What We Do
At Legal Consumer, we believe you should have access to quality information about the legal issues affecting your life. Whether you’re facing financial difficulties, health concerns, or trouble at your job, we want to help you find the resources you need. Our websites are written by lawyers and designed to give you accurate, relevant information for your location.
Legal Consumer began in 2006, when owner and founder Albin Renauer created Bankruptcy Info for Your Zip Code. As a coauthor of Nolo's How to File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy (now in its 19th edition), Albin spent years trying to make filing for bankruptcy as easy and non-threatening as possible. In 2005, the U.S. Congress enacted sweeping changes to the bankruptcy law to make filing for bankruptcy considerably more costly and intimidating. When that law passed, Albin vowed to do something about it. The result was the first Legal Consumer website, Bankruptcy Info for Your Zip Code.
Albin wanted anyone considering bankruptcy to be able to quickly and easily learn about the full range of resources available them:
- free information
- low-cost, high-quality books
- online services
- form preparation services, and
- full service bankrupty lawyers.
Bankruptcy Info for Your Zip Code endeavors to gather and organize all that information and present it in one place.
But when Albin founded Legal Consumer, he never imagined it would be only about bankruptcy. Over time, he wanted to cover other areas where localized information could help people get the rights and benefits they deserve. In addition to the bankruptcy website, Legal Consumer now offers comprehensive, local information on:
- Student Loans and Repayment Options,
- Unemployment Law, and
- Living wills and medical powers of attorney.
And stay tuned, because you’ll soon be able to use Legal Consumer websites to learn about student loans, unemployment issues, inheritance law, and more.
Who We Are
Legal Consumer is growing. Albin’s one-man show is now taking shape as a collective of smart lawyers with decades of experience delivering plain-spoken legal and practical information to the people who need it.
Albin Renauer, Founder and Owner
Albin is the owner of Relational Vision, LLC, the company that owns and operates Legal Consumer. He’s a web designer, writer, programmer, and computer geek. He’s also a lawyer and a member of the California Bar Association. (Because he focuses on putting the largest amount of useful information into the hands of the greatest number of people, he doesn’t take individual cases.)
Albin earned his law degree and was a Law Review editor at the University of Michigan Law School (Go Blue!). After dabbling in public interest law in San Francisco in the early 80's, he joined the staff of the late Chief Justice Rose Bird for her final two years on the California Supreme Court.
When Justice Bird lost her confirmation election in 1986, Albin wanted to use computers to make the legal system more accessible. With that in mind, he began a fruitful 17-year relationship with the great folks at Nolo, the pioneering do-it-yourself legal publisher in Berkeley, California. At Nolo, Albin researched, edited, and wrote law books; developed legal software; managed the Nolo website (winning a Webby Award); and developed a keen interest in exploring new ways to harness the power of the Internet and relational databases to make legal information easier to find and use.
In 2004, Albin left Nolo and launched Legal Consumer to explore new ways to "mash-up" Internet technology with relational databases to deliver high-quality, useful, localized legal information to consumers. The topic of bankruptcy was a natural subject to start with, given his 15+ years as a coauthor of Nolo's book on Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Although he lives in California, Albin’s Midwestern roots run deep. He grew up in the Detroit area and is a fanatical Detroit Tigers fan. Being raised in a working class family in the so-called "rust belt," then attending an elite college and law school, gave Albin a personal view of two very different worlds -- and the understanding that the legal system is too expensive for many people. This understanding motivated Albin to create Legal Consumer, a company that wants to make your legal tasks -– and your life –- easier.
LegalConsumer's Writing Team
Albin Renauer, co-author Nolo's How to File for Chaper 7 Bankruptcy, wrote and maintains our information on Bankruptcy and the Means Test Calculator.
Deborah England is a practicing attorney who represents employees whose rights have been violated, and she is the author of books and articles on employment law issues. Her Legal Consumer websites include Unemployment Law by Zip Code.
Estate Planning Attorney Liza Hanks, is the author of several books by Nolo Press in Berkeley, and the author of a popular blog "Ask Liza"
Liza specializes in estate planning for families of all ages. She is a Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust, and Probate Law by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization.
A graduate of Stanford Law School, she has also served as an instructor at the Santa Clara University Law School and practiced with the state of California and a prestigious Silicon Valley firm.
Liza is also the author of Busy Family's Guide to Estate Planning: 10 Steps to Peace of Mind.