444 North Third Street in Suite 312
(916) 551-2140 / (916) 551-2197
Established in

Senior Legal Hotline offers “free legal advice, oral and written information, brief services and referrals for seniors who wish to speak with an attorney or paralegal on any legal issue. Areas include Social Security/SSI, Medi-Cal, reverse mortgages, grandparents rights, consumer problems, wills/trusts/probate, estate planning, housing, foreclosure prevention, powers of attorney, conservatorship, elder abuse, tenant/landlord assistance, and more. In some cases, staff and volunteers can review documents and intervene to a limited extent in an effort to help resolve disputes. A new department offers free mediation by phone to resolve disputes when senior clients and opposing parties agree” (2).

Mission Statement

“Legal Services of Northern California has several programs that aim to protect the dignity, independence, safety, and economic stability of the seniors and dependents they serve” (1).


The Senior Legal Hotline (SLH) was established in 1991, and it is a special program of the nonprofit aid Legal Services of Northern California (LNSC). When SLH began, it only helped seniors that lived in Sacramento along with two nearby counties. Three years later in 1994, the service expanded to cover 39 counties in Northern California, and 10 years later it went statewide. At its peak, the SLH handled more than any other senior legal helpline in the country, about 10,000 cases a year. Recently the Senior Legal Hotline faced severe budget shortfalls since it operates as a nonprofit; state and federal funding no longer supports the broad range of legal help that it once received, so grants now focus on particular services. None the less, the Senior Legal Hotline “still provides general legal advice to seniors who live in Sacramento County” (1).


"The Senior Legal Hotline provides free assistance to Californians over 60 — regardless of income — with domestic violence issues" (1).

The pension counseling project is available to all callers who are current or former workers of all ages in California, Arizona, Nevada, or Hawaii (1).

The Senior Legal Hotline will advise residents of Sacramento who are 60 years old or older on almost any civil issue (1).


The Senior Legal Hotline can be reached toll free at (800) 222-1753. The hours are Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday 9 am - noon, 1 - 4 pm; Thursdays 9 am - noon, 1 - 7 pm. It is recommended to call as soon as the firm is open because it operates under a first-come, first-serve basis. “However, priority goes to low-income clients and emergencies (usually housing or health care related)” (1). Services can also be reached through the website at http://slh.lsnc.net/contact-us/.

The Senior Legal Hotline focuses on a broad range of legal services, but it is not a lawyer referral service, but if clients require assistance past the services the Senior Legal Hotline provides, then the hotline can refer clients to other agencies (1).

As a law office, the Senior Legal Hotline is bound to keep the information clients share with the hotline as private. Volunteers will only discuss the problem with a third part when they have the client's permission, and they will not share their client data with any organization or commercial enterprise (1).

Special Projects

Western States Pension Assistance Project

The Senior Legal Hotline’s “pension team can explain your pension plan and how related laws affect your retirement. They also assist with tracking down benefits from past employers, submitting claims on your behalf for denied benefits, correcting pension miscalculations and dealing with demands for overpayment. The Senior Legal Hotline’s pension team serves Arizona, California, Hawaii, and Nevada residents of any age” (1).

Domestic Violence Project

The Senior Legal Hotline “assists California residents over 60 that have suffered emotional, physical, or sexual abuse, threats, or isolation at the hands of a family member, partner, spouse, caregiver, or someone else they live with” (1). Seniors who are victims of stalkers can also receive legal assistance.

Community Involvement

Volunteer Statement

The Senior Legal Hotline is always looking for volunteer attorneys to help California seniors through the phone. “Volunteers work alongside staff returning calls to clients, offering legal advice regarding the client’s problem, sending written information and in some cases, providing additional services such as document review, calls or letters to adversaries, family members or other parties, and some negotiation” (1).

Time commitment is negotiable, although to allow for the best training and orientation, a minimum of 12 hours a month for at least six months is preferred. More is preferable, and consistency is especially important while getting started.” The actual hours for current volunteers will vary widely (1).

For more information about volunteering, please call (916) 551-2145.


Charitable donations can be made at https://npo.networkforgood.org/Donate/Donate.aspx?npoSubscriptionId=1002857&code=Website


There are currently two types of internships available listed by their website:

Law Student Internships “Candidates interested in interning at Senior Legal Hotline will go through LSNC’s hiring process. The LSNC Summer Intern Program is a 10-week internship that takes place during the months of June through August” (1). The hotline starts accepting resumes in December and decisions will be released in March. Please contact the career services office for more information and for any additional questions please call (916) 551-2150 and ask to speak with the intern coordinator (1).

Social Work Field Study Students currently enrolled in a social work program at California State University Sacramento are eligible for a semester internship. The internship is organized though the department and the field study placement coordinator will answer any questions about the placement (1).


(1) slh.lsnc.net

(2) 2-1-1 Sacramento Tax Service

This report was written for Cynthia Linville’s English 1A class at CSU Sacramento, Fall 2011.

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