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

One of the things that I appreciate about going to Empire College was that the training was so hands-on.

Yesenia Avalos

Medical Assistant Coordinator, West County Health Centers
Empire Law School provided the instruction, guidance, and motivation that I needed to pass the California State Bar Examination on the first try, despite the rigors of managing a full-time career and family commitments in parallel. I would absolutely recommend Empire Law School to anyone looking for relevant and masterful instruction in the subjects of law.

Chris Van Nuys

Operations Manager, LEMO USA, Inc. (Class of 2019)

By assisting clients at the Self-Help Access Center, students learn about law, human nature, society and challenges people face on a daily basis.

Michelle Brown

Empire Law Graduate

Empire is perfect for individuals seeking a practical, cost-effective legal education taught by committed practitioners. Empire enabled me to grow and learn through experiences with the Superior Court’s Office and the District Attorney’s office as a student and then launch into a rewarding career serving as General Counsel for American Home Shield >Corporation, The ServiceMaster Franchise Group, Graham Packaging Company, and currently, Evergreen Packaging.

Mark Lightfoot

General Counsel, Evergreen Packaging

Walking across the graduation stage already employed with a full-time job was very gratifying.

Nancy Clark

Paralegal, Galanti & Copenhaver, Inc.

I had a lot of friends go through Empire who had a great experience. If you want a solid IT foundation to get out in the workforce, it’s the place to be.

Blake Buchanan

Service Desk Analyst, Davita Medical Group