Sources for Finding a Lawyer or Legal Help
San Francisco Public Library and Library staff cannot make legal referrals or provide legal advice. Following is a list of some legal resources:
- Legal Advice and Referral Clinic (LARC)
- Provides free private consultations for problems which may require an attorney. It is sponsored by the Volunteer Legal Services Program of the Bar Association of San Francisco.
- California Courts Self-Help Center, Free & Low-Cost Legal Help
- An excellent place to start--online guide to legal aid offices, lawyer referral services, and local bar associations.
- San Francisco Law Library
- It is the mission of the San Francisco Law Library to provide the judiciary, the public, the bar, and city, county, and state officials free access and use of legal reference materials in order that they may conduct their legal affairs and preserve their legal rights
- California State Bar Attorney Search
This is the site to check to make sure an attorney is entitled to practice law in California at this time (includes current contact information and notations of any disciplinary action). Click on the "Attorney Search" link to the right to search the official state bar membership records.
The California State Bar Web page also includes consumer information pamphlets dealing with legal issues, information on filing complaints against attorneys, and a list of certified lawyer referral services.
- San Francisco Bar Association
- A nonprofit membership organization which offers a free volunteer legal services program, a legal referral service (for a fee), and the publication, Directory of San Francisco Attorneys (available in print only)--a roster of attorneys and legal professionals for the Bay Area that lists lawyers by area of practice and can be found at the Government Information Center (5th Floor), Main Library.
- Martindale-Hubbell Lawyer Locator
- Use this site for finding lawyers who speak other languages (in addition to English) by searching under the "Location/Area of Practice" tab. International in scope this is the largest directory of attorneys and law firms available on the Internet. Includes searches by location (city, county, state, and country), area of practice, law schools attended, languages spoken, and attorney status by peer review.
- California Legal Specialists
Search this site for attorneys who are certified as legal specialists by the California State Bar.
Specialties include: Appellate, Business Bankruptcy, Civil Trial, Consumer Bankruptcy, Creditors' Rights, Criminal, Criminal Trial, Elder Law, Estate Planning, Trust and Probate, Family, Family Law Trial, Immigration and Nationality, Personal and Small Business Bankruptcy, Taxation, and Workers' Compensation.
- American Bar Association Network
- Consumer's Guide to Legal Help on the Internet, including hiring a lawyer, free legal help, and self-help.
- Lawyers' Committee Legal Services Clinic
(by the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area)
Conducts a free weekly legal services clinic that offers assistance and possible representation for the following legal issues: Tort Defense/Uninsured Motorist, School Suspension/Expulsion, Public Benefits, and Debt Collection. Clients must be low-income and must call to set up an intake appointment.
- Nolo Press
- "To help people handle their own everyday legal matters -- or learn enough about them to make working with a lawyer a more satisfying experience -- we publish reliable, plain-English books, software, forms and this website." Includes an online "Law Center." Try typing the words "hire lawyer" in the search box. Many Nolo Press books can be found at the San Francisco Public Library.
Guides to Finding a Lawyer:
- How Can I Find And Hire The Right Lawyer?
- A publication by the State Bar of California.
- Hiring A Lawyer
- Describes options available for hiring a lawyer through the Internet, published by the American Bar Association.
- When And How To Use A Lawyer (PDF)
- Published by the American Bar Association.
- How To Find An Excellent Lawyer
- A different perspective by Nolo Press, premiere publisher of self-help law guides.
And if you need forms
- California Court Forms
- Has printable versions of the official Judicial Council court forms, which are adopted for mandatory use by all California courts.
- "One-stop shopping" Web site for federal forms most-used by the public.