WARM LINE/HELP DESK: 650-638-0800


Legal Resources


For detailed information, use the following links to key legal topics related to individuals and families.


Legal Assistance:
Bay Area Legal Aid, Redwood City (650) 358-0745
Community Legal Service, East Palo Alto (Housing, Immigration, Economic Placement) (650) 326-6440
Housing Emergency Legal Aid (650) 517-8911
Legal Aid Society, Redwood City (800) 381-8898

Conservator investigator of San Mateo County: (Legal Advice & Restraining Order Clinic)
Danielle LaCampage:  (650) 599-1034 or (650) 363-4117

NAMI SMC does not make recommendations for any particular attorney.

Special Needs-Trust Attorneys-Probate-LPS Conservatorship-Estate Planning
Robert Brady, Redwood City (650) 364-4700
Ellen Cookman, Palo Alto  (650) 690 2571
Mark Gilfix, Palo Alto, San Jose (800) 244-9424 or (650) 493-8070
Baron Miller,  San Francisco (415) 522-0500
Jonathan McDougall, San Carlos (650) 594 4200
Catherine Raye-Wong, San Carlos (650) 591-7352

Attorneys who work with Pathways and Misdemeanor Trial competence restoration calendar:

  • Melissa McKowan (650) 722-4837 mckowan22@gmail.com – As a deputy district attorney, Melissa initiated multiple improvements in the competence restoration process, reducing time that defendants spend in custody awaiting restoration. She now practices as a defense attorney and continues to increase efficiency of that process while also serving in the Private Defender Program. She advocates tirelessly for people in custody with serious mental illness.
  • Alex Easterbrook (650) 722-0927 or (650) 298-4000.  easterbrooka@gmail.com – Alex has represented candidates and participants in the Pathways Mental Health Court with sensitivity and acumen throughout the program’s existence. He brings extensive knowledge and experience to his practice and affiliates with the Private Defender Program.
  • Tanya O’Malley (650) 631-3873 tomalleylaw@yahoo.com – Tanya has long anchored Private Defender representation for the misdemeanor trial competence restoration calendar, working closely with Melissa McKowan (then a deputy district attorney). Tanya has regularly represented candidates and participants on the Pathways calendar, as well as partnering with several departments in seeking appropriate, rapid releases on own recognizance for misdemeanor defendants with serious mental illness through the CAMI (Court Alternatives for the Mentally Ill) program.
  • Workers’ Compensation Specialist:
    Kenneth Martinson
    (408) 375-8135 kennethmesq@msn.com851 Cherry Avenue, Ste 27 100, San Bruno CA  94066. Spanish is spoken. 




AOT Services Launched July 1, 2016

To make a referral, call 650-372-6125 or email AOT@smcgov.org.

Learn more about San Mateo County’s AOT process and team at: www.smchealth.org/AOT.

Together Towards Recovery 

Developed out of the San Mateo County’s adoption of Laura’s Law (Assembly Bill 1421) in the summer of 2015, the Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) is a program that reaches out to people with a severe mental illness who are not connected to services and are challenged with living safely and stably in our community.

The AOT team works collaboratively with individuals, their family members and partners to provide the right care at the right place and time. Our dedicated team helps decrease mental health crises, hospitalizations, incarceration and homelessness while helping people achieve and maintain their physical and mental health.

SMC’s AOT outreaches to people who are not connected to treatment and engages them in services provided by Caminar’s Full Service Partnership (FSP), a community based program which provides intensive mental health services. The program includes 24/7 care and services such as intensive case management, psychiatry, medication management, benefit and housing support, life skill development, as well as guidance and support to help people reach their recovery goals.

San Mateo County joins other Bay Area counties, including San Francisco and Contra Costa, and over a dozen other counties throughout the state in implementing Laura’s Law and the AOT.

Through this early implementation in other counties, Assisted Outpatient Treatment has been shown to:

  • save lives
  • reduce homelessness, hospitalizations, crime, arrests, and incarceration
  • help families and reduce caregiver stress
  • save money on arrests, incarcerations, and hospitalizations


A person must meet all of these conditions to be eligible for AOT: Have a history of not following through with treatment for their mental illness resulting in:

  • Being hospitalized and/or incarcerated two or more times within the last 3 years.
  • Or, having threatened or attempted a significantly dangerous behavior towards themselves or others at least one time in the past 2 years.
  • Were previously offered treatment on a voluntary basis and refused it, and whose health is quickly declining.

To make a referral, call 650-372-6125 or email AOT@smcgov.org.

Learn more about San Mateo County’s AOT process and team at: www.smchealth.org/AOT.

– Terry Wilcox-Rittgers. SMC BHRS Wellness Matters, July 2016