Services We Offer
The Voluntary Legal Services Program of Northern California provides legal services to eligible low income clients who live in Sacramento and the surrounding counties.
VLSP’s legal services range from referrals to volunteer attorneys for direct representation to assistance of self-represented parties at our legal clinics.
Debt Collection Defense & Bankruptcy Law
The Voluntary Legal Services Program of Northern California provides services to clients who need assistance with legal problems associated with the collection of debts they owe. VLSP provides advice and assistance with cleaning up credit reports, disputing debts, and evaluating clients for the appropriateness of filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. VLSP does not assist current or former business owners, or individuals looking to sue or collect on a debt.
Eligible clients with these types of problems are referred to the Debt Collection Defense/Bankruptcy Clinic, where they will receive advice and assistance from volunteer attorneys experienced in this area of law. The Clinic’s staff and volunteers do not represent clients in legal proceedings, but they do provide legal advice and assistance with the preparation of legal documents.
The Debt Collection Defense/Bankruptcy Clinic is held approximately twice a month on Tuesday evenings at VLSP’s main office, by appointment only. Clients interested in being scheduled for an appointment should call
(916) 551-2123 for more information. All potential clients are screened over the phone for eligibility prior to receiving an appointment.
No walk-ins are accepted at the Debt Collection Defense Clinic.
Criminal Records Expungement
Effective July 1, 2018, the Voluntary Legal Services Program will no longer be operating the Criminal Records Expungement and Driver’s License Reinstatement Clinic. Due to sudden significant changes in funding requirements, we are no longer able to offer these services.
If you or someone you know is seeking expungement services, you may wish to view an online self-help video at the website of the Sacramento County Public Law Library: www.saclaw.org. It will show you how to prepare your own expungement paperwork. Click on “expungement” under “most popular links” on the home page.
Many thanks to the Staff who have helped make our Clinic such a successful re-entry resource for the past 19 years. Thanks also to our Community Partners, including especially Asian Resources, for their support over the years.
On March 18, 2019, the Voluntary Legal Services Program will be launching our new Family Law Assistance Project (FLAP). The FLAP will be providing assistance with separation, divorce, custody, support (child and spousal), paternity, etc. We will not be assisting with domestic violence issues or restraining orders.
The Family Law Assistance Project will be held by appointment only on select afternoons when our volunteers are available. Clients interested in being scheduled for an appointment should call (916) 551-2166 for more information. All potential clients are screened over the phone for eligibility prior to receiving an appointment.
No walk-ins are accepted at the Family Law Assistance Project.
The Voluntary Legal Services Program of Northern California provides services to clients who need assistance with legal problems related to their current or former employment. These legal problems include the denial of unemployment insurance benefits, wage and hour issues, discrimination or sexual harassment, and wrongful termination. VLSP does not provide any advice or assistance with Workers’ Compensation, pensions, or severance packages.
Eligible clients with the types of problems we handle are referred to the Employment Law Advice Line, where they will receive advice and assistance from volunteer law students and attorneys experienced in this area of law. Staff and volunteers are occasionally able to represent clients in the following limited types of legal proceedings: Unemployment Insurance Appeals Hearings and Settlement Conferences and Hearings before the California Labor Commissioner. We do not provide help with lawsuit paperwork.
Clients needing advice on employment law matters should call (916) 551-2167 for more information. All potential clients are screened over the phone for eligibility.
Estate Planning & Probate
The Voluntary Legal Services Program of Northern California provides services to clients who need help with estate planning. VLSP can provide assistance with preparing either a Will or Living Trust, which are documents that determine how a client’s property will be distributed after death. In addition, VLSP can help clients prepare for the possibility of becoming incapacitated. Powers of Attorney for Property Management and Advanced Health Care Directives allow clients to designate who will make medical and financial decisions for them in the event they are unable to make those decisions for themselves. Our volunteer attorneys can help clients prepare these important documents.
Depending on the type of documents needed, eligible clients will either be referred to the Estate Planning Clinic or to a volunteer attorney for direct pro bono assistance. The Estate Planning Clinic is held every other month on a Monday evening at VLSP’s main office. Clients interested in estate planning should call (916) 551-2106 for more information. All potential clients are screened over the phone for eligibility prior to receiving an appointment or referral. No walk-ins are accepted at the Estate Planning Clinic and all eligibility screening is done over the phone.
VLSP also provides limited services to clients who need help with resolving issues related to the estate of a deceased person. VLSP is more likely able to help a client with a small estate that does not require a full probate proceeding. Eligible clients with these types of problems should call (916) 551-2155 for more information and to see if we can be of any assistance.
Guardianships & Conservatorships
The Voluntary Legal Services Program of Northern California provides services to clients who need help with obtaining a probate guardianship over a minor child. A court order appointing an adult the guardian of a minor child may be necessary when the child’s parents are deceased or are currently unable to care for the child.
VLSP provides help with guardianships of the person only; we are unable to help with guardianships of the estate. This means that we can only help where the issue is the care of the child. We cannot help when the child has money that needs to be managed. Eligible clients with these types of problems should call (916) 551-2106 for more information and to see if we can be of any assistance.
VLSP is able to assist more clients with guardianships of minors than with conservatorships of adults. This is due to the greater availability of volunteer attorneys for guardianships than conservatorships. We help only with conservatorships of the person, which concerns the care of a disabled adult. We regret that we cannot help where the disabled adult has money that needs to be managed by a third party.