I have an idea of an online service that prepares forms and letters for small claim courts. The service would take an input from a user, analyze it and output documents required to file a small court claim and instruction for a user.

Is such a service legal in California? I'm a software engineer, not a certified lawyer.


1 Answer 1


It depends upon how the service works.

A "scrivner" is permitted, but "legal services" are not. If, for example, it asks you the questions on a state approved form and asks you to fill in answers and the compiles the answers into a complaint with the proper typesetting, this would be permissible.

It could also have "educational materials" which you could read that could discuss small claims court.

But, if it provides individualized assistance on a case by case basis on how to answer the questions, for example, prodding you to say something about each element of a cause of action if you fail to do so, this might very well constitute the practice of law and be illegal.

  • Consider that all the hints, outputs and instruction are generated by a computer software, not a human. Who should get a lawyer certificate in this case? Commented Jan 8, 2018 at 7:13
  • I'm not sure that AI legal advice is authorized by existing law, whether it should be or not.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Jan 8, 2018 at 18:58

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