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Self-Help Legal Aid

It's important to note that while these resources can be helpful, they are not a substitute for the advice of a licensed California attorney.


If you have a legal issue, it's always a good idea to speak with a qualified attorney who can provide you with specific legal advice based on your unique circumstances.

California State Bar Attorney Search


Did you know? On average, 1,200 complaints of attorney misconduct are filed every month in California!


  • I don't understand why no one wants to take my case!!
    We often receive inquiries from people requesting an empathetic, brave and courageous attorney, one that "isn't afraid of the status quo", they want an "aggressive and gritty legal professional" who's willing to get his/her hands dirty. Most likely, several law firms have turned these people down, and they are left scratching their heads because they believe they have a very strong case, but the lawyers they've contacted so far are lazy, greedy, or incompetent. That's not the case at all, here are the top 8 reasons why a California lawyer won't take your case: 1. THERE IS NO MONEY TO BE MADE IN YOUR CASE Attorneys didn't spend eight years of higher education accruing hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loans to work for FREE. The legal profession is a vocation that is based on expertise in the law and its applications; attorneys must be compensated for such expertise. For a lawyer to accept a case, it needs to have the potential to recover more money than the lawyer will have to invest in trying the case. Therefore, legal fees must be paid upfront as a retainer or, in some instances, a case may be accepted on contingency (no win/no fee). (We'll cover no win/no fee in more detail next in the FAQ's) Depending upon the type of case, a lawyer may easily have to invest $20,000-$100,000 (or more) in pursuing a case. The more experienced and successful the attorney, the higher that number becomes. Such costs may involve product testing, the expense of obtaining expert witnesses, not to mention the law firm's staff and many other operational expenses. The cost of developing the testimony to prove your case also has to be factored into the attorney's analysis. If the cost of the expected depositions exceeds the expected return on the case, an attorney most likely will not accept the case. If a lawyer doesn't take your case, it isn't because he or she lacks empathy, courage or skills. Get a second opinion from another lawyer who has taken cases similar to yours and most likely, you'll get the same response. But be cautious in this approach because of the next reason why a lawyer may not take your case. 2. OTHER LAWYERS HAVE REJECTED YOUR CASE Suppose your case has been repeatedly "released" or "dropped" from other law firms. In that case, subsequent attorneys will consider taking your case from either a liability perspective or an unreasonable expectation perspective. Often, cases are turned down because the potential client appears to be shopping around for a lawyer based upon the feedback they receive on the case's potential value. Such potential value isn't even determined by the lawyer but a variety of other factors such as policy insurance limits, extent of your injuries...etc. Even though it is crucial and recommended to be selective in choosing the right lawyer, you must focus on whether or not the lawyer in question has the expertise and a history of winning the type of case you're involved in. If it's clear you're just shopping around for the best payout, a lawyer may not waste their time with you. 3. THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS HAS EXPIRED A statute of limitations is a law that sets the maximum time you have to initiate legal proceedings from the date of an alleged offense, whether civil or criminal. The length of time the statute allows for a victim to bring legal action against the suspected wrong-doer can vary from one state or jurisdiction to another. In general, the time allowed under a statute of limitations varies depending upon the nature of the offense. In most cases, statutes of limitations apply to civil cases. For example, in some states, the statute of limitations on personal injury claims is two years, so that means you have two years to sue for a personal injury case. If you wait so much as one day over the two-year deadline, you can no longer sue for a personal injury. 4. YOU HAVE A WEAK CASE One of the questions you should always ask in consultation with a firm is, "How strong is my case?" If a firm doesn't think you have a strong case, they certainly don't want to add a loss to their record. Lawyers are interested in protecting their reputations since a strong reputation will draw in more clients, just as a weak standing will do precisely the opposite. If several attorneys have rejected your claim, most likely, you have a very weak case combined with the fact that you have unreasonable expectations. For example, in personal injury cases, how badly you're injured is an important factor in a case. If your injuries are minor (or you want to sue because your feelings were hurt during an argument), an attorney will pass on your case because the expected monetary compensation will also be very minimal if any. 5. THERE IS A CONFLICT OF INTERESTS Lawyers have an ethical duty not to represent clients who may have adverse interests. Conversely, if a lawyer is related (professionally or by blood), that can also be seen as a conflict of interest. 6. THEY DON'T SPECIALIZE IN THAT TYPE OF CASE Say you've been injured in a case of medical malpractice. Not all personal injury attorneys specialize in medical malpractice injuries. Often, you'll see that personal injury lawyers specialize in a particular type of injury case, such as car and truck accident cases. Some may only handle product liability cases, and some may only handle oil field injury cases. If you have a strong rapport with the lawyer you're speaking to, but they don't specialize in your specific type of case, ask for a referral. The chances are high that they'll be able to refer you to a lawyer who does have experience in your type of case. 7. YOU'RE PURSUING MULTIPLE LAWSUITS Most lawyers will not want to get involved if you're suing lawyers, doctors, employers, landlords, and other parties at the same time. These people come across as unreasonable, preposterous and difficult to work with. Unless you have the financial means to cover legal fees up front, most lawyers will immediately reject a case. 8. THEY DON'T LIKE YOU A lawyer is never obligated to take your case. Taking on a new client means starting a new working relationship – and relationships are a two-way street. If you're perceived to be very rude, difficult to work with, obnoxious, or abrasive, most lawyers will pass on your case. In fact, if you're difficult to work with and a lawyer is still desperate to take your case, you may need to take a look at that lawyer's record of winning cases like yours. Chances are, their success rate isn't that strong at all. Beggars can't be choosers – and that goes both ways.
