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Lawyer Referrals/Legal Aid


Lawyers in the Library

The Lawyers in the Library Program is a countywide service coordinated by the Alameda County Law Library and staffed by volunteer attorneys. Volunteers provide free consultation and referrals on a wide variety of issues including landlord tenant disputes, probate matters, employment problems, and other general consumer issues. These consultations take place at public libraries on a rotating basis throughout the month. The Lawyers in the Library program is an important step in the library's mission of providing access to justice.


Frequently Asked Questions

How does Lawyers in the Library work?
Volunteer attorneys meet at various local public libraries over the course of each month to provide informal, brief advice and referral to community services to members of the general public. The purpose of the consultation is to determine whether or not you have a legal problem and to provide guidance on how you might be able to solve your legal problem rather than for the attorney to provide in-depth legal analysis or advice. There is no continuing attorney/client relationship formed by your meeting with a volunteer attorney, but your discussion with the attorney will be confidential. You do not need to meet specific income eligibility requirements in order to meet with an attorney through Lawyers in the Library.
Do I have to set up an appointment?
Every library has a different procedure for signing up to see a volunteer attorney. Please call the library hosting the Lawyers in the Library session nearest you to find out how you can meet with a volunteer lawyer through Lawyers in the Library.
What kind of attorney will be there? What kind of issues can they help me with?
Every attorney has different expertise. The attorney you meet with may or may not have legal knowledge about your particular legal matter, but the purpose of the meeting is to provide guidance on how you might be able to solve your legal problem. This might mean you will be referred to another agency or Lawyer Referral Service after you meet with the volunteer attorney. If the attorney you meet with does have expertise in the area of law about which you have a question, he or she might be able to give you more information about your legal options.
What if I need more advice after I meet with the Lawyer in the Library?
If you need more assistance after you meet with an attorney through Lawyers in the Library, you might be referred to the Alameda County Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service to look for an attorney to hire, or the Alameda County Bar Association Volunteer Legal Services Corporation for pro bono programs, or to another local legal services organization.
Can I discuss the legal problems of a family member or friend with the attorney?
Only if the family member or friend is also present. Participants can only discuss their own legal problems with the volunteer attorney, and cannot attend a consultation on behalf of someone else.
Can I attend multiple Lawyers in the Library sessions?
Appointment spaces are limited and we discourage participants from attending multiple LIL sessions at one library location or at multiple libraries.

If a volunteer attorney has seen the same participant repeatedly at different LIL sessions, the volunteer attorney has the discretion to turn the patron away if the attorney feels that all the issues have been addressed. Further, if the participant has already sought advice from another LIL volunteer attorney, the volunteer attorney is under no obligation to continue the consultation.

Questions? Are you an attorney interested in volunteering? Contact Lawyers in the Library, (510) 272-6486.


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Alameda County Law Library
125 Twelfth Street
Oakland, CA 94607-4912


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