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Free Legal Aid in San Francisco

Last updated: October 8, 2013

San Franciscans have many options when looking for free or low-cost legal assistance. If you’re local, you know how difficult driving around ‘The City’ can be. Many of the services are located along public transit lines and near San Francisco’s many courthouses.

Residents are a short MUNI or BART ride away from the government offices and public interest organizations that give ordinary citizens access to justice. If you are (1) looking for representation, (2) need help representing yourself, or (3) aren’t sure but you have a legal emergency, here is a guide to the many services SF has to offer. Finally, scroll down to see a thorough list of legal services aimed designed for specific groups of individuals.

Starting Out

San Francisco Law Library

The SF law library is a great place to start when looking for free and low-cost legal help. The law library maintains a web page listing services by topic and services for specific groups of people.

Help With Representation

  • Bay Area Legal Aid (“BayLegal”)

    1035 Market Street, 6th Floor
    San Francisco,
    CA 94103

    Tel: (415) 982-1300

    Legal Assistance Line:  (415) 354-6360

    Toll Free Number:  (800) 551-5554

    BayLegal tends to focus on domestic violence, family law, housing, health care, and public benefits issues. The organization will refer you if it is unable to help you with your issue. The office is conveniently located near the Civic Center Station.  Parking can be hard-to-find and risky. Public Transit is usually the best way to arrive.

  • Bar Association of San Francisco’s Lawyer Referral and Information Service

    San Francisco,

    Call (415) 989-1616 or request a referral online.

    The L.R.I.S. offers low-cost help from local attorneys experienced in a wide range of areas. Clients typically only pay $35 for a referral and a 30 minute consultation. If you have been injured, the referral and consultation are usually free.

    Federal Pro Bono Project

    A federal court may refer you to a free, Pro Bono attorney for help with civil cases, including: employment discrimination, police misconduct, and foreclosure. An attorney may help you with the full scope of your case or individual aspects. If you are have already been assigned to a Judge or a Magistrate, ask about the Federal Pro Bono Project.

Information and Legal Advice

  • ACCESS Center, SF Superior Court

    400 McAllister St., Room 509
    San Francisco,
    CA 94102

    Getting There: Take public transit to Civic Center Station. If driving, there are several parking garages nearby.

    The ACCESS Center helps individuals in Family Law and Civil Law matters. It is completely free, but you may have to pay for photocopies and filing fees.  Visitors with low-income may be able to file for free. ACCESS Center cannot provide you with a lawyer, and the staff cannot help you if you already have one. The center also provides this flyer for community legal referrals

  • Bar Association of San Francisco’s Legal Advice and Referral Clinic

    U.C. Hastings College of the Law, 198 McAllister St., 1st Floor (At Hyde), Louis B. Mayer Lounge
    San Francisco,
    CA 94102

    Getting There: U.C. Hastings is located one block from the Civic Center Station. The school operates a parking garage at Larkin and Golden Gate.  Enter on the Larkin side. Approach from the south because Larkin is a one-way street.

    Providence Baptist Church of San Francisco
    1601 McKinnon Avenue (at Mendell)
    San Francisco, CA 94124

    Getting There: Providence B.C. is located near the 23, 24, and 44 Bus Lines.  Street parking is available. 

  • B.A.S.F.'s Justice & Diversity Center

    450 Golden Gate Avenue, 15th Floor, Room 2796
    San Francisco,
    CA 94102

    Getting There:  The office is near the Civic Center Station. Several parking structures nearby.

    The J.D.C. offers information and advice to individuals representing themselves in federal court.  The staff attorney can help you prepare simple court filings and refer you to other services.  The staff attorney is available by appointment only.  Sign up in person or call (415) 782-8982. 

Urgent Legal Help

  • Eviction Defense Collaborative

    995 Market Street, Suite 1200
    San Francisco,
    CA 94103

    Tel: (415) 947-0797
  • Tenants Together

    Tenants Together offers help to people who rent in buildings in foreclosure.
    San Francisco,

    Tel: (415) 495-8100
  • Cooperative Restraining Order Clinic

    C.R.O.C. helps domestic violence victims apply for restraining orders. The staff operates by appointments only.
    San Francisco,

    Tel: (415) 255-0165
  • Legal Assistance to the Elderly

    995 Market Street (at Sixth), Suite 1400
    San Francisco,
    CA 94103

    Tel: (415) 538-3333

    L.A.E. offers help with housing, public benefits, elder abuse, and simple wills to clients who are over age 60 and have a disability.

  • Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights

    131 Steuart Street
    San Francisco,
    CA 94105

    Tel: (415) 543-9444

    The Lawyers’ Committee offers help in many kinds of civil rights cases, including immigration and asylum cases.

Legal Assistance for Specific Groups

  • AIDS Legal Referral Panel

    1663 Mission Street, Suite 500
    San Francisco,
    CA 94103

    (415) 701-1100
    (415) 701-1200

    ALRP staff and attorneys usually handle most civil legal issues including:  bankruptcy, employment discrimination, estate planning, family law, housing, and insurance claims.  In addition to referring clients to volunteer attorneys, ALRP has programs to educate clients on health and legal issues. 

  • Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach

    1121 Mission Street
    San Francisco,
    CA 94103

    API Legal Outreach works with clients in many Asian languages and dialects. The organization largely focuses on domestic violence, immigration, senior law, human trafficking, and public benefits.

  • La Raza Centro Legal, Inc.

    474 Valencia St. #295
    San Francisco,
    CA 94103

    Tel: (415) 575-3500

    La Raza Centro Legal represents English- and Spanish speaking clients in immigration, workers’ rights, and senior law issues. 

  • Homeless Advocacy Project

    1360 Mission Street (between Ninth and Tenth), Suite 201
    San Francisco,
    CA 94102

    Tel: (800) 405-4427

    HAP provides legal and social services to people and families who are homeless or may soon become homeless. Common issues include: disability benefits, eviction defense, and immigration documentation.

  • Legal Services for Children

    1254 Market St., 3rd Floor
    San Francisco,
    CA 94102

    Tel: (415) 863-3762

    L.S.C. provides fre legal services to people under age 18. Typical issues include: guardianship, school discipline, foster care, emancipation, and immigration.

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