  • Why won't you accept my case on contingency (no win/no fee) ?
  • I was mistreated by a company or business, how do I file a complaint?"
    Each year, millions of consumers experience problems with a product or service. There are several strategies for resolving those complaints. First contact the seller. If that does not work, contact a consumer complaint agency. If that does not bring satisfaction, consider other options, such as arbitration or filing a lawsuit. You don't need a lawyer just to file a complaint, unless you suffered bodily injuries. For disputes under $10,000, consider filing your complain with your local small claims court. Contact the seller Whether your problem is a defective hair dryer or a leak in your newly installed roof, the first step in resolving your problem is to contact the merchant who sold you the product or service. Most consumer complaints are settled at this level. Be prepared. Always make a record and document what went wrong with a letter, by taking photos and gathering as much evidence as possible. Save boxes, brochures, and other written materials that were provided by the seller or contractor. This includes all relevant documents, such as receipts, cancelled checks, photographs, credit card bills, warranties, contracts, brochures, package inserts or bills of sale. Think about what you would accept as a reasonable resolution of your complaint. Do you want your money back, or would a store credit suffice? Would you accept a replacement item? Can the product be repaired? Think through your goal. In approaching the seller, call first, indicate that you have a complaint, and ask to make an appointment with the appropriate person, typically the store manager or customer service representative. At that meeting, explain as briefly and accurately as possible both the nature of the problem and what you want the merchant to do. Be firm, but polite, avoiding displays of temper. (If it's not possible or practical to meet with the business, you can try calling or writing.) If this proves unsuccessful, take your complaint to the person on the next rung up the chain of command. This may be the supervisor or manager, the store owner if the store is locally owned, the corporate consumer complaint department, or even the president or CEO of the company. You may also decide at this point to pursue your complaint through the manufacturer, rather than through the merchant, particularly if your problem is covered by a warranty. At this stage, you should put your complaint in writing. Your letter should be polite, well organized, and either typed or written legibly in ink. It should include: Your name, address, home and work phone numbers (and when you can generally be reached at those numbers), and your account number, if appropriate; A brief statement of the important facts concerning your purchase, including when and where you made the purchase, and specific information about the item in question, including make and model and serial number, if applicable; If your complaint involves a service, a description of the service and the name of the person who performed it; A brief statement describing your problem with that product or service; A description of what you have already done to try to resolve your complaint and the response you received; and What you want the merchant to do and a reasonable time period for a response. You should include copies, not originals, of all documents related to your complaint, and you should keep a copy of your letter for your files. Also, be sure to keep copies of any correspondence you receive from the company, and keep dated notes on any telephone conversations you may have regarding the complaint. This documentation could determine your success or failure if you need to take your complaint further. CONTACT A COMPLAINT AGENCY In most cases, contacting the seller or manufacturer will produce a satisfactory resolution to your complaint. When the merchant and manufacturer are not cooperative, however, you can seek assistance from a government or non-profit complaint agency. State, County, and City Consumer Protection Offices There are agencies that can assist in resolving consumer complaints. These agencies may be in independent state, county or city offices, the governor's office, the county District Attorney's or City Attorney's office, or the Attorney General's office. It is important to notify these governmental consumer protection offices of any complaints. Consumer complaints that report abusive practices or indicate an on-going pattern of fraud are often the basis of investigations and changes in the law. Contact the agency first by phone, since most will want to mail you a complaint form to use in filing your complaint. You will also need to provide copies, not originals, of relevant documents, and you will need to describe what you have already done to resolve your complaint. If your complaint involves a business in another state, you may be referred to a consumer office in that state. Better Business Bureaus Better Business Bureaus (BBBs) are non-profit organizations, sponsored by local businesses, that promote good relations between buyers and sellers. While BBBs have no authority to force even their members to resolve complaints, most will at least contact the merchant, and some offer more formal binding arbitration. Most BBBs prefer that you call first, so that they can determine whether your complaint is within their jurisdiction and, if so, mail you a complaint form. Once it has received your completed form, the BBB generally will contact the company for its response and try to negotiate a solution. If this effort does not resolve