​Free Legal Assistance

USD Legal Clinics are funded by the University of San Diego and, in part, by grants from the State Bar of California and the U.S. Department of Treasury. Services are available to lower income individuals.

If you are interested in obtaining free assistance from USD Legal Clinics, or have any questions, please contact us at (619) 260-7470.

Free legal assistance may be provided in these areas:

  • Appellate—Handles the entire appeal from start to finish - brief to oral argument. These cases are referred from the pro bono panel at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • Civil—Includes consumer issues, breach of contract, uninsured motorist defense, fraud and consumer debt collection disputes.
  • Education and Disability—Represents the parents of students with disabilities in cases ranging from IEP eligibility and services, placement, discipline and expulsions, 504 Plans, Early Start, Regional Center eligibility and services, and limited conservatorships.
  • Entrepreneurship—Provides transactional legal services for clients in high technology business startups and other emerging growth companies. Assists with key legal services needed by entrepreneurs, including structuring the business entity, financing regulations, drafting of investment and employment agreements, and protection of intellectual property.
  • Federal Tax—Represents lower-income taxpayers who have disputes with the Internal Revenue Service in matters such as collection action, audits, earned income tax credits and offers in compromise. Make appearances at U.S. Tax Court.
  • Immigration—Offers assistance with immigration-related matters including immigrating family members, work authorization, naturalization, derivative citizenship, deferred action (such as DACA - Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), U-visa for crime victims and VAWA for domestic violence and abuse victims.
  • State Income Tax—This litigation clinic, also known as the "Tax Appeals Assistance Program (TAAP) - Franchise and Income Tax," is a joint effort between the USD Legal Clinics and the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA). Under supervision of an attorney from the CDTFA's Taxpayer Rights Advocate Office, students assist taxpayers with state income tax disputes against the California Franchise Tax Board (FTB). Students receive legal practice skills training, including gathering and identifying evidence, drafting legal briefs, and representing clients/taxpayers in negotiations with the FTB and at oral hearings before the California Board of Equalization or the California Office of Tax Appeals. 
  • State Sales and Use Tax—This clinic is a joint effort between USD Legal Clinics and the California State Board of Equalization (BOE). Under the supervision of an attorney from the BOE's Taxpayers' Rights Advocate Office, students will represent clients who are appealing California Sales and Use Tax determinations.
  • Veterans Clinic—Provides free legal assistance to veterans, limited to disputes with for-profit institutions over the use of GI Bill funds and predatory lending, discharge upgrades and VA Disability Claims appeals. Legal services range from advice to identification of potential claims to representation of veterans in litigation, arbitration and before governmental review boards. Visit the Veterans Clinic website.
  • Workers' Rights—Assists lower-income workers with a variety of employment law issues including employee rights, discrimination, medical leave, workplace safety, unpaid wages, unemployment benefits, harassment and wrongful termination.

Unfortunately, we are UNABLE to provide assistance with:

  • Adoptions
  • Bankruptcy
  • Business Litigation
  • CalWorks/CalFresh/General Relief
  • Collections
  • Constitutional Rights Issues
  • Criminal Matters/Expungements
  • Estate Planning/Probate/Wills/Trusts
  • Evictions
  • Family law/Dissolution of marriage/Domestic Violence
  • Landlord Tenant
  • Malpractice—Medical or Legal
  • Patents
  • Personal Injury
  • Preparation of Tax Returns
  • Real Estate/Real Property
  • Restraining Orders
  • Small Claims
  • SSI Appeals

The Legal Clinics at University of San Diego School of Law provide training to upper-level law students while providing needed legal services to the community. All Legal Clinic students are supervised by a practicing attorney. We will make appointments for qualifying individuals to meet for an intake with a law student, on a space available basis. We do NOT accommodate walk-in clients. You can reach us by calling (619) 260-7470.