In San Diego County:
1. San Diego County Bar Association’s Modest Means Program. You can get legal representation on a sliding-scale/discount.
2. Lawyer Volunteer Program’s Family Law Clinic – free consultations lasting 1+ hour for low-income individuals in custody disputes.
3. Family Law Facilitators, attorneys at the Courthouse who speak to people who walk-in (ideally make an appointment) for very brief 10 minute windows, for free, regardless of income level.
4. Free Workshops for the General Public through National Conflict Resolution Center on the third Saturday of the month for individuals
contemplating, or currently in, divorce proceedings.
5. Legal Aid – takes cases if there has been Domestic Violence.
Affiliated Agency: Legal Aid Society of San Diego, Inc
Service Name: Legal Services, Legal Aid Society of San Diego, Inc, Central Office
Description of Service: Provides FREE help including counseling, advice, and representation in court to low-income people in such areas as eligibility, reduction, or termination of government health benefits, family law, consumer law, landlord-tenant issues, Section 8 and public housing (including denials), immigration. Provides benefits advocacy for general relief, CalWORKs, CalFresh, and Social Security (SSI). For family law divorce issues, accepts contested divorces only, usually with children involved. Services are provided by staff attorneys and advocates.
Hours of Operation: 9:00 am-5:00 pm Monday-Friday
Open Days: 5
Address 1: 110 South Euclid Avenue
City: San Diego
Main Phone: (877) 534-2524
Web Address: www.lassd.org
In Los Angeles County:
In 1996, Jeffrey Hughes established The Legal Grind neighborhood coffeehouse in Santa Monica, California, offering easy access to “coffee and counsel” for a $20 fee. The innovative business model offers clients from all income levels reasonably priced unbundled legal services in family law, entertainment law, criminal law, tenant/landlord, and workman’s compensation, while it generates referrals for participating lawyers. Legal Grind provides people with a relaxed atmosphere as they discuss their legal issues with lawyers. The information gives the café customers the opportunity to proceed on an informed basis. Some retain the lawyers they have met and others go forward on a pro se basis, perhaps with additional information from books in the Legal Grind bookstore. Mr. Hughes has also established the Legal Grind Foundation dedicated to helping educate young people about legal rights and responsibilities.
Legal Grind 2640 Lincoln Boulevard Santa Monica, CA 90405 310/452-8160
Harriett Buhai Center for Family Law
A co-sponsored project of the LA County Bar Association, Black Women Lawyers and Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles. The decade-old Center provides family law assistance and education to low-income persons throughout Los Angeles County. The center developed and refined a unique delivery model using volunteer lawyers and paralegals. With close supervision by a small legal staff, volunteers are able to provide in-depth family law assistance in a variety of ways: instructing groups of clients with similar legal problems, intensive individual sessions so the client can leave with a strategy for representing themselves, or referral to a pro bono attorney. The assistance includes teaching persons with very little formal education and training to successfully represent themselves in court. The Center offers family law training for volunteers, which is approved for Continuing Legal Education credits. The Center has also published several items: a Volunteer Manual and training video, “Assisting the Limited-Income Client in Family Law Matters”, a supplement to the manual,”California Child Support Supplement”; and, a video, “Going to Court on Your Own for a Divorce.”
Harriett Buhai Center for Family Law 3250 Wilshire Blvd., Ste. 710 Los Angeles, CA 90010 213/388-7515
Levitt & Quinn was founded after closure of the local legal aid office’s family law unit with the theory that if clients paid what they could, they would be invested in their cases and fees would underwrite the cost of representation provided by volunteers. The fundamental idea that legal representation should be available to low and moderate-income families continues. Levitt & Quinn uses an evolving sliding-fee scale to provide family law legal services to families who are unable to obtain representation from other legal services providers or afford private attorney representation. The model continues to shift and the sliding scale modified to accommodate changes and fill gaps left by traditional legal aid organizations. Changes are based on feedback from the community and a demographic study conducted by Levitt & Quinn that revealed more applicants were below the federal poverty level than previously known.
Levitt & Quinn 1557 Beverly Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90026
(213) 482-1800 extension 300