your problem, some BBBs will also offer arbitration, in which both you and the merchant agree to let a neutral third party decide on a fair resolution. Consumer Action Hotlines In some communities a television news program, radio talk show host, or newspaper columnist will offer a hotline to help resolve consumer complaints. These services use the leverage of media exposure to encourage stubborn businesses to respond. Other Non-Profit Organizations A variety of other non-profit organizations try to resolve consumer problems. They include legal clinics associated with law schools and grassroots community organizations. Federal Agencies Most federal agencies do not handle individual consumer complaints. But it is important for you to bring complaints to their attention so that they can take any appropriate legal or regulatory actions to prevent future problems. Do not hesitate to report defective products to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Report defective automobiles to the Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Industry Trade Associations Some industry trade associations offer assistance in resolving complaints pertaining to their members. The assistance offered usually resembles the information mediation provided by BBBs. Some of the better established services of this type include the Major Appliance Consumer Action Panel (1-800-621-0477) and the Direct Marketing Association Mail Order Action Line (written complaints only to Mail Order Action Line, 6 East 43rd Street, New York, NY 10017). Certain products and services are under the separate jurisdiction of specific state agencies. Banking Every state has a banking division which regulates state banks. Many will help consumers resolve complaints involving state-chartered banks. Insurance Consumers with complaints involving insurance companies or agents can get assistance from the state insurance division. Investments Every state has a securities division to regulate securities investments. If you have a complaint about a broker, investment adviser, financial planner, or a specific investment product, call your securities division for assistance. Electric, Gas, or Telephone Company In California, the Public Utility Commission or Public Service Commission assists consumers with complaints involving public utilities. In some states, these utility commissions also regulate and handle consumer complaints against in-state moving, trucking, charter buses, and airport shuttle vehicles. In addition, some states have Consumer Utility Boards that will help consumers resolve their utility complaints. Licensed Trades California license certain trades, particularly building trades, such as general contractors, carpenters, plumbers, and electricians. In California, the departments which license these trades will assist consumers to resolve their complaints about licenses. New Car California has a "lemon law" establishing procedures to resolve complaints involving chronic car problems. These state laws specify the number of days and repair attempts needed to qualify. Contact your state consumer protection agency for information on the state's lemon law. Some states also have lemon laws covering used cars. Mail Order Postal inspectors assist consumers in resolving mail order problems as well as with fraud cases in which the mails are used in any way to advance the fraud. Contact the postal inspector (not the Post Master), whom you will find listed under the Postal Service in the U.S. Government listings or in the white pages of the phone book. FILE A LAWSUIT If all else fails, consider pursuing your complaint in court, either through small claims court or, if the amount of money involved is large, through a civil lawsuit. Small Claims Court Located in nearly every county and city, small claims courts provide a relatively fast, efficient, and inexpensive way to resolve consumer problems. Most accept claims up to $10,000 and allow consumers to present their own case without the assistance of an attorney. In fact, in California lawyers are not permitted in small claims court. Many of these courts and some consumer agencies make available written material about the small claims process and how to prepare for it. When your case is called, you will have a chance to explain your problem to a judge in the presence of the subjects of your complaint. After hearing both sides of the case, and reviewing any written evidence provided, the judge will make a decision. Be aware that collecting small claims court awards may be difficult and include additional costs. Consult the court or your consumer agency about how best to ensure payment. Additional resources: Filing a Consumer Complaint File a Complaint Against an Attorney
  • Where do I find FREE legal help or PRO BONO attorneys?
    Related Articles: Before you call the California public defender's office Why finding pro bono lawyers in California is difficult Wrongful termination in California Clients that lawyers want to avoid How to check if a lawyer is licensed in California Choosing the right personal injury lawyer in California Personal Injury Attorney Arrested After Stealing Millions From Clients To locate the nearest SELF-HELP center and family law facilitator's office near you, click here. For all other cases, you may be able to get free legal assistance from the following agencies: FREE online legal consultations Probono Project (408) 998-5298 San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program (619) 235-5656 Legal Aid Society of Los Angeles (800) 250-5700 Community Legal Services (310) 638-6194 Legal Aid Foundation Of Los Angeles (562) 435-3501 (213) 640-3950 (213) 640-3881 (213) 640-3883 (310) 899-6200 LA County Public Defender's Office (For criminal matters only) (323) 780-2064 (213) 974-2811 (323) 226-8998 Anaheim Outreach (714) 571-5200 University of Southern California Small Business Clinic 699 Exposition Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90089 Business Lambda Legal (213) 382-7600 4221 Wilshire Boulevard Los Angeles, CA 90010-3512 Civil Rights Public Counsel (213) 385-2977 601 S Ardmore Ave Los Angeles, CA 90005 Bankruptcy, Civil Rights, Consumer and Family The Alliance for Children's Rights (213) 368-6010 3333 Wilshire Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90010 Education, Family, Health Care and Juvenile Bet Tzedek Legal Services (323) 939-0506 3250 Wilshire Blvd., 13th