About LegalConsumer.com

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About This Website: LegalConsumer.com

About LegalConsumer.com


Empowering consumers since 2006

Our Mission

Learn what to do. Get help if you need it. Get on with your life. 

Life is hard enough. Everything we do at LegalConsumer.com is designed to help you get on with your life with a minimum of hassle, even when -- or especially when -- you're faced with life's tasks that are important but complicated..

We can help learn the law when it comes to:

  • handling an inheritance of a deceased loved one, or
  • dealing with debts and exploring for bankruptcy as an option, or
  • applying for unemployment, or
  • dealing with unfair treatment at work regarding your hours or pay, or
  • signing up for subsidized health care. 

Learn What To Do

We help you learn what to do by providing you with free, quality information about the legal issues affecting your life...

...all without you having to sign up for anything or pay any money to anyone.  

The Internet is full of sharks out to take your money. We attempt to guide you through those shark-infested waters, to clear, reliable information that can help you solve your problem. 

Get Help If You Need It

Once you've learned about your problem, you should get help if you need it.

There is no shame in needing help from a lawyer or or an insurance broker to make sure you're getting things right. Your situation may be complicated.

Not everyone is a do-it-yourself-er, and sometimes you need extra help. That's where our advertisers come in... Connect with a local professional through our free "Connect With A Lawyer" matching service. We've helped thousands of consumers connect with a local professional this way.

(We are not affiliated in any way with our advertisers. But they help keep this site free to the public. We try to keep our overhead low so we don't have to bury you with too many ads.)

Get On With Your Life!

At LegalConsumer.com, we hope that the information and resources we provide here help make the hassles of your life a bit less of a hassle, so you can get on with your life. Good luck to you all!

Who We Are

LegalConsumer.com authors have law degrees and decades of experience delivering clear, plain-English legal information to people who need it. It remains independently owned, and is not part of a giant conglomerate and has not been taken over by a giant hedge fund, unlike some other legal website you may be familiar with. 

LegalConsumer's Writing Team

Shae Irving

Shae IrvingShae Irving began writing for Legal Consumer in 2013. Her Legal Consumer websites include Obamacare by Zip Code and Child Custody by Zip Code.

Shae has been a legal writer and editor for more than two decades. She has degrees in rhetoric and law from the University of California, Berkeley and she joined the California Bar Association in 1994. For more than two decades, Shae was a member of the editorial team at Nolo Press. At Nolo, she managed the editorial content for the company's best-selling estate planning software, Quicken WillMaker. She also wrote and edited dozens of books and other publications for Nolo. She now works as a consultant for a variety of clients who care about communication that is precise, friendly, and true.

Albin Renauer

albinSince 1989, Albin Renauer has been a co author of Nolo's book  How to File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, now in its 20th edition. Albin created the means test calculator and Bankruptcy by Zip Code in 2006 as an adjunct to the book, to help people figure out their means test calculation for the county in which they live. That project evolved into the Legal Consumer website, which now spans several topics. 

Albin is a lawyer and a member of the California Bar Association. Because he focuses on the website, he doesn’t take individual cases. Albin also a web designer, writer, programmer, and computer geek. Albin is the owner of RelationalVision,LLC, the company that owns and operates Legal Consumer. 

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 (e.g. Public Advocates, Inc., CRLA, Altshuler & Berzon), 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 original owners of  Nolo, the pioneering do-it-yourself legal publisher in Berkeley, California, before it was sold to hedge-fund investors. At Nolo, Albin researched, edited, and wrote law books; was a senior developer of legal software (WillMaker); managed the development of Nolo's pioneering legal website (winning a Webby Award in 2001), and edited one of the first directories of law on the Internet in 1997 Law on the Net.

In 2004, Albin left Nolo to explore new ways to "mash-up" Internet technology with relational databases to deliver high-quality, useful, localized legal information to consumers, and created this website.

Albin is proud of the fact that Legal Consumer has been able to remain independent, committed to its spirit of helping consumers, and is not run by bankers or owned by a giant hedge fund. 

J.D., University of Michigan Law School, Law Review, 1985
B.A. in Political Science, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor 1981
Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice
California (Inactive status... I don't take individual cases)
Professional & Bar Association Memberships
State Bar of California
NACBA (National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys)

LegalConsumer.com, Website launched and operated by Albin Renauer, since 2006
How to File Chapter 7 Bankuptcy, Albin Renauer co-author, Nolo, 1989-2018 (29 years!),  ed. 1-20
Law On the Net, Albin Renauer editor, Nolo, October 1997, ed. 1
WillMaker, the Editorial Staff of Nolo, Nolo, April 1993-2016, ed. 1-2017
Nolo's Living Trust for Macintosh, w/ Mary Randolph, Nolo, July 1992, ed. 1

Unnamed Author

Lisa Guerin

lisa Guerin Lisa Guerin began writing for Legal Consumer in 2013. Her Legal Consumer websites include Unemployment Law by Zip Code,  and Wage and Hour Law by Zip Code.

Lisa has a degree in American Studies from Williams College and a law degree from U.C. Berkeley. After becoming a member of the California bar in 1991, Lisa practiced employment law in government, public interest, and private practice, where she represented clients at all levels of state and federal courts and in agency proceedings. Lisa has written a number of books and countless articles on employment law for Nolo Press, where she worked as an editor for 15 years. Lisa began writing for Legal Consumer in 2014. In her spare time, she volunteers with local dog shelter and rescue groups and serves on the board of the Friends of Berkeley Animal Care Services. 

Deborah C. England

Deborah EnglandDeborah 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 LegalConsumer websites include Unemployment Law by Zip Code and Wage and Hour Law by Zip Code.

