Frequently Asked Questions
What is LiveChat?
Having trouble finding legal help or information on LawHelpCA.org? Use LiveChat to chat with a volunteer who can help you find legal help or general information.
What is LawHelpCA.org?
LawHelpCA.org is the official state-wide free legal information resource funded by the State Bar of California. The State Bar of California regulates the legal profession and practice of law in California. LiveChat volunteers have been trained to help find information on LawHelpCA.org, the California State Bar, and court websites.
Is LiveChat a robot or a person?
Live Chat is staffed by volunteers of LawHelpCA.org, who are real people volunteering their time, volunteers are not robots. Please be respectful to LiveChat representative volunteers who are doing their best to assist you. LiveChat representatives must disconnect/end a chat if a user makes offensive comments, uses inappropriate language, or engages in threats.
If you do not wish to speak to a LiveChat representative please feel free to simply close the chatbox.
Can a LiveChat representative look up my court case?
LiveChat Representatives do not work for local superior courts. They cannot look up your case number, help you file documents, or assist if a court has not returned your voicemail/phone calls. They can help guide you to your local California superior court webpage with information about self-help centers, contact information (address, phone number, etc.) and more. They can also help you search for general information, such as guides from your local court which may have more information about how to complete the form, or how to access a court self-help center.
If you have a time sensitive issue, such as a deadline, or limited number of days to file a document with the court please don't wait. Many courts have self-help centers that may be able to provide same day, in-person, drop-in assistance. If you cannot reach a person on the phone to assist you consider going to the local court for emergency assistance, and guidance.
Can I call, text or e-mail LiveChat representatives?
LiveChat representatives are unable to speak to you on the phone, cannot text message and cannot send emails. Please contact your local court, legal aid organization, or official lawyer referral service directly to speak with their staff for more help. The LiveChat representative can help you look up the number to call to speak directly with staff members who do work for legal services programs.
Are LiveChat representatives lawyers?
LiveChat is staffed by volunteers who are not lawyers. They cannot give legal advice. They cannot tell you what you should or should not do and cannot explain how to complete forms, or serve documents. They cannot tell you if something that happened is in violation of your rights, or what your rights are. You must speak to an attorney qualified to answer those questions.
Representatives are happy to help you search for a legal aid organization, official attorney referral service, or self-help information to help you in your search for legal help and information. Some organizations have in-person, drop-in clinics, and same day services while others do not. Some organizations have a legal advice line phone number or hotline while others do not.
Please read the LawHelpCA.org disclaimer and privacy notice here: https://lawhelpca.org/privacy
Please read about intake, and hotline information on the website of each organization to determine if you can receive same day, in-person, drop-in assistance or if you can obtain legal advice by calling their phone number or hotline. Some organizations provide assistance to specific populations such as seniors, veterans, LGBT+, individuals with disabilities, etc. Please read about the organization to learn more.
Please read the Intake, Who We Are and Who We Serve information for each of the organizations in your area located on the LawHelpCA page for each organization.
If I get disconnected from LiveChat do I get the same LiveChat representative?
Sometimes, if a chat is disconnected due to a technical issue you may be connected with a different LiveChat representative. While you are disconnected that representative may start helping someone else and may not be available when you return. Your chat is routed to the next available LiveChat representative. You must accept the disclaimer and provide the basic information to the new representative.
If you get the same representative they cannot view the chat history and you will still have to accept the disclaimer and provide basic information to continue. We apologize for any inconvenience or frustration this causes and continue to look for ways to improve the technology whenever we are able to do so.
What about criminal law?
LawHelpCA.org, does not have general information about criminal law. LawHelpCA.org does have information about problems that criminal charges or convictions can cause, such as employment problems, housing issues, or restraining order concerns.
A LiveChat representative can help you search for information about criminal record clearing/expungement for free or on a sliding scale for those that qualify for services. A LiveChat representative can also help you search for an official attorney referral service in your area that may be able to connect you to a private attorney for a fee.
If you would like help connecting to free criminal representation through your local public defenders office find the public defender in your county here: http://www.cpda.org/County/CountyPDWebSites.html
For matters relating to conditions of confinement, you can contact the Prison Law Office at 510-280-2621.
For matters relating to civil liberties and due process, you can also contact the Department of Justice or the California Attorney General.
When can I chat with someone on LiveChat?
LawHelpCA.org does our best to staff LiveChat Monday - Friday between 9AM - 5PM Pacific Standard Time (California time). Because LawHelpCA.org is staffed by volunteers we cannot guarantee that someone will be available. There are no representatives available on Saturdays, Sundays, and federal holidays.
What languages can LiveChat representatives chat in?
Because LawHelpCA.org relies upon volunteers not all volunteers are able to chat in languages other than English. Presently, there are some volunteers who can chat in Spanish. However, most volunteers are monolingual English speakers (only speak English) at this time.
You can translate the LawHelpCA.org website into multiple languages including English, Spanish, Vietnames, Korean, Mandarin Chinese, Russian, Fillipino (Tagalog) by selecting the language you would like in the top left hand corner of the website.
LiveChat volunteers cannot provide emergency safety assistance.
Please contact 9-1-1 for immediate emergency assistance if you are experiencing an immediate threat of violence to your safety.
If you are experiencing emotional, physical, or financial abuse LiveChat volunteers can help you search for legal aid organizations in your area that may be able to help.