Floor Los Angeles, CA 90010 Bankruptcy, Civil Rights, Consumer and Elder Mental Health Advocacy Services (213) 389-2077 3255 Wilshire Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90010 Civil Rights, Education, Health Care and Juvenile Harriett Buhai Center for Family Law (213) 388-7505 3250 Wilshire Blvd, Ste 710 Los Angeles, CA 90010 Criminal, Divorce and Family Police Watch - Police Misconduct Lawyer Referral Service (213) 387-3435 611 S Catalina St Los Angeles, CA 90005 Civil Rights Central American Resource Center, Los Angeles (213) 385-7800 2845 West Seventh Street Los Angeles, CA 90005 Criminal, Domestic Violence, Family and Immigration Coalition for Economic Survival (213) 252-4411 514 Shatto Place, Suite 270 Los Angeles, CA 90020 Real Estate Los Angeles County Family Law Facilitator (213) 637-8470 600 S. Commonwealth Ave Los Angeles, CA 90005 Divorce and Family Los Angeles County Bar Association Barristers AIDS Legal Services Project (213) 896-6436 PO Box 55020 Los Angeles, CA 90055 Civil Rights and Health Care El Rescate Legal Services (213) 387-3284 1501 West 8th Street Los Angeles, CA 90017 Immigration ACLU of Southern California (213) 977-9500 1313 West 8th Street Los Angeles, CA 90017 Civil Rights California Rural Legal Assistance (805) 483-8083 338 South A Street Oxnard, CA 93030 Civil Rights and Health Care Asian Pacific American Legal Center of Southern California (888) 349-9695 1145 Wilshire Blvd, Ste 2nd Fl Los Angeles, CA 90015 Consumer, Criminal, Divorce and Employment Disability Rights California (213) 213-8000 350 South Bixel Street Los Angeles, CA 90017 Civil Rights, Education and Health Care Immigration Center for Women and Children (619) 515-2200 427 C Street, Suite 208 San Diego , CA 92101 Criminal, Domestic Violence, Family and Immigration Los Angeles County Bar Association Barristers Domestic Violence Project (213) 624-3665 261 S Figueroa St Los Angeles, CA 90014 Criminal, Divorce and Family Disability Rights Legal Center (213) 736-1031 350 South Grand Avenue. Suite 1520 Los Angeles, CA 90071 Civil Rights, Health Care and Real Estate Cancer Resource Center 350 South Grand Avenue. Suite 1520 Los Angeles, CA 90071 Arbitration & Mediation, Civil Rights, Consumer and Family Inner City Law Center 506 South Main Street Los Angeles, CA 90013 Real Estate Pepperdine University School of Law Legal Aid Clinic (213) 347-6300 545 S. San Pedro Street Los Angeles, CA 90013 Criminal, Family and Tax Los Angeles Family Law Center (213) 620-9991 205 S. Broadway Suite 500 Los Angeles, CA 90012 Divorce and Family Los Angeles Free Clinic (323) 653-8622 8405 Beverly Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90048 Bankruptcy, Divorce, Family and Immigration Center for Health Care Rights (213) 383-4519 530 S. Lafayette Park Place Los Angeles, CA 90057 Health Care Immigration Legal Assistance Project (213) 485-1873 300 N Los Angeles St, Ste 3107 Los Angeles, CA 90012 Civil Rights, Health Care and Immigration Los Angeles LGBT Center 8475 Santa Monica Blvd West Hollywood, CA 90069 Civil Rights, Criminal, Divorce and Estate Planning California Lawyers for the Arts (888) 775-8995 12304 Santa Monica Blvd., Ste. 304 Los Angeles, CA 90025 Bankruptcy, Business, Civil Rights and Consumer Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice (323) 980-3500 5301 Whittier Blvd., 4th Floor Los Angeles, CA 90022 Consumer, Criminal, Divorce and Family Legal Aid Society of Orange County (310) 638-6194 725 W. Rosecrans Compton, CA 90222 Bankruptcy, Civil Rights, Consumer and Divorce Pasadena Human Services Department Consumer Action Center (626) 744-7300 1020 N Fair Oaks Ave Pasadena, CA 91103 Consumer, Criminal, Divorce and Family City of Santa Fe Springs Legal Services Program (562) 944-6419 9255 S. Pioneer Blvd. Santa Fe Springs, CA 90670 Community Legal Services (562) 864-9935 11834 Firestone Blvd Norwalk, CA 90650 Civil Rights, Consumer, Criminal and Divorce
  • I was scammed by a paralegal or unlicensed attorney!
    Unfortunately, this is more common than you'd think. If someone gives legal advice without a license, that’s called the unauthorized practice of law (UPL.) In California, only attorneys can give legal advice. If an attorney loses their license to practice law, but continues to take and advise clients, that’s also considered the unauthorized practice of law. There is no charge to file a complaint and you do not need to be a U.S. citizen to file a complaint. The State Bar does not ask for or track immigration or citizenship status. To file a complaint about an unlicensed individual, follow this link.
  • I have a malpractice case, can you help?
    California malpractice law refers to the body of legal rules and principles that govern professional negligence claims in the state of California. Malpractice law applies to cases in which a professional, such as a doctor, lawyer, accountant, or other licensed professional, fails to provide a reasonable standard of care to a client or patient, and as a result, causes harm or injury to that person. In California, malpractice claims are typically brought under the legal theory of negligence. To prove a negligence claim, the plaintiff (the person bringing the claim) must demonstrate that the defendant (the professional accused of malpractice) had a duty to provide a reasonable standard of care, breached that duty by failing to provide the required standard of care, and that this breach of duty was the direct cause of the plaintiff's injuries. California malpractice law also includes specific rules and procedures for bringing a malpractice claim, including requirements for expert testimony and limitations on the amount of damages that can be awarded in certain types of cases. Additionally, California law requires professionals to carry malpractice insurance in order to protect themselves and their clients from the financial impact of malpractice claims. Overall, California malpractice law is a complex and evolving area of law that requires a thorough understanding of both legal principles and the specific facts and circumstances of each individual case. If you are suing for medical malpractice, the law says you need to prove that: The doctor or other medical professional breached the duty of care owed to you or your loved one by submitting a ("certificate of merit" - see below) AND You suffered damages as a direct cause of the breach. California Health & Safety Code §1799.110 