Deborah has a journalism degree from the University of Washington and a law degree from Seattle University. She has practiced employment law in San Francisco for 30 years, representing clients in litigation in state and federal courts. In addition to her trial work, Deborah regularly advises clients on employment issues and negotiates informal resolutions of employment disputes. Deborah has written and co-written books on sexual harassment and family and medical leave law, and has published scores of articles and essays on employment and civil rights law. She speaks frequently on these topics before legal and employment professional organizations, and conducts harassment prevention trainings. Deborah also volunteers as a supervising attorney for the Workers’ Rights Clinic of the Legal Aid Society.

Liza Hanks

Liza Hanks began writing Inheritance Law by Zip Code for Legal Consumer in 2016. 

Liza is a graduate of Stanford Law School and a mother of two children. She has been an estate planner since 2001, exclusively creating trusts and wills for families of all ages, as well as offering trust administration and probate services. Liza is a Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust Administration & Probate Law, The State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization.

She left a large Silicon Valley law firm in after the birth of her son to start a practice that makes a positive difference to children and families in 2001. Liza’s practice includes wills, trusts, durable powers of attorney and advance health care directives, as well as trust administration and probate. Liza prides herself on making complex legal concepts clear through the use of graphics, examples, story telling and a sense of humor.

In addition to practicing estate planning law, she has written three books, Every Californian’s Guide to Estate Planning, The Mom’s Guide to Wills and Estate Planning, and The Trustee’s Legal Companion, all published by Nolo and available at amazon.com.

She also publishes two blogs:

Life/Death/Law, where she writes about topics that come up in her everyday law practice, and

Ask Liza: Everyday Estate Planning, where she answers questions from readers all over the country for Nolo.

She produces a podcast, Life/Death/Law, where Liza answers questions from listeners, interviews experts related to those answers, and explores the interesting intersection of life, death, and law (otherwise known as estate planning).

Liza taught Estate Planning and Taxation at Santa Clara University Law School 2003-2006. She is a member of Collaborative Practice Silicon Valley, the Palo Alto Bar Association, and the Kasner Symposium Planning Committee and the Planning Committee for the Silicon Valley Community Foundation and Stanford University Office of Planned Giving’s Conference on Charitable Giving.

To make an appointment with Liza, or to learn more about her practice, visit www.lizahanks.com.

J.D., Stanford Law School, with Honors, 1996
B.A. in Politics, University of California, Santa Cruz, with Honors
Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice
Professional & Bar Association Memberships
State Bar of California
Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Section, Section Member
Silicon Valley Bar Association

Everyday Estate Planning, Liza Hanks’ Blog
Every Californian’s Guide to Estate Planning, Liza Hanks, Nolo, January 2018,  ed. 1
The Mom’s Guide to Wills and Estate Planning, Liza Hanks, Nolo, October 2009, ed. 1
The Trustee’s Legal Companion, Carol Elias Zoll and Liza Hanks, Nolo, April 2010, ed. 1

LegalConsumer Editors

Our History

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 20th 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 (bankruptcybyzipcode.com)

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 bankruptcy lawyers.

BankruptcyByZipCode endeavors to gather and organize the information and  services you need to solve your consumer debt problems, and present it all in one place.

It was always the plan that Legal Consumer.com would be about more than just bankruptcy. Over time, other distinguished authors have contributed to LegalConsumer.com to add comprehensive, local information on:

How We Make This Information Free To You

Like many free information sites on the internet -- like your favorite newspaper, etc. -- advertising is an essential part of paying the bills and keeping the lights on here.  

Google AdWords Advertising

Certain parts of our site offer ads served up by Google. So, yeah, if you were browsing Amazon, you may see one of those ads for what you were just shopping for... That's a Google ad, like you see on lots of sites all over the web.

Of course there are ad blockers that block that sort of thing... but if you'd like to support free, high quality, consumer-focused legal information for your zip code, we'd appreciate you turning off your ad blocker on this site.

If you'd like to know more about advertising, cookies and all that stuff, check our privacy notice. There are actions you can take with your browser and otherwise if you don't want to be tracked by ad networks.

Lawyer and Broker Matching Services

You will also see ads where you can call or click to be in contact with a lawyer (or in the case of Obamacare, an insurance broker). We are not a law firm or an insurance broker, and the lawyers and brokers you talk to via these servicies are in no way associated with this website. This free lawyer-matching service connects you with local attorneys (or insurance brokers in the case of Obamacare) who offer relevant services in your area. They are paid advertisers who offer services in your location. It is up to you to decide whether to do business with them.

These services are are in no way connected to this website.  We can make no warranty that these services are any better or worse than any other services you may encounter. It is your job to be a savvy consumer. Toward that end, we offer several articles about how to get the most out of working with a lawyer in several specific legal situations. We suggest you read these before contacting a lawyer.

Read our terms of use for more information.

Lawyers, Grow Your Practice 

LegalConsumer.com today hosts approximately 3 million visitors per year. We do not advertise; all of our web traffic comes from stellar, organic, page-one Google rankings.

LegalConsumer.com empowers people to research their legal matters and understand their options. We are looking for quality professionals who can help our users accomplish their tasks, who would like to advertise with us.

Our Bankruptcy section explains the filing process and lists up-to-date state bankruptcy exemptions. Our Means Test Calculator is used by thousands of people every month to determine whether they qualify for Chapter 7 or 13 Bankruptcy. 

On every page we offer a “Talk to a Lawyer” button where users can fill out a short web-form questionnaire about their case which they submit, with their contact information, to connect with a local Bankruptcy attorney. They can also call the lawyer directly from their mobile devices.

 We are not a law firm; we seek law firms nation-wide to connect our site users with the quality legal help they need. Please contact Tom Foley at tom@legalconsumer.com to learn about our lawyer programs.


“Learn what to do. Get help if you need it. Get on with your life.”