Civic Center, Hall of Justice, Room C-27
8:00am - noon, 1:00pm - 4:00pm
Free Legal Self Help Services Available to the Public, in English and Spanish
Office hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. To allow yourself
enough time to receive assistance from the staff, and to complete your paperwork, please arrive at their office
no later than 11:15 a.m. and 3:15 p.m.
Legal Self Help Services (LSHS) provides free assistance to those
who do not have attorneys. Due to the high volume of court users, services are provided in person only on a first-come, first-served basis.
LSHS does not provide services by phone or by appointment. Services
include: intake, information and referral to legal services partners, individual assistance
with legal document preparation; bilingual assistance and legal reference materials for non-English speakers;
assistance in conducting self-guided legal research; and coordination of volunteers and interns who provide direct
LSHS offers one-on-one assistance to self-represented litigants.
LSHS utilizes a variety of web-based tools, available in multiple languages,
to help litigants prepare their legal documents. There are numerous self-help resources in easy-to-understand
legal publications and on the internet for Californians. LSHS maintains a library of written resources, such
as Nolo Press books, that can explain complex processes in layperson’s language.
Staff are also available to provide information on how to file various kinds of legal documents, serve opposing
parties, and explain court procedures and legal terminology, as well as giving the public tips on how to prepare
for and what to bring to court appearances.
Primary Areas of Legal Assistance are:
- Child Custody & Visitation
- Child Support
- Small Claims
- Domestic Violence
- Harassment Restraining Orders
- Name Changes
Legal Self Help Resources Available on the Internet
Over the past several years, numerous legal self-help programs have become available over the Internet. Several
California law web-based tools are available at LSHS or may be accessed from any location. Here are links to some
of the tools used in the LSHS:
California Courts Self Help Center - This is the Judicial Council of California’s self help services website.
Information is available in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Korean and Chinese. This tool provides assistance with
family law, small claims, domestic violence, elder issues, traffic matters, evictions, bankruptcy, conservatorships,
guardianships and many more types of cases. Click here
I-Can! Legal California - This tool, developed by Legal Aid Society of Orange County offers legal document preparation
assistance in English, Spanish and Vietnamese in such areas as divorce, small claims, civil harassment, domestic
violence, evictions, name changes, paternity, fee waivers, child custody, child support and guardianships. Click here
Overview and History of Legal Self Help Services
Many years ago, as a result of the increasing number of self-represented litigants using the legal system, the leaders of the
California Court, under the direction of the Chief Justice, began to implement programs to establish Legal Self-Help Centers
in every court throughout the State of California.
In Marin County, legal assistance for self-represented litigants is provided by Legal Self Help Services (LSHS), a division of the Marin
Superior Court. This program was established in 2003 and was conceived by the Court working together with numerous legal
service providers and other community agencies. Over the course of those years, tens of thousands of Marin residents have received assistance
with their legal matters.
LSHS provides a variety of services including assistance with form preparation, provision of legal information, and referrals to governmental
and community-based legal and social organizations. At LSHS, we believe that educating litigants about the court process and basic legal principles
can help minimize their stress, improve their ability to settle out-of-court, and ultimately obtain a timely and equitable resolution of their legal matters.