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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I get free legal advice from County Counsel?

A: No. The County Counsel provides legal advice to the Board of Supervisors, elected officials, and County of Alameda employees for matters related to the operation and management of the County. The County Counsel and attorneys of the office cannot provide legal advice to members of the public.

If you need a lawyer and do not have one you can call the Lawyer Referral Service operated by the Alameda County Bar Association at (510) 893-8683. If you cannot afford a lawyer you may call the Legal Aid Society of Alameda County at (510) 451-9261 or Legal Assistance for Seniors at (510) 832-3040.

Q: I have suffered personal injury or property damage which I believe was caused by the County or one of its employees. How do I go about collecting for my damages?

A:  Claims for money are made by submitting a claim form to the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors, located at the County Administration Building, Suite 536, Oakland, California 94612, telephone (510) 272-6351. Blank forms are available from that office. The law regarding claims against public entities is complex and has relatively short deadlines. You should seek the services of an attorney for your own protection and you should present your claim without delay.

Once a claim has been presented it is administered by Risk Management Services, P.O. Box 724, Sebastopol, California 95473-0724. Its telephone number is (707) 792-4980.

Q: The County is suing me for money it says I owe. Who can I talk to about this?

A: Lawsuits are filed by the County Counsel but you should first call Central Collections at (510) 208-9900. The personnel there have the appropriate records and will be able to help you. There are Spanish interpreters available if necessary.

Q: I want to look at some County records. Can I get them from County Counsel?

A: The County Counsel is not the official custodian of any records of the County of Alameda. You should inquire directly at the office or location where you believe the records are maintained.

Q: Can I talk to Donna Ziegler? I think she's the person who is working on my case.

A: Ms. Ziegler is the County Counsel and her name appears on all the documents filed by anyone in the office. The person most familiar with your case is usually the one who actually signed the document. That person's name appears beneath Ms. Ziegler's name at the top of the document and again beneath the signature itself. If you believe you must speak to someone concerning your matter, it is that person to whom you should speak.