When an individual is faced with a legal situation and they do not know where to turn, it can be extremely helpful to consult with a qualified attorney who can answer their questions. Sometimes, however, an individual may not know what attorney to speak to or even where to begin.
In the State of California where there are numerous attorneys currently practicing law and it may be difficult to find just the right one. The good news is there is no shortage of resources for someone who is seeking legal assistance.
What are Lawyer Referral Services?
Many state bar associations offer lawyer referral services. These are services where an individual can provide details regarding their situation, answer some intake questions, and receive referrals to attorneys who practice in the area of law which is most likely to be helpful to them.
Lawyer referral services are often run by the bar association of a particular state. Depending on the size of the state, they may be further broken down by the state’s affiliated county or city’s bar association. So if an individual cannot find a referral service on their state bar website, they can check more localized county or city bar associations.
If an individual is seeking help in California, however, the state bar association operates a little differently than other states. The California State Bar does not provide any legal advice nor does it make any direct referrals. It does, however, maintain a list of various referral services that an individual can trust.
In order for an attorney referral service to be listed on the California State Bar website, it must be certified by the State Bar Association. In order to be certified by the California State Bar, the lawyer referral service must be in compliance with specific rules and standards under California law.
The referral services provided by state and local bar associations typically have a referral fee of anywhere between $20 to $25 per attorney referral. A referral service can be a hit-or-miss approach to finding an attorney who is a good fit for the individual’s case and may be time consuming and costly.
Is LegalMatch a Certified Attorney Referral Service in California?
LegalMatch is an excellent alternative to a traditional California attorney referral service. LegalMatch.com is the first and currently the only attorney matching engine to be certified and licensed as an attorney referral service under the California State Bar, CA Bar Certified Lawyer Referral Service #0140.
Pursuant to the rules of the California State Bar, any engine or service which sends potential clients to an attorney may be classified as an attorney referral service. Therefore, they are required to be certified by the California State Bar as a legitimate attorney referral service.
The services provided by LegalMatch are unique in that an individual with a potential legal issue may visit the LegalMatch website, fill out an online form and provide information regarding their case, and then be matched with local attorneys who can assist with their case. Rather than waiting for a manual match, such as those provided by other referral services, LegalMatch provides quick matches with lawyers who practice in the area of law the individual is seeking.
Using this method, the individual is provided information regarding multiple attorneys, including some background information. This way, the individual can make their own informed decision based on the lawyer’s profile information and keep their case moving forward.
LegalMatch offers many benefits over traditional lawyer referral services, including:
- All attorneys are pre-screened. Each attorney registered with LegalMatch is required to have:
- a valid bar license;
- excellent references;
- no serious disciplinary problems; and are
- good standing with their state bar association;
- LegalMatch allows the individual to view detailed information about all prospective attorney matches. When using LegalMatch, they can learn the attorney’s educational history, including:
- undergraduate and law school education;
- legal experience;
- what types of cases they handle;
- legal fees and charges; and
- ratings from other clients whom they have previously represented;
- With LegalMatch, the individual seeking a lawyer only needs to state their legal issue one time. LegalMatch makes it so the individual explains their case once during the submissions process, and then they have control over which attorney they choose to hire;
- LegalMatch permits an individual to post their case while remaining completely confidential throughout the process. They can post anonymously from the comfort of their home, or from the office where they work. Potential attorney matches will see the facts of your case, but not the individual’s name;
- LegalMatch backs every attorney match with a $1,000-$5,000 Satisfaction Guarantee; and
- LegalMatch abandons the concept of an attorney referral service and concentrates on being the ultimate platform for lawyers and potential clients to meet and make connections.
Over 98% of LegalMatch users state that they would use the service again and would recommend it to their friends. LegalMatch offers a way to find an attorney which is far superior to bar referral services, the Yellow Pages, or searching online.
What About Local Referral Services?
In addition to the certified referral services listed by a state bar, there are also many local bar associations an individual can reach out to. Most counties and most major cities have their own bar associations, such as the Bar Association of San Francisco or the Sacramento County Bar Association.
It is important to note that these referral services may be limited to the specific county or city in which they are located and they may also charge a fee for their services. In addition, some of them may be limited in terms of the number of lawyers who are in their network.
What are Private Attorney Referral Services?
A private attorney referral service is another type of lawyer referral service. There are some private California legal associations which may be able to refer an individual to a lawyer who will suit their specific needs, such as the Mexican American Bar Association of Los Angeles County.
Many private legal associations also host free legal clinics to help members of the public receive assistance with some types of legal issues, which may include:
Can I Get Help From Legal Aid?
Yes, the California State Bar funds several legal aid organizations across the state which provide legal services to individuals with low or moderate incomes who may not otherwise be able to afford an attorney.
The California State Bar website provides a listing of legal aid organizations, many of which serve specific geographical areas or focus on a particular area of interest, such as mental health advocacy or disability rights.
It is important to keep in mind that legal aid organizations are often very busy and cannot take every case. These organizations often have limited resources and, therefore, free legal services are not available to everyone.
What Else Should I Know About Using a Lawyer Referral Service?
Lawyer referral services can be excellent resources for locating an attorney, but they do have drawbacks. It is important to be aware there may be fees, even before contacting an attorney.
Many services charge a fee for providing the attorney’s contact information then leave it up to the individual to contact the attorney themselves. The attorney may also charge an initial consultation fee.
LegalMatch, however, does not charge these fees and the matching services are provided at no charge online. If an individual uses any type of referral service in California, it is important to ensure they provide an official California State Bar Referral Service number.
Should I Hire a California Lawyer?
Yes, it is essential to hire a California lawyer for any legal issues you are facing in California. There are many lawyer referral services available in the state.
LegalMatch.com provides the easiest, most convenient way to contact attorneys that can help with your case, at no initial charge. Do not face complicated legal issues alone, use LegalMatch’s lawyer referral service today.