More on Attorney/Lawyer Referrals
A lawyer referral service is typically offered by state and local bar associations as a public service. The purpose of a lawyer referral service is to increase access to justice by referring members of the general public to lawyers in private practice or to legal aid organizations or agencies for a nominal fee. Increasingly, the public is turning away from these services and toward online attorney-client matchmaking services like Lawdingo.com.
A potential client who contacts a lawyer referral service is directed to a lawyer who practices in the area of law that is most appropriate for their situation. If a client is unable to afford a lawyer and the legal problem is not a matter that can be handled by a lawyer on a percentage fee basis, the client is directed to a legal aid organization for help. There is a difference between referral service programs that are certified by the American Bar Association and state bar associations.
For those lawyer referral service programs which are certified, minimum qualification standards are established for the lawyers who wish to participate in the program to receive referrals. Certified lawyer referral service programs are approved by the American Bar Association for compliance with the Model Supreme Court Rules Governing Lawyer Referral and Information Services ABA Model Supreme Court Rules Certified services use a rotation method to ensure an equitable distribution of referrals in a given practice area among the lawyers who have been qualified. The American Bar Association provides a list of the national network of certified lawyer referral service programs, with most states having a service listed. The cost to the potential client for an initial consultation with an experienced lawyer is usually very modest. In many cases, there is a maximum fee set by the bar association for the initial consultation with the lawyer.
Lawyer referral services refer to lawyers in most areas of law, including but not limited to criminal law, family law, real estate law, personal injury, estate planning and administration, employment law and insurance law.