Updated: Mar 21
This Guide Will Help You Find Legal Assistance For Free Or Low Cost
Finding a pro bono lawyer near Los Angeles isn't easy. If you have a legal case but cannot find free legal representation, there are some other options to consider. This guide will help you tackle your case for free or at low cost in Los Angeles, California.
Keep in mind that anything FREE comes at a price, in this case finding pro bono lawyers in Los Angeles is always in very high demand so being flexible to explore other options is very important if you want to solve your legal case.
If you haven't read our previous article "Why finding a pro bono attorney in California is difficult", it would be a good idea to start from there so you begin your search for free legal representation with an open mind. In this article we are going to dive deeper into the alternatives mentioned before.
When you hire a California attorney, it's usually to avoid loosing a lot of money during a divorce, a business dispute or a lawsuit from neighbor who has a grudge against you. Paying for a lawyer for some people is out of the question. Legal fees are not part of anyone's budget so finding FREE legal help in California takes a bit of creativity and resourcefulness.
If you are facing a criminal charge in California such a misdemeanor or a felony, you can find legal representation by visiting the public defender's office where they have pro bono criminal defense attorneys.
For personal injury cases or employment related cases such as discrimination in the workplace, harassment in the workplace, wrongful termination cases or unpaid wages, you can find lawyers to represent you by visiting this link.
For any other type of case, here are your options to find free or low cost legal assistance in Los Angeles.
There's no one size fit-all option when it comes to finding free legal assistance or pro bono lawyers in Los Angeles. Each case has it's own set of challenges and circumstances so doing your own research and being flexible is the key.
Legal Aid Societies in Los Angeles County
Legal aid organizations are nonprofit organizations found in most counties in California, they offer free legal assistance to low income individuals. You can find a list of numbers here. While this is a viable option, the two major problems with seeking legal assistance through legal aid is not meeting the income requirements or limited legal resources offered by the organization.
Visit a California Law School
You could also consider consulting with a law student. Students in law school clinics must be certified to practice law under the supervision of a licensed practicing attorney. You should first look into the Managing attorney (You’ll see why, keep reading)
Again, depending on your legal issue, this may or may not be a good option for you. Usually, very complex and difficult legal cases require a lot of work, time and resources so keep that in mind when doing your search.
Contact the California State Bar
The California State Bar offers a lot of resources and reference materials. The State Bar of California is the regulatory agency for California lawyers in charge of admissions and discipline. The California State Bar cannot provide you legal advice or recommend you to a California attorney but they do have a list of certified lawyer referral services and depending on your case, they also offer reference material you can explore.
Small Claims Court
You can resolve most disputes in California under $10,000 through your local small claims court without having to hire a California attorney. Most Small claims courts offer assistance and guidance on how to fill out the paperwork required to present your case in front of the judge.
Request Payment Arrangement
You may be surprised to find out that legal feels aren't as high as you thought, talk to local California lawyers as ask for their opinion and if they offer a payment plan. For simple cases, some California lawyers will even agree on a fix price, this is called "bundle pricing". You can also offer to help in order to reduce the overall cost.
You can submit your case details here (with a payment plan)
Even If You Have The Money To Pay For A Lawyer
Lawyers are people and people make mistakes, choosing the right California lawyer is paramount to the outcome of your case. Even if you had all the money in the world, you MUST select the right California lawyer to look after and protect your interests. Every day, hundreds of lawyers in the U.S. are suspended for unethical practices, crimes and even for stealing from their clients. Watch this shocking report.
Represent Yourself in Court
No legal expert will advice you to take this route, it should be the very last option to consider. Representing yourself in court is like performing your own surgery while being awake and without anesthesia.
However, it is your right and it's an option available to you. If you decide to take this route, spend a lot of time preparing yourself before going to court. Unlike 20-30 years ago, there are tons of information available to everyone with the internet. Make sure you are detailed oriented and to do your research.
If you have a simple family law case, you may be able to represent yourself in court