CILS has four offices in the state of California. If you are an individual or Tribe seeking services, please contact the office that serves the county where you live or the county that your Tribe is in.
873 N. Main Street, Suite 120
Bishop, CA 93514
Alpine, Inyo, Kern, Mono, Tuolumne
609 S. Escondido Boulevard
Escondido, CA 92025
Imperial, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Ventura
324 F Street
Eureka, CA 95501
Del Norte, Humboldt, Mendocino, Siskiyou, Trinity
117 J Street, Suite 201
Sacramento, CA 95814
Alameda, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, Contra Costa, El Dorado, Fresno, Glenn, Kings, Lake, Lassen, Madera, Marin, Mariposa, Merced, Modoc, Monterey, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, San Benito, San Francisco, San Joaquin, San Luis Obispo, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Shasta, Sierra, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tehama, Tulare, Yolo, Yuba
Requesting Legal Assistance
The majority of CILS’ funding comes from federal and state grants (see below). These funding sources limit who we can service and the services we can provide. All persons, tribes, tribal organizations and entities requesting free legal assistance must participate in an intake interview to determine eligibility.
Free Legal Services and Client Eligibility:
Individuals: CILS can provide free legal services if the person qualifies as “low income” (is at or below the federal poverty level) and has a legal issue or question of federal Indian law. *For individuals in our Escondido office, there is no low-income requirement for assistance for Native American victim of domestic violence and stalking.
Tribes, Tribal Organizations, and Entities: CILS can provide free legal services if the tribe, tribal organization or entity qualifies as “low income.” The tribe, tribal organization or entity must demonstrate and certify that they do not have unrestricted funds to retain private legal counsel and that 51% of their members are at or below the poverty level. The tribe’s, tribal organization’s or entity’s legal issue must involve a question of federal Indian law.
Fee for Legal Services:
CILS may represent, on a fee-for-service basis, persons, tribes, tribal organizations and entities who are over income for free services. CILS’ fee structure is flexible and adjustable depending on the client’s available resources and unique circumstances.
If you are dissatisfied by legal services received, please fill out the Grievance Complaint Form.
Areas of Practice
California Indian Legal Services has been dedicated to providing the highest quality legal services to Native Americans since 1967. Our practice areas include:
- Jurisdictional and Tribal Sovereignty Issues
- Indian Child Welfare
- Tort Claim Defense for Tribal Entities
- Water Rights
- Environmental Law
- Economic Development
- Tribal Election Oversight
- Governing Document and Code (Enrollment, Assignments, Elections,) Drafting and Revision
- Fee-To-Trust Acquisitions and Protection of Trust Assets
- Federal Recognition
- Indian Civil Rights
- Preparing Wills for Allotment Interests
- Protection of Public Benefits Due to Tribal Per Capita Payments
- Development of Tribal Justice Systems (Tribal Courts and Law Enforcement)
Sources of Funding
Federal–Legal Services Corporation (LSC) grant
State–Equal Access to Justice grant
State–Interest Off Lawyers’ Trust Accounts (IOLTA) grant
Federal–Department of Justice, Office Against Domestic Violence grant
Federal Title III Senior Legal Program (*Bishop office only) grant
State—contracts for special projects
Private Fee for service work (contract work)
Private Contributions and Donations
Court awarded “Cy Pres”*
*“Cy Pres”, meaning ‘as close or near to,’ refers to class action lawsuits where there has been a settlement but distribution of the funds to the class becomes impossible or impractical. In these cases, the court may order the settlement funds be distributed to organizations that serve a charitable purpose that is ‘as close or near to’ the original purpose of the lawsuit.
CILS has received Cy Pres awards from a variety of court-ordered distributions. These awards help CILS continue carrying out its mission to assist tribes and individual Native Americans throughout California.
If you are counsel in a class action case and wish to learn more about Cy Pres possibilities, please contact our Director of Administration, Patricia De La Cruz-Lynas, at (916) 978-0960 or firstname.lastname@example.org.)
How can you help? CILS’ Wish List!
- Video camera
- American Indian artwork for our offices
- Cash donations
- Gift cards from Office Depot, Staples, Home Depot or Lowes
- Office furniture: we have not updated our offices since 1974
Not sure what to donate? How about volunteering:
- Community outreach
- Advertising – marketing
- Office help
- Facility improvements: painting and handyman assistance
Donors and volunteers may contact the CILS Development Director at 760-746-8941 or email@example.com for additional information.