states: In any action for damages involving a claim of negligence against a physician and surgeon providing emergency medical coverage for a general acute care hospital emergency department, the court shall admit expert medical testimony only from physicians and surgeons who have had substantial professional experience within the last five years while assigned to provide emergency medical coverage in a general acute care hospital emergency department. For purposes of this section, "substantial professional experience" shall be determined by the custom and practice of the manner in which emergency medical coverage is provided in general acute care hospital emergency departments in the same or similar localities where the alleged negligence occurred. To file a medical malpractice case, you first need a “certificate of merit” to determine that the injuries you suffered resulted from a health care professional's negligence. To file a certificate of merit you must first contact an expert, usually another physician. This expert will review your medical records and certify that the original health care provider deviated from accepted medical practices, which resulted in your injuries. Our attorneys require the certificate of merit which confirms that another medical expert agrees AND supports your malpractice claim. Without a certificate or merit, we do not accept malpractice cases ( no exceptions ). If you do have a certificate of merit, please email it to our legal department and briefly tell us about your claim. For any other disputes or complaints about a medical professional, you may lodge a complaint about your issue through the Medical Board of California.
  • I already have an open case with a lawyer and I'm having trouble changing lawyers.
    There may be a few reasons why some California lawyers may not be inclined to accept cases where another lawyer is already involved. One reason could be that the lawyer may have a conflict of interest with the existing lawyer. For example, if the lawyer has previously represented the other party in the case, it may be difficult for them to represent the client without bias. Another reason could be that the case may already be at an advanced stage and your current lawyer has placed a lien on your case. Basically, this means that a new lawyer will not be compensated for his/her legal services. In such cases, it would be more beneficial for the client to continue working with the existing lawyer who is already familiar with the case. Finally, some lawyers may simply not want to work with another lawyer on a case. Some lawyers may prefer to handle cases independently and may not want to collaborate with another lawyer. This could be due to a variety of reasons, such as a difference in legal philosophy or working style. In conclusion, there may be a variety of reasons why some California lawyers may not be interested in accepting cases where another lawyer is already involved. These reasons may include conflicts of interest, the advanced stage of the case, or simply a preference for working independently.
  • My feelings were hurt, can I sue?
    These types of frivolous personal injury claims can not only be a waste of time and resources, but they can also undermine the legitimacy of legitimate claims. Most California lawyers won't bother looking into these claims. It is important for individuals to be honest and reasonable when making personal injury claims, and to not try to take advantage of the system for their own gain. Here's a good article that goes deeper into intentional infliction of emotional distress claims, also known as IIED.
  • I was a victim of a violent crime and I need help.
    If you are a victim of a qualifying crime involving physical injury, threat of physical injury or death of a family member you may qualify for compensation. For certain crimes, emotional injury alone is all that needs to be sustained. Certain family members or other loved ones may also qualify. You must contact the victim compensation board which is a state agency that oversees the provision of compensation to victims of violent crimes and the collection of restitution from criminal offenders.
  • I was served with an unlawful detainer, what do I do?
    An unlawful detainer is a legal action in California that allows a landlord to evict a tenant from a rental property for not paying rent or for violating the terms of the rental agreement. If you are served with an unlawful detainer complaint in California, it is important to take the matter seriously and seek legal assistance as soon as possible. Here are some steps you can take to deal with an unlawful detainer in California: Read the unlawful detainer complaint carefully and make sure you understand the allegations against you. Determine if you have any defenses to the eviction. For example, you may have a defense if the landlord did not follow the proper procedures for serving the notice or if the eviction is based on discrimination. File a written response to the unlawful detainer complaint. You must file your response within 5 days of being served with the complaint, unless you are served on a Friday, in which case you have until the following Monday to file your response. Attend the court hearing. The court will schedule a hearing to determine whether the landlord has the right to evict you. You should attend the hearing and present any defenses or evidence you have to the court. Follow the court's order. If the court orders you to vacate the property, you will need to comply with the order. If you do not vacate the property, the landlord can ask the court to issue a writ of possession, which allows the sheriff to physically remove you from the property. It is important to note that the above steps are a general overview of the process for dealing with an unlawful detainer in California. The specific steps and procedures may vary depending on the circumstances of your case. It is strongly recommended that you seek legal assistance from an experienced attorney to help you navigate the unlawful detainer process and protect your rights. Landlord/tenant attorneys in California WILL charge you an upfront retainer ranging between $3,000 to $5,000, if you cannot afford an attorney there are other low cost alternatives available.
  • I've been charged with a crime, what are my options?
