United States District Court - Northern District Court of California

Phyllis J. Hamilton, Chief Judge

Susan Y. Soong, Clerk of Court

The JDC Legal Help Center at the San Francisco & Oakland Courthouses

The Legal Help Center is a free service offered by the Justice & Diversity Center of the Bar Association of San Francisco (“JDC”) to provide information and limited-scope legal assistance to pro se litigants in civil cases. The Legal Help Center is a project of the Bar Association of San Francisco and is not part of the United States District Court. The Legal Help Center is staffed by attorneys employed by JDC.

Services are provided in San Francisco and Oakland. Help is provided by appointment only.

Locations & Hours

San Francisco
United States Courthouse
450 Golden Gate Avenue
15th Floor, Room 2796
San Francisco, CA 94102
Appointment line: 415-782-8982
United States Courthouse
1301 Clay Street
4th Floor, Room 470S
Oakland, CA 94612
Appointment line: 415-782-8982


The Legal Help Center’s attorney will provide information about legal rights and responsibilities, court procedures, limited-scope legal advice, help preparing simple pleadings, and referrals to legal, social, and government services. If a litigant seeks help from the Legal Help Center, he/she will still represent him/herself. The attorney at the Legal Help Center can provide information, advice, and basic legal help but cannot represent litigants as their lawyer.

Who May Use the Legal Help Center

Anyone who is representing him/herself as a plaintiff or a defendant in a civil case in the San Francisco or Oakland divisions of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, or who is considering filing a complaint in one of those divisions. This service is not available to litigants who have legal representation or are incarcerated.

How to Make an Appointment

Help is provided by appointment only. There are two ways to schedule an appointment and only one appointment may be scheduled at a time:

  1. Sign up in the appointment book located on the table outside the door of the Legal Help Center in San Francisco or Oakland
  2. Call  415-782-8982 or email federalprobonoproject@sfbar.org. (This email is only used for scheduling appointments; no legal advice will be given by email.)

Attorneys Interested in Pro Bono Opportunities

The Federal Pro Bono Project arranges pro bono counsel for litigants with cases in the Northern District. Learn more.