Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County

Serving San Mateo County since 1958, the Legal Aid Society provides high quality civil legal services to children, families and seniors who have no where else to turn for legal services. Legal Aid is a source of legal advice, education and representation. Last year Legal Aid served over 2300 clients and helped another 4000 find the right resource. There are many ways to volunteer and become more involved in the Legal Aid community. For more information about pro bono opportunities, please contact
Janet B. Seldon, Pro Bono Coordinator or 650 645-1712
Click below to learn more about our volunteer opportunities:

Caregivers Legal Assistance Network
Individuals who are caring for elderly or minor relatives often face legal issues relating to the caregiving that they find bewildering and overwhelming. The caregivers often have questions about accessing health care, taking medical leave from work to care for the family member, planning for incapacity, obtaining legal guardianship and others. These relative caregivers turn to Legal Aid for the answers, and in January 2002 Legal Aid created the Caregivers Network to provide assistance both in-house and through pro bono assistance from a network of local attorneys.

FIRSTSTOP is a innovative program that provides business and legal assistance to low income people who want to establish microenterprise businesses. FIRSTSTOP clients obtain business advice and mentorship through volunteers with business expertise. Pro bono attorneys are needed to work on individual, selected cases dealing with such topics as incorporation, licensing, and contracts. FIRSTSTOP also has an Advisory Committee which helps shape and direct the work of the project, and pro bono attorneys with expertise in the areas above are needed to serve on the committee.

Senior Advocates
Expanding the availability of legal services to Seniors in San Mateo County in a wide variety of civil legal matters is part of Legal Aid's mission. Seniors come to the offices of Legal Aid one afternoon per week to meet with the pro bono attorney of the day. The pro bono attorney conducts a screening interview and does a basic factual investigation. At the end of the afternoon, the attorney discusses each intake with a Legal Aid staff attorney. Pro bono attorneys may volunteer to provide additional assistance on any case that comes in during the intake, but there is no requirement that they do so.

Children & Families
An especially critical part our mission, Legal Aid provides services to families, children and youth in a variety of areas:

  • Basic Needs: Housing and food. Regularly scheduled volunteer hours are available to see walk-in families who are struggling with trying to save their homes and/or feed their children. The Homesavers Project provides families with the legal advice and representation needed to remain in their homes.
  • Family Law: Domestic violence. Legal Aid's Domestic Violence Prevention Project helps keep children free from harm. Pro bono attorneys are needed to work on individual, selected cases.
  • Health Care: All kids need medical services. Legal Aid's Health Consumer Center of San Mateo County assures that children and their families get much-needed health care. Pro bono attorneys are needed to work on individual, selected cases and to serve on the Health Consumer Center's Oversight Committee, which helps guide the work of the Center.
  • Kids-In-Crisis: Children with disabilities and their families sometimes need many of the services above, in addition to services relating to educational needs. Pro bono attorneys are needed to work on individual, selected cases.
  • HomeBuilders: The HomeBuilders Program is designed to tap the expertise of the private bar to assist non-profit developers who wish to build affordable housing.

Committee work presents volunteers with an opportunity to meet new people and help Legal Aid at the same time. And Justice For All...Legal Aid's Annual Awards luncheon is held in late March. The Lunch Committee is composed of attorneys and lay leaders alike, and meets once a month from mid-fall through the event. Brown-bag lunch meetings are held at Legal Aid for one hour from 12-noon.

The Legal Aid Golf Classic is held in late June at the Stanford Golf Course. The Golf Committee meets once a month from mid-winter through the event, and is composed of attorneys and lay leaders alike. Brown-bag lunch meetings are held at Legal Aid for one hour from 12-noon.

Board of Directors
Board membership is an important way of becoming a leader at Legal Aid. A job description is available upon request. For more information about becoming a Board member, please contact Marcie Storch, Director of Development, (650) 558-0915,