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Find the information and resources you need to solve your legal issue without an attorney. This page provides legal information and education to help parties complete their paperwork and represent themselves in their cases.

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Where do I find FREE legal help or PRO BONO attorneys?

Attorneys from our network may take your case without paying upfront fees if your case involves an accident and you suffered bodily injuries or if you have an employment law related case such as wrongful termination, harassment or discrimination in the workplace. For all other types of cases, attorneys will charge reasonable legal fees. Related Articles:

To locate the nearest SELF-HELP center and family law facilitator's office near you, click here. You may be able to get free legal advice from the following agencies: 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

Why won't you accept my case on contingency (no win/no fee) ?

Many people believe that all cases can be accepted on a contigency, this is not true at all. Only personal injury cases (bodily injuries as result of accidents) and certain employment law cases may be accepted with this payment arrangement. Medical malpractice cases have very strict guidelines, we'll cover that in another section. Some law firms will accept a collections case in exchange for a percentage of the total amount due. Generally, these firms will have specific requirements before accepting your case on contingency. At, we do not handle collection cases. All other cases require legal fees payable up front to the attorney. Here's a good resource that explains in more detail why most cases cannot be accepted on contingency and why.

I have a civil rights case!

Unfortunatelly, we do not handle these type of claims. Here are some agencies that may be able to assist you: 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

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.

I have a medical / dental malpractice case!

Most dental malpractice cases can be resolved through Small Claims Court where you don't need a lawyer and you can sue up to $10,000. Medical Malpractice: If you are suing for medical malpractice, the law says you need to prove that:

  1. 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
  2. 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 submit your claim here for review. For any other disputes or complaints about a medical professional, you may lodge a complaint about your issue through the Medical Board of California.

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.

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

No one wants to take my case, why?

People often think that a lawyer will take any kind of case just to make a buck. That is not the case at all. Every lawyer has his or her own standards and reasons for why they may take one case and not another. Here are the top 7 reasons why a California lawyer won’t take your case: 1. THERE IS NO MONEY TO BE MADE IN YOUR CASE
There is a real cost associated with trying a case. For a lawyer to accept a case, the case needs to have the potential to recover more money than the lawyer will have to invest to try the case. Legal fees must be paid up front as a retainer or, in some instances a case may be accepted on contingency (no win/no fee). Often times, people have the wrong assumption that all cases can be accepted on contingency. We will cover contingency fees separately in the FAQ's Depending upon the type of case, a lawyer may easily have to invest $50,000-$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 costs. Additionally, the cost of developing the testimony to prove up your case has to be factored into the analysis of the attorney. 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, you can get a second opinion from another lawyer who has taken cases similar to yours. 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
If your case has been repeatedly “released” or “dropped” from another law firm, subsequent attorneys will think twice about taking your case from either a liability perspective or an unreasonable expectation perspective. Often times, many cases are turned down because the potential client appears to be shopping around for a lawyer based upon the feedback they receive on the potential value of the case. Even though it is crucial and recommended to be selective in choosing a lawyer, it’s important that you focus on whether or not the lawyer in question has 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 which 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 a 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 have an interest to protect their own reputations since a strong reputation will draw in more clients, just as a weak reputation will do exactly the opposite. Many times we get clients demanding to speak to an "aggressive and strong lawyer" because several other firms have rejected their case. Most likely, you have a very weak case combined with the fact that you have unreasonable expectations. In personal injury cases for example, how badly you’re injured is an important factor in a case. If your injuries are minor, 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 to not represent clients who may have adverse interests. Conversely, if a lawyer is related (professionally or by blood) to a party in your case, 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. Oftentimes, you’ll see that personal injury lawyers specialize in a very specific 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 strong rapport with the lawyer you’re speaking to but he or she doesn’t specialize in your specific type of case, ask for a referral. Chances are high that they’ll be able to refer you to a lawyer who does have experience in your type of case. 7. 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, his or her win record isn’t that strong. Beggars can’t be choosers – and that goes both ways.

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:

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 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.

los angeles attorney referral service

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


This is a public service that helps members of the public to find a competent and pre-screened lawyer and receive general knowledge about common legal issues.


Accessing information via our site is FREE and there is no charge to get a referral to an attorney or for legal consultations. We conduct due diligence on your behalf to ensure California attorneys are reliable, experienced and ethical.

Our History 

Established in 2005, Lawyer Referral Service is the fastest growing lawyer referral service in California.


Members of the public have turned to the as a reliable resource for more than 15 years to locate California lawyers and for general knowledge on legal issues. 

Why Due Diligence Matters


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. We check credentials, working experience, education, ethical standards, license status, and performance.


How the LRS Works 

Via the portal, the public will find a competent California attorney. Lawyer referrals are available in English and Spanish.


Clients are referred to an attorney who is competent to handle the case after having some fundamental knowledge about a case. A free 30 minute consultation with the attorney will be offered to each referred client. 

Hundreds of articles on common legal issues, in English and Spanish, can also be obtained by the public via our blog. These pieces of information address a wide variety of legal issues in Southern California.

A LRS representative will contact the client from time to time after receiving a referral, either by phone or mail for quality management purposes, or to obtain basic information about the status of your case. 

About our network of lawyers

Lawyers in our network charge fair legal fees. Free, pro bono legal services are not offered by LRS lawyers.


Each LRS attorney has shown that he or she is eligible in a specific field of law practice and has met several requirements of certification.


In just about every field of law practice, and in many different language and location requirements, the LRS can refer clients to an honest and reputable California attorney.

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. Our agents are not attorneys and cannot provide legal advise. Due to high call volumes, it's highly recommend that you use option # 1 above. 

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