California Legal Resources

Overview of the California Court System

The variety of legal issues Californians face on a daily basis can first appear overwhelming. To understand California Courts it’s best to think of them as two basic systems, trial courts and appellate courts.

There are 58 trial courts, also known as superior courts in California. There is essentially one per county. Trial courts handle criminal cases, civil cases and even appeals. Criminal cases can include traffic violations, misdemeanors, and even felonies. Civil cases can include small claims, probate, family law and juvenile cases. The appellate courts handle appeals of small claims or misdemeanor cases and are located in districts throughout the state and are for those who do not agree with the outcome of their case in a trial court. The absolute highest court in the state is the Supreme Court of California and it reviews appellate court decisions and cases where the death penalty has been imposed.

California Attorneys and Lawyers

When faced with a legal issue, contacting an experienced attorney is always the best bet. At LawInfo you can search for a skilled, Lead Counsel Rated California attorney by location and by practice area. We have California attorneys who dedicate their practice to specific areas of the law, so you will not only find an attorney, but an attorney who is knowledgeable to help you with your particular legal issue.

California Legal Forms

LawInfo offers free California legal forms and documents to help resolve many of your issues on your own. Whether you need a power of attorney or you want to complete your will, we have you covered. You can click on our most popular forms located in the right column of this page. A user account is required to use the service, but it’s completely free.

For example, if you plan on renting out a property to renters, you can download LawInfo’s free Residential Lease Agreement. Renting your home to others can be a great source of additional income or a great way to pay off a particular property. Unfortunately, with the benefits come risks and you want to ensure you have a binding agreement with your tenants before you give them access to your real property. The residential lease form will guide you through the necessary information you will need to complete a legally binding residential lease.

If you have personal property or heirlooms you want to give you someone when you die, it’s important to create a will. If you die without a last will and testament in California, you are known to die “intestate” and the laws governing intestate succession will dictate who gets what, and they won’t take into account your wishes. LawInfo’s Last Will and Testament is a great way to put into writing what your wishes truly are.

Many people have heard of a Power of Attorney but many think they do not need one. A power of attorney enables another person to act on your behalf for financial and legal decisions should you be incapacitated or unable to make decisions for yourself. LawInfo offers you the option of filling out a power of attorney for free, so it is simple and stress free.

Starting a California Business

Starting a California business is an exciting and sometimes stressful prospect. There are great state resources available to you for free! The Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development offers great resources including checklists, access to specialists, training, and mentoring.

When starting a business it’s important to begin with a good business plan so you know what your business goals are and understand the steps to reach those goals.

Choosing the right business structure is also critically important. Different business types have different tax and personal liability implications. For example, if you are a sole proprietor you may not have to deal with incorporation taxes, but you will be putting your personal assets at risk. Whereas a corporation may shield you personally, there may be additional document and fee requirements.

California Business Statistics

Business plays a huge role in the California economy. There are over 3.5 million small businesses in California that employ over 11 million private workers.  Approximately 51% of California businesses are male-owned, 31% female-owned, and 18% male and female-owned.

While small businesses are crucial for the state, California also ranks #1 for bringing in foreign direct investments and has the most Fortune 500 companies in the country. Some of the more notable businesses include Apple (AAPL), Chevron (CVX), and Wells Fargo (WFC).

California also ranks on top for being the national leader in the creation of jobs, thus the job growth rate is steadily outpacing the national average. With unemployment at almost 9%, starting a business will help the California economy even more.