Get the Legal Help You Need. 

For Free.

Open Door Legal is a nonprofit legal aid clinic dedicated to serving low-income San Franciscans. We’re here to help you with any non-criminal legal challenge you’re facing. We help tenants take on landlords, parents get custody of their children, and so much more.

We want to help you, too. Get started by filling out our intake form so that we can get to know your situation and figure out how to proceed.

Common Case Areas

Housing Law

  • Evictions
  • Landlord harassment
  • Repairs/habitability concerns
  • Landlord discrimination
  • SFHA issues
  • Restriction of past evictions
  • Lockouts
  • Buyouts

Family Law

  • Child custody and support
  • Divorce
  • Guardianship
  • Domestic violence
  • Adoption 

Employment Law

  • Removal of barriers to employment
  • Recovery of unpaid wages
  • ADA accommodations
  • Workplace discrimination
  • Break violations
  • Workplace harassment

Elder Law

  • Estate planning including wills and trusts, power of attorney, advance directives, and durable power of attorney
  • Financial and physical elder abuse
  • Conservatorships
  • Wrongful foreclosure/predatory lending 
  • Probate litigation

 Immigration Law

  • Asylum
  • Family-based immigration petitions
  • Naturalization and adjustment of status
  • U-visas
  • T-visas
  • Temporary protected status
  • VAWA-based petition 

Consumer Law and Civil Litigation

  • Personal injury
  • Real property
  • Predatory lending
  • Contract fraud
  • Identity theft
  • Bankruptcy
  • Debt collectors 
  • SSI, SSDI, and other public benefits

Client Testimonies

Pauline

“The second I arrived at Open Door Legal, I felt welcomed. The attorneys calmed down; they gave me a cup of coffee, comforted me, and offered support. When you’re stressed, it can feel like you’re blind, but once I walked through those doors, I could see again.”

Pasa

“Out of options, I came to Open Door Legal. They fought for my case and won me $11,407 for what our family endured. Without Open Door Legal, I wouldn’t have had anywhere to turn.”

Harold

“Sometimes there are seemingly unsolvable problems that keep you awake at night and have a tendency to make you depressed. But the lawyers at Open Door Legal put my mind at ease and helped me face my problem head-on.”

Donna

“I was nervous at first, but that all went away once I started working with my attorney. She helped me in a timely manner, with professionalism and respect.”

Do I qualify?

Our service area

Open Door Legal provides free legal representation for all civil cases to San Franciscans who live in Districts 5, 10, or 11. Below are the zip codes that qualify for service. 

District 10 – Bayview/Hunters Point: 94107, 94124, 94134

District 11 – Excelsior: 94112, 94132

District 5 – Western Addition/Fillmore: 94117, 94115, 94122, 94102

 

Other exceptions

We do not represent employers against employees, landlords against tenants, people needing help in criminal court, people appearing in traffic court, or people needing help with child protective services matters.

If you do not qualify for our services or are not sure if you qualify, you can still fill out our intake form and we will provide you with referrals and other resources. 

CITATIONS

1. American University, Key Studies and Data About How Legal Aid Improves Housing Outcomes https://www.american.edu/spa/jpo/toolkit/upload/housing-7-30-19.pdf

2. George Washington Law School, In Pursuit of Justice? Case Outcomes and the Delivery of Unbundled Legal Services https://scholarship.law.gwu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi

Ever since childhood, our co-founder Adrian has been dedicated to reducing poverty.

He studied systemic poverty in college and went to work in the field for a few years. Eventually, he had a thesis that legal aid was the most cost-effective way to address poverty in America. He wrote up a business plan and used it to apply to law school. 

The idea was to create the country’s first system of universal access to civil legal representation that ensures everyone can obtain timely, competent legal help for any legal issue, regardless of ability to pay. That had never been done before in the history of the United States.

In law school, he met Virginia, our Programs Director. Together, they co-founded the organization, two weeks after Adrian passed the bar.

When we opened we put a sign in the window, and with just that marketing and almost no other outreach we were overwhelmed with requests for help from people with good cases who had been turned away everywhere else.

Our first year we had revenue of $35,000. We would hand shred documents because a shredder was too expensive. Despite the financial challenges, we were able to work on over 280 cases in everything from housing law to family law to consumer law in the first year alone.

The hours were extreme, the pay was low, and the learning curve was steep. Still, we persisted. We knew that almost everyone we helped was not able to receive services anywhere else. Eventually, we attracted the interest of funders. We tripled our revenue for several years in a row. In 2015, we won the Bay Area Google Impact Challenge, which enabled us to expand even more. In 2019, we secured additional funding from the city that allowed us to open two new centers in the Excelsior and Western Addition.

As of 2020, our staff has grown to 27 full-time employees. We’ve shown that universal access is possible. Now, we plan to scale city-wide, make San Francisco the first city in the country’s history to have universal access to legal help, and become a model for national replication.