Nolo Publishing

If you have surfed the web, searching for help on difficult legal subjects such as bankruptcy or estate planning then no doubt you have come into contact with Nolo Publishing.



Nolo publishing began in 1971 with a mission to help consumers and small business owners to find answers to everyday legal and business questions.


The company itself was born in the late 60's when two legal aid lawyers were tired of turning away potential clients who needed help but didn't qualify for the free legal aid they provided.


Yet these same people they turned away, couldn't afford a lawyer so they most likely never received the needed help.


To fill this gap, starting in 1971 they published self help pamphlets on divorce and tenant rights. Established publishing companies rejected their idea leading the formation of Nolo press. Nolo is Latin for "I don't choose to" which they found fitting as they had never intended on becoming publishers.


Soon they committed themselves to publishing a comprehensive series of do-it-yourself guides covering a wide variety of topics.


By 1980 they moved to their present location in Berkeley Cal. and business grew. Once the computer age dawned they added legal software to their offerings.


In 2005 the lawyer directory was launched. This was put into place to help people find a consumer-oriented lawyer when they wanted to add professional help to their self help. Nolo has also advocated for a more open and democratic legal system by pushing that system to... push America’s legal system to:


    write laws, regulations, and court forms in plain English

    require courts to provide in-person help to people without lawyers

    simplify courtroom procedures to give people without lawyers a fair shake

    simplify probate, and eliminate it entirely for uncontested bequests to family members

    remove many simple uncontested matters from court entirely

    redesign public law libraries to make legal information accessible to all

    substantially raise small claims court dollar limits to create a true people’s court

    let lawyers coach the self-represented without taking over the whole case (lawyers call this “unbundling” legal services)

    promote mediation to settle disputes out of court

    abolish unauthorized practice of law statutes that threaten online access to do-it-yourself legal materials and tools

    let trained non-lawyers help consumers accomplish basic legal tasks such as uncontested divorces, adoptions, guardianship's, and stepparent adoptions.




Nolo Publishing has fought long and hard to make information available in plain english regarding the laws and making it possible for a do-it-yourself approach to these laws.


They provide a long list of free legal information on their website along with written material that covers subjects in more detail. They are also a good source for legal forms.


In their own words:


At Nolo we know that America is still far from a legal system where all laws are written in plain English, all legal forms are well designed and easy to use, and basic courthouse procedures are equally accessible to both lawyers and do-it-yourselfers.


Ensuring that all Americans can understand the laws that govern their lives and have access to courts, and when appropriate mediation and other less adversarial procedures, remains a work in progress.


That’s why Nolo still strives to give consumers information they can trust and put to use: the highest quality, most up-to-date legal information, access to statutes and court decisions, and detailed information about lawyers who can provide personalized expert help. Even after 40 years, no other organization does what we do.


Today Nolo doesn’t look much like it did when the company began back in 1971. Web designers having long since replaced typesetters, all of our books and software are available online, and Nolo’s website attracts more than a million visitors each month. But Nolo remains true to the original vision and passion of its founders: to publish reliable, plain-English legal information that anyone can use.




When looking for information whether it be in a do it yourself setting or to gain knowledge to make a good selection when using a professional Nolo publishing is an excellent resource.



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