For an individual or individuals looking for free legal advice or assistance with a legal matter, a number of university law schools and private law schools in Orange County provide a variety of clinics to address particular legal problems. The clinics range from tax law clinics to family violence clinics. Each university clinic has their own criteria for selecting applicants to assist. Below is a short description of some of the university legal clinics located in Orange County:
1. Chapman University has a cross section of clinics to choose from:
Alona Cortese Elder Law Center provides service to needy seniors in partnership with county legal aid groups and pro-bono attorneys in such areas as wills, elder abuse, advance health care directives, and consumer rights. (714) 628-2577.
Bette & Wylie Aitken Family Violence Clinic assists clients who have suffered domestic violence; victims of human trafficking; help with protection order problems and immigration. (714) 628-2612.
Constitutional Jurisprudence Clinic has participated in a number of cases that have gone before the United States Supreme Court, some of which have become landmark cases. (714) 628-2587 or (714) 628-2666.
Entertainment Contracts Law Clinic students work with independent, small-budget filmmakers to prepare production-based contracts and documents, while providing production-type legal advice for their feature-length film. (714) 628-2675.
Tax Law Clinic is the longest-running clinic at the School of Law and has helped thousands of taxpayers. The students, supervised by attorney-professors, assist the clients in various ways, which can include meeting with the IRS to negotiate a settlement or appear in court if the settlement attempts fail. (714) 628-2535.
2. Trinity Law School has a variety of legal clinics that partner with three organizations.
Christian Legal Aid Office of Orange County offers free legal advice and representation
to those who cannot afford legal services. Trinity law students work under the supervision of an attorney. (800) 922-4748.
Mobile Legal Clinic is a mobile law office that is operated in conjunction with the Orange County Rescue Mission. Trinity students provide pro-bono legal help to those who have no other avenue to legal services. (800) 922-4748.
Orange County Rescue Mission hosts a legal clinic operated by the law school. Trinity students offer legal help under the supervision of an attorney. (800) 922-4748.
Pacific Justice Institute is a legal aid organization that concentrates on the defense of religious freedom and is located on the Trinity campus. (800) 922-4748.
3. UC Irvine School of Law has a number of legal clinics.
Appellate Litigation Clinic offers law student representation in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. (800) 824-0066.
Community & Economic Development Clinic partners law students with community groups, non-profit groups, private citizens, and small businesses on transactional matters. (949) 824-9660.
Immigrants’ Rights Clinic provides immigrants and immigrant organizations representation in an assortment of legal matters. (949) 824-9660.
California Department of Fair Employment and Housing Civil Rights Clinic joins a law student with a DFEH attorney who supervises the student’s work with employment discrimination lawsuits, neutral investigations filed with the DFEH plus works on class and group action lawsuits . (949) 824-8907.
Family Violence Clinic helps clients who have suffered from domestic violence. Students offer advice regarding the law and assistance in court. (949) 824-7916.
4. Whittier Law School offers three legal clinics.
Children’s Advocacy Clinic represents minor children and their caregivers. Students work closely with clients on cases filed in Orange County Family Law and Probate Courts. (714) 444-4141.
Special Education Clinic students assist minor children seeking special education services. (714) 444-4141.
5. College Legal Clinic, Inc. – Cal State Fullerton
The College Legal Clinic has three offices that offer students and low-income community members reasonable costs when seeking quality legal help. Students and the general public can receive referrals to several practicing attorneys by calling or visiting one of the Legal Clinic offices. Twenty-minute consultations with an attorney are free to students and faculty from Cal State Fullerton or other participating schools. Members of the public can purchase a $25.00 College Legal Clinic, Inc. membership, which is good for one year of consultation services. (657) 278-5850 or (714) 870-5757.
Using Our Library
We advise you to use our library before contacting the below resources. We may be able to refer you to appropriate printed and/or online materials. Nolo Press books are especially helpful. (1) If our materials don’t answer all your questions, they will hopefully educate you enough so you can better communicate with an attorney. See our 2009 article for Self-Helpers, www.ocpll.org/transcript/transcript_2009_08.pdf.
Lawyer Referral & Information Service
This is sponsored by the Orange County Bar, www.lrisoc.org, or call (949) 440-6747. A $25 administrative fee is waived for Criminal Law, Family Law, Medical Malpractice, Personal Injury, Social Security and Workers’ Compensation matters.
Users get up to three consecutive referrals for brief consultations to review issues and fees. For a Modest Means program of reduced fees for Bankruptcy, Consumer Law, Elder Law, Family Law, Housing, and Immigration, users may have to provide financial information.
Partial Attorney Help: Consultation & “Unbundling”
You can consult an attorney without retaining him to represent you. Or you could retain an attorney to represent you on only part of a case. This is called Limited Scope Representation, or “unbundling.” Optimum use might be a divorce, where everything is agreed upon except child custody and support – best handled by an attorney.
Pro Bono & Free Legal Help
Legal Aid Society of Orange County at www.legal-aid.com/, or call (800) 834-5001 or (714) 571-5200. Indigent clients may be referred to the Public Law Center, 601 W. Civic Center Drive, which advertises everything from clinics and brief advice, to full representation. Clients’ cases include family law, consumer fraud, student loans, bankruptcy, wills, and tort defense. www.publiclawcenter.org or call (714) 641-1010.
Legal Document Assistants and Unlawful Detainer Assistants
Business & Professions Code Section 6400 (g): “A legal document assistant may not provide any kind of advice, explanation, opinion, or recommendation to a consumer about possible rights, remedies, defenses, options, selection of forms or strategies….” For further information, see Section 6400 et seq. (2) For local Document Assistants, ask for our handout and see “Legal Documents & Forms Preparation” in the Yellow Pages.
Law School Legal Clinics
Legal clinics typically staffed by supervised students are listed in a separate article in this newsletter. It describes various clinics and the types of cases they handle.
Other Free and Low Cost Legal Help
Many of the above resources, and others, are included in the California Courts’ Self-Help website at www.courts.ca.gov – more extensive, so more difficult to use.
The full text of some Nolo Press books are available on the EBSCO database, which can be accessed through our website at www.ocpll.org/databases.html.