    When facing criminal charges in California, one of the most important decisions you'll make is selecting legal representation. While the option of a free legal representation with public defender may be available, hiring a California criminal defense lawyer offers unique advantages that can significantly impact the outcome of your case. In this article, we will explore the benefits of choosing a private criminal defense lawyer over a California public defender. Expertise and Specialization: California criminal defense lawyers specialize in defending individuals facing criminal charges. They possess extensive knowledge of criminal law, courtroom procedures, and the nuances of the California legal system. Their focused expertise allows them to analyze the specifics of your case, develop effective defense strategies, and provide personalized guidance throughout the legal process. Time and Resources: Public defenders often handle heavy caseloads, which can limit the time they can dedicate to each individual case. In contrast, private criminal defense lawyers have more flexibility to allocate time and resources to your defense. They can conduct thorough investigations, gather evidence, interview witnesses, and consult with experts, all of which can contribute to building a strong defense tailored to your specific circumstances. Personalized Attention: Hiring a California criminal defense lawyer ensures that you receive personalized attention and a customized defense strategy. Private attorneys have the ability to give your case the focus it deserves, understanding the unique aspects and intricacies of your situation. They will work closely with you, keeping you informed, addressing your concerns, and providing guidance at every step of the legal process. Flexibility and Availability: Public defenders often juggle numerous cases simultaneously, making it challenging to be readily available for clients. In contrast, private criminal defense lawyers prioritize their clients and can provide more personalized and accessible support. They can promptly respond to your inquiries, schedule meetings at your convenience, and maintain open lines of communication, offering you peace of mind during this stressful time. Negotiation and Advocacy: Private criminal defense lawyers excel in negotiation and advocacy skills. They have experience interacting with prosecutors, negotiating plea bargains, and presenting compelling arguments on your behalf. Their knowledge of the law and familiarity with local court systems can significantly impact the outcome of your case, potentially leading to reduced charges, alternative sentencing options, or even case dismissal. Continuity of Representation: In some instances, public defenders may change due to caseload reassignments or other factors. This can disrupt the continuity of your defense and require you to adapt to a new attorney. By hiring a private criminal defense lawyer, you establish a consistent and stable attorney-client relationship, ensuring continuity throughout your legal proceedings. While public defenders play a vital role in the criminal justice system, hiring a California criminal defense lawyer provides unique benefits that can greatly impact the outcome of your case. The specialized expertise, personalized attention, allocation of time and resources, negotiation skills, and continuity of representation offered by private attorneys can be invaluable in navigating the complexities of the criminal justice system. When facing criminal charges, it is crucial to carefully consider your options and choose the legal representation that best aligns with your needs and interests.
  • What's a mediation program?
    Mediation programs provide an alternative method of resolving complaints without having to go to court. Through the mediation process, the individuals involved in a dispute work out their own solutions with the help of a mediator. The mediator does not enforce a decision on the individuals, but helps guide them in reaching a solution. Since the individuals involved in the dispute play active roles in resolving the dispute, they usually are comfortable and supportive of the solution. Successful mediations often result in written agreements that are signed by both individuals in a dispute. If the parties do not reach a mutually agreeable solution, either or both of the parties may still file a court action. Mediation procedures are voluntary, and usually take place in one or more sessions. Mediators usually are either trained, volunteer nonlawyers who reside in the community, or are paid individuals with backgrounds in law, psychology, or counseling. The mediator's role is to work with both parties in a dispute to identify the issues, reduce misunderstandings, clarify priorities, vent emotions, find points of agreement, explore new areas of compromise, and negotiate an agreement. For more information about programs in your area, contact a local consumer agency or small claims court advisor. Local mediation programs available in California are listed below. LOS ANGELES Arts Arbitration and Mediation Services (AAMS) a program of California Lawyers for the Arts (CLA) Rebecca Ruschell, Associate Director Alma Robinson (SF), Executive Director 12304 Santa Monica Blvd., Suite 304 Los Angeles, CA 90025 TEL: (310) 207-0001 Asian Pacific American Dispute Resolution Center Charles Chang, Executive Director 1145 Wilshire Boulevard Los Angeles, CA 90017 TEL: (213) 250-8190 FAX: (213) 250-8195 California Academy of Mediation Professionals Wendy Wright, Director 16501 Ventura Blvd., Suite 606 Encino, CA 91436 TEL: (818) 377-7250 FAX: (818) 784-1836 California Conference for Equality and Justice Danielle Nava or Jose Gutierrez 444 West Ocean Blvd, Suite 940 Long Beach, CA 90802 TEL: (562) 435-8184 FAX: (562) 435-8318 Center for Civic Mediation Andrew Culberson, Director 1055 West 7th Street, 27th Floor Los Angeles, CA 90017 TEL: (213) 896-6533 Center for Conflict Resolution Chris Welch, Director 7806 Reseda Blvd. Reseda, CA 91355 TEL: (818) 705-1090 or (800) 572-9017 Centinela Youth Services Jessica Ellis, Director 11539 Hawthorne Blvd., Suite 500 Hawthorne, CA 90250 TEL: (310) 970-7702 FAX: (310) 675-2300 City of Norwalk, Dispute Resolution Program Veronica Garcia, Supervisor 11929 Alondra Blvd. Norwalk, CA 90650 TEL: (562) 929-5603 FAX: (562) 929-5515 Korean American Coalition, 4.29 Center Chris Lee, Executive Director 3727 W. 6th St., Suite 515 TEL: (213) 383-4290 Los