Escondido-based Sage Legal Services (“SLS”) is bringing the affordable legal services movement to San Diego County. Following the lead of nonprofit law firms, such as the Utah-based Open Legal Services, SLS offers legal services on a sliding-scale basis. Using California’s Department of Housing and Community Development’s income guidelines, SLS focuses on providing legal services to those who fall within San Diego County’s low to middle income earners.
Sage Legal Services provides services in the areas of family law and tenant rights. Christina Alkire, SLS’s founding attorney, chose these particular areas because generally there is no right to an attorney in family law cases, such as divorces or child custody actions, or in tenant cases, such as a tenant facing eviction.
According to Alkire, many low to middle income earners do not have the disposable income to afford the additional costs traditionally associated with legal representation. This means that they must choose to: (1) find the money to hire an attorney; (2) navigate the legal system without the benefit of an attorney; (3) decline to act; or (4) act without understanding to what they are entitled. SLS seeks to help these people by proving affordable representation so they do not have to make that choice.
SLS primarily relies on client fees to sustain its operations; it does not rely on state or federal grant money. This is possible because SLS maintains a low overhead by offering online services and meeting clients in a rented boardroom, in a public location, such as a library, or in a client’s home, safety permitting. This allows Sage Legal Services to avoid the costs associated with renting a brick and mortar location.
Furthermore, SLS offers online legal services. Through a secure online portal, clients are able to login with their own login and password and access their legal documents. The client can upload and amend documents, message their attorney, and work on their case at their convenience and outside business hours.
For more information about Sage Legal Services, services offered, and pricing, visit www.sagelegalservices.com/