Sonoma County Small Claims Advisory Clinic

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TO ALL SMALL CLAIMS PARTIES:  Due to the current court closure, Empire’s Small Claims Clinic including telephone assistance is also closed, at least until April 6th and possibly longer. Please do not come to Empire College for Small Claims help at this time; we are closed to the public.

FOR THOSE WHO NEED TO FILE PAPERS IN SMALL CLAIMS COURT:  Sonoma County Courts have a process for the electronic filing, or “e-filing”, of Civil cases, which may allow for the filing of any Complaints, Answers or other documents as needed. We cannot provide legal advice, but the link below should help you determine whether this procedure is available to you. If you are unable to proceed on your own, you will have to seek the advice of an attorney. We wish you well in this difficult time for everyone. Here is the link:

Directed by Empire Law School

About the Clinic
The Sonoma County Small Claims Advisory Clinic provides free procedural and legal information to Small Claims litigants regarding their rights and responsibilities under California Law.

In December 2005, Empire College School of Law took on the advisory role for the Sonoma County Small Claims Court. The free service, mandated by the county for users of the court, is provided by Empire Law Students overseen by the Dean of the Law School, Brian J. Purtill, and practicing attorney Murray Cockerill.

The clinic is staffed by third and fourth-year law students of Empire Law School and local attorneys. The staff is available to help with all stages of Small Claims cases. Any Small Claims participant or potential participant is welcome to seek help from the clinic – even those who are not residents of Sonoma County.

While we provide legal information and advice regarding small claims forms, we do not fill out the forms for clients. Additionally, we are prohibited by law and contract from advising on matters outside the realm of small claims court. Where such advice is sought we will provide referrals to another appropriate entity when necessary. Small Claims advisors cannot act as your attorney and are not meant to replace the advice of an attorney. If you would like the advice of an attorney, contact the Sonoma County Bar Lawyer Referral Service at (707) 546-5297.

The small claims advisory service would like to thank the Judicial Council of California, the California Department of Consumer Affairs, the Sacramento Small Claims Advisory Clinic, and all others who allowed us to use content from their website in the production of this site.


Empire College School of Law
First upstairs conference room on the left
3035 Cleveland Avenue
Santa Rosa, CA 95403


Walk-in Hours:
Monday and Wednesday
from 3:30 to 6:00 p.m.

Assistance by phone:
Tuesday and Thursday
from 3:30 to 6:00 p.m.

Bilingual assistance for Spanish speakers
Available during walk-in hours only.


The clinic is closed on ALL Federal/Court holidays.


About Small Claims Court
Bringing a Dispute to Small Claims Court 
Court Forms, Sample Letters, and Useful Checklists
Helpful Links and Additional Resources

Common Disputes Heard in Small Claims Court

Car Repair Disputes
Landlord/Tenant Issues 
Problems with Home Improvement Contractors
Collect Unpaid Wages
Sue for a Bad Check
Sue for a “Stop Payment” Check

Angela Emerick, Esq.

(Class of 2015)

"Being born in Australia and becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2009, I understand the process and honor of becoming an American citizen and am proud to help those in their quest to become citizens and better their lives."

Daryl Reese, Esq.

(Class of 2014)

"I decided to enroll in Law School when I was 50 years old having enjoyed a full career in the nonprofit sector. Now I have a robust business and nonprofit law practice serving clients throughout the State of California and I am loving it. I could never have made that kind of career transition if it had not been for Empire Law School. The opportunity to take evening courses and at a cost far less than other law schools, and to do so in my own community made my career shift affordable, enjoyable, and attainable."

Orchid Vaghti, Esq.

(Class of 2010)

"There are not that many new lawyers who have the experience to go to trial. They would not be ready for it. Seeing the practical points of the legal process through her Empire education gave Orchid an advantage."
- L. Stephen Turer, Esq.