Angeles County Department of Consumer Affairs Caroline Torosis 500 West Temple Street, Room B96 Los Angeles, CA 90012 TEL: (818) 705-1090 or (213) 974-9415 The Loyola Law School Center for Conflict Resolution Mary Culbert, Director 800 South Figueroa Street, Suite 1140 Los Angeles, CA 90017 TEL: (213) 736-1145 Office of the Los Angeles City Attorney Dispute Resolution Program 200 North Spring Street, 14th Floor Los Angeles, CA 90012 (213) 978-1880 ORANGE Orange County Human Relations Council 1300 S Grand Avenue, Building B Santa Ana, CA 92705 TEL: (714) 834-7198 FAX: (714) 567-7474 SAN DIEGO National Conflict Resolution Center Steven P. Dinkin, President 625 Broadway Street, Suite 1221 San Diego, CA 92101-5419 TEL: (619) 238-2400 FAX: (619) 238-8041 North County Lifeline Karen Thompson, Dispute Resolution Project Director 200 Michigan Avenue Vista, CA 92084 TEL: (760) 726-4900 FAX: (760) 631-0778 SAN BERNARDINO 1500 South Haven Avenue, Suite 100 Ontario, CA 91761 TEL: (909) 984-2254 TOLL FREE (800) 321-0911 FAX: (909) 460-0274 VENTURA Office of the District Attorney Consumer Mediation Section Robin Estes, Supervisor 5720 Ralston Street, Suite 300 Ventura, CA 93003 TEL: (805) 654-3110 FAX: (805) 648-9255 Conflict Resolution Institute Shinina Butler, Executive Director 555 Airport Way, Suite D Camarillo, California 93010 TEL: (805) 384-1313, FAX: (805) 384-1333 RIVERSIDE Riverside County Executive Office 4080 Lemon Street, Fourth Floor Attn: Alternate Dispute Resolution Program Riverside, CA 92501 TEL: (951) 955-1110 FAX: (951) 955-1105
  • I have a civil rights case!
    Civil rights cases we've handled in the past are: Excessive Force, False Arrest, Wrongful Conviction, Sexual Assault by a Police Officer. Violation of 4th Amendment (Unreasonable Search and Seizures) For any other type of civil rights claim, you may call the following agencies: Lambda Legal (213) 382-7600 4221 Wilshire Boulevard Los Angeles, CA 90010-3512 Public Counsel (213) 385-2977 601 S Ardmore Ave Los Angeles, CA 90005 Bet Tzedek Legal Services (323) 939-0506 3250 Wilshire Blvd., 13th Floor Los Angeles, CA 90010 Mental Health Advocacy Services (213) 389-2077 3255 Wilshire Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90010 Police Watch - Police Misconduct Lawyer Referral Service (213) 387-3435 611 S Catalina St Los Angeles, CA 90005 ACLU of Southern California (213) 977-9500 1313 West 8th Street Los Angeles, CA 90017 Immigration Legal Assistance Project (213) 485-1873 300 N Los Angeles St, Ste 3107 Los Angeles, CA 90012 Community Legal Services (562) 864-9935 11834 Firestone Blvd Norwalk, CA 90650
  • Other certified lawyer referral services available for a second opinion?
    Los Angeles County Bar Association Lawyer Referral and Information Service (SmartLaw) PO Box 55020, Los Angeles, CA 90055 213-243-1525 or 866-762-7852 | Other Languages: Spanish, Chinese Orange County Bar Association LRIS 4101 Westerly Place, Newport Beach, CA 92260 949-440-6747 or 877-257-4762 | Other Languages: Spanish LRIS of the San Diego County Bar Association 401 W. A St. #1100 San Diego, CA 92101 619-231-8585 or 800-464-1529 | Other Languages: Spanish
  • I just need help filling out legal forms, can you help me?"
    Many legal forms are free and you can fill them out without hiring an attorney by answering a series of questions. Your answers are used to decide what kind of legal issue you have and what forms you need. You can also find the closest SELF-HELP office for assistance here.
  • I have a dispute under $10,000 and I need legal assistance, can you help?"
    You can resolve most disputes under $10,000 through your local small claims court without incurring in the expense of hiring an attorney. Small claims court is a special court where disputes are resolved quickly and inexpensively. The rules are simple and informal. The person who sues is called the plaintiff. The person who is sued is called the defendant. You are not allowed to have a lawyer represent you at the hearing in small claims court. But you can talk to a lawyer before or after court. Here you will find advisors in your area who can help you free of charge.
  • I have a traffic ticket!
    Our attorneys only handle misdemeanor or felony traffic cases, if you have a minor violation such as a traffic ticket you can find free reference material here.
  • Can I sue a county or government agency?
    City, county, and state governments can be held liable in lawsuits the same as private citizens; however, the process regarding suing a county or city in California is far different and more complex than suing a person. Unfortunately, we do not handle these type of cases.
  • Are there any online legal chats available?
    Yes, you can chat live with law librarians throughout California here. This service is available: Monday 8 a.m.- 5 p.m. & 6p.m.- 8 p.m. Tuesday - Thursday 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. Friday 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Participating Libraries Bernard E. Witkin California State Law Library Fresno County Law Library LA Law Library Orange County Public Law Library Placer County Law Library Riverside County Law Library Sacramento County Public Law Library San Bernardino County Law Library San Diego County Public Law Library San Francisco Law Library
  • I have been a victim of fraud, how can I report a business?"
    If you have been a victim of a fraud or scam, you must immediately report your case to the California Department of Consumer Affairs.
  • How do I lodge a complaint about an attorney?
    If you need to file a complaint about an attorney outside our network, please call the State Bar's ethics line at (800) 843-9053 In the unlikely event that we referred you to an attorney and he or she acted inappropriately, please contact us immediately in writing via email. Your complaint will be reviewed by our ethics committee.
  • How do I check a lawyer's credentials?
    At, we check credentials, background, licenses, disciplinary records, degrees and performance of each one of our members. However, if you are considering hiring an attorney outside of our pre-screened lawyer network, we recommend to verify the lawyers credentials first. To do this, simply visit the State Bar of California's website where you will find a lawyer lookup tool. You can easily check a lawyer with his or her bar number or by name.
los angeles attorney referral service

