Attorneys / Lawyers
Finding a Lawyer
The Attorney General’s Office cannot represent or provide legal advice to private individuals.
If you need legal advice or someone to handle your case, contact a private attorney. To find a lawyer, you can check with your county bar association's attorney referral service. A list of referral services is available at http://www.calbar.ca.gov/Public/Need-Legal-Help/Lawyer-Referral-Service.
The State Bar of California licenses and regulates attorneys. Its website provides information on what you need to know when hiring an attorney, what rights you have, and whether or not a lawyer has been disciplined for professional misconduct. The State Bar also offers consumer legal guides on dealing with lawyers, the legal rights of children and seniors, wills and estate planning, and veteran resources. The State Bar also keeps a list of attorneys who are certified specialists in particular areas of law. You may search for a State Bar-certified specialist by visiting https://members.calbar.ca.gov/search/ls_search.aspx.
If you can’t afford a private lawyer, you may be eligible for free or low-cost legal services. Legal aid groups across California help people who are low-income. Their clients include people with disabilities, seniors, and those facing homelessness. To find a legal aid organization near you go to www.lawhelpcalifornia.org.
Members of the Armed Forces and their families can also get help from their local JAG legal assistance office. You can locate your nearest JAG legal assistance office by going to http://legalassistance.law.af.mil/content/locator.php.
Complaints about Attorneys
The State Bar of California licenses and regulate attorneys. Its website provides information on how to file a complaint about attorney misconduct. The State Bar also administers a Client Security Fund that can reimburse clients who have lost money or property due to theft or dishonesty by a California lawyer.
The State Bar also investigates people who falsely claim to be attorneys, or who practice law without a license. If you feel that you have been the target of someone who is unlicensed, you may file an unauthorized practice of law complaint with the State Bar. If an attorney practices law while their license is suspended or after they are disbarred, it is also considered the unauthorized practice of law.
In addition to filing a complaint with the State Bar, you may also file a complaint about an attorney or a person practicing law without a license with your local district attorney’s office, or with the Attorney General’s office by visiting https://oag.ca.gov/contact/consumer-complaint-against-business-or-company.