What are My Options to Get Legal Help in California?

Law Soup gives you basic legal information that may answer your questions. But if you have a case or situation that you need help with, you may need a lawyer, or possibly just a document preparation service. We’ve compiled some great resources for you on this page.

I just have a quick legal question. What resources are available?

1. Law SoupFirst, check Law Soup California’s Legal Guides to see if there’s an answer.

2. LegalShield: If it’s not on Law Soup, your question may be complicated and you may need to spend a little money to get help. We’re partnering with LegalShield, which has lawyers ready to answer your questions for just $24.95 per month! (This is only about $299 a year, which is less than the cost of many lawyers for just a single hour) 1NOTE: Law Soup Media may receive compensation from this vendor if you use any of their services. We have used every product we recommend, and we stand by them. Thank you for your support!

See our full review and explanation of LegalShield.

3. Free Legal Clinics

  • Check with local law schools

4. Other great informational sites for California

5. Take a class

Your local law library has many classes available to the public on a variety of topics, including business law, criminal law, divorce, and more. Classes are either free or very cheap.

I need more help than that. What should I do?

Consumer Complaints

If you have a complaint or dispute as a consumer, FairShake can help you resolve it and get compensation! No cost for you unless you win money.

Documents and Other Basic Legal Services

For affordable legal documents and services, including consultations with lawyers, we personally recommend LegalShield.2NOTE: Law Soup Media may receive compensation from this vendor if you use any of their services. We have used every product we recommend, and we stand by them. Thank you for your support!
LegalShield has subscription legal plans to cover your business’s legal needs.

Find a Good Lawyer

For other needs, try a certified lawyer referral service or call your local bar association and ask for a lawyer referral service. Be sure to check any lawyer’s records at the California Bar Association.

How much does it cost to get legal help?

See our Guide to Legal Costs.

I’m not sure if I can afford a lawyer. What are my options?

If your annual income is less than 125% of the federal poverty level (about $15K for households of just one person, higher for larger families), you may qualify for “pro bono” (aka free or very low cost) legal services. If you are in LA County, try the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles (LAFLA) website to find out if you qualify. For additional resources in LA County, or outside LA County, try LawHelpCA.org.

If you don’t qualify for pro bono, there is also “low bono,” which is legal help at reduced fees based on a sliding scale of income.

Business Issues

For small businesses, the SBA (Small Business Administration) offers free consultations with lawyers for those who qualify.

Criminal Issues

For more serious crimes, if you cannot afford a criminal defense lawyer, you may be assigned a public defender at no cost.

Contingency Fees

If you are thinking about suing, for certain types of cases, such as employment or personal injury, you may be able to get a lawyer to handle your case for NO out of pocket cost. These lawyers often simply take a percentage of any money you win in court (this is called working on “contingency”).

Local government help

In most cities, you can access many services just by calling 3-1-1.

Someone is threatening to do illegal activity or has done illegal activity. What can I do?

If it’s an immediate threat, call 911 right away. Otherwise, report it with the California Department of Justice. See our Guide to Victims Rights for more.

Further Resources

See more specific resources for Los Angeles or San Francisco

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