California State Bar Certified Lawyer Referral And Information Service is a California State Bar Certified and approved Lawyer Referral and Information Service.

We provide unbiased and impartial lawyer referrals. This service isn't owned nor operated by lawyers receiving. referrals.


Our objective is that you receive the best comprehensive, high-quality legal representation while holding California attorneys to the highest standards of professional conduct.​​

Why Due Diligence Is Important When Considering to Hire A California Attorney.

In 2017 Matthew Petersen, President Donald Trump's district court nominee for a lifetime appointment on the US District Court withdrew his nomination after being vetted by Republican @SenJohnKennedy.


Similar to this confirmation hearing, we conduct due diligence when vetting California attorneys. 

Our History 


Since 2005, we have assisted people who need legal representation but whose ability to locate reputable California Lawyers is frustrated by unreliable law firm marketing of self-promoting lawyers and biased legal advertising. ​

How the LRS Works 

Anyone seeking competent and honest legal representation in California, can request a FREE lawyer referral. 

Once you submit your case details online, our legal 24-hour legal department will review your claim and reply via email. Most cases are reviewed and answered within 15 minutes. 


A free 30 minute consultation with the attorney will be offered to each referred client. 

A representative will follow up a few days later via email with the client after receiving a referral for quality management purposes, or to obtain the status of the case. 

About lawyers from our network

California lawyers in our network are insured, in good standing with the California State Bar, and have substantial experience in their practice area.


Attorneys are available in most areas of law throughout Southern California. Every lawyer in or network has been vetted for:

  • Credentials

  • Education

  • Communication skills

  • Performance

  • Client reviews

Additionally, we conduct criminal  background checks and attorneys are always monitored by our service.  

How to find the best lawyer for your legal case: 

1. The fastest way to have your legal issue reviewed by one of our attorneys is to send your details online


Your information will go directly to our 24 hour legal department. You will get a reply via email within 15 minutes. 

2. You may also inquire about your legal issue via chat where you can get more information related to different areas of law that apply to your case.

3. By calling our lawyer referral hotline 661-310-7999. However, our agents are not attorneys and cannot provide legal advice. Due to high call volumes, it's highly recommended that you use option # 1 above. 

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