietly provide what they needed. There are more important things than money. There are our neigbors, our people.

When I started practicing law, I saw there were many people who needed legal help but could not afford it. While the wealthy and the poor can often get an attorney, the hard-working man or woman was often without hope. I remember. These are our neighbors. These are our people.

That is why we do what we do at Afford Law. Our fees are much lower than other law firms because we’re not only interested in the bottom line. We are also concerned with doing good in our communities, with doing what’s right. We believe everyone should be represented by an experienced attorney. There’s a great quote, [t]he court doesn’t exist to give someone justice. But to give them a chance at justice. Without a competent attorney by your side, you don’t have a chance at justice. We can help.

Afford Law was founded in 1995 as another solo practice concentrating on family law and criminal law. It soon became apparent that there was a problem with the delivery of legal services. A vast amount of people who needed representation could not afford it. At the same time, many of the same people did not qualify for court-appointed attorneys. The legal system serves the rich and the poor. Meanwhile, the hard-working person in the middle is forgotten. This is the problem we at Afford Law are trying to solve.

By using a sliding-scale fee approach we offer our services based on your income. By doing so, you are able to get the representation you deserve at a price you can afford. For the past several years we have been able to help many people who otherwise had no option. We are proud to be the voice of the working man and woman.

Afford Law is pleased to have Attorney Paul Whelan as Chief Executive Officer and Managing Attorney. He has been practicing law for over twenty-five years. He is focused on one thing, zealously representing hard-working individuals. He is a member of the Massachusetts Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers; the Massachusetts Association of Court Appointed Attorneys; the Massachusetts Bar Advocate program; and, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. He has served as a Special Public Defender in Connecticut. He has been a court-appointed attorney for Rhode Island criminal, juvenile, and family law cases. He has been a Certified Guardian Ad Litem in Massachusetts and Connecticut Family Courts. He is a former Unemployment Hearing Officer Referee for the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training. He is a 1994 graduate of New England School of Law. For years he has recognized that there is a large group of people that are under-served by the traditional legal system. We are here to fix that.


  • New England School of Law
    Juris Doctor, 1994
  • Rhode Island College
    B.A. Economics 1990

Activities & Affiliations

  • Massachusetts Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • Certified Guardian Ad Litem
  • Bar Advocate

Bar Admissions

  • Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut
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