Attorney referral services are resources that assist individuals with finding lawyers who practice in the legal field they need for their issues. Typically, lawyer referral services are run by the state’s bar association.
Depending on the size of the state, there may also be bar associations in counties or cities. Referral services that local and state bar associations provide usually cost between $20 to $25 per attorney referral.
Does Florida Have Attorney Referral Services?
If an individual faces a civil lawsuit or criminal charges, the gravity of the legal consequences they may face can feel overwhelming. An individual may also be facing a situation where they feel like they need protection or some form of legal assistance and have no idea who to turn to or where to begin.
If an individual lives in Florida, several legal referral services were created to help point residents of the state in the right direction when searching for an attorney. This article will provide a guide to the various lawyer referral services that the State of Florida has to offer.
Does the Florida Bar Association Have a Referral Program?
The organizations that oversee the legal profession in states are called state bar associations. Every state has its own bar association that regulates many aspects of the legal profession, such as:
- The testing procedures to become an attorney;
- Ethics issues and complaints;
- Continued learning for bar members; and
- Other issues.
The Florida Bar Association has a free attorney referral service that allows members of the general public to submit questions about a possible legal issue they are facing through their contact form on their website or by calling their office.
If an individual contacts the Florida Bar Association referral service, they will take an individual’s information and provide a list of attorneys who may meet their needs. The individual can then contact one of the lawyers and set up a consultation.
Some lawyers will offer free consultations. Those that do will not charge more than $25 per the association’s guidelines.
Although the referral service is free, the legal services may not be. Once a lawyer accepts a case, they will schedule a fee with their client.
Does Florida Have Any Legal Aid Programs?
Legal aid provides advocacy and counsel for individuals close to or below the poverty level. These services are less centralized than the Florida Bar Association referral service because most legal aid offices are run by a county association rather than a state one.
Legal aid will support individuals only in civil cases. This is because public defenders handle criminal cases.
Some associations provide limited legal services, including:
- Estate and probate;
- Divorce and family law; and
- Social security appeals.
Most legal aid programs require an individual to fill out an application that includes proof of income to ensure they qualify for the services and the visit to their office. If an individual is unsure if they qualify or are unable to get to the office, there is an online-based program called Florida Free Legal Answers that may be a good place to start.
The American Bar Association supports this program. If they cannot help, they may be able to point an individual to someone who can.
Are there Pro Bono Attorneys in Florida?
Pro bono means “for free” in Latin. This phrase is used when a lawyer represents a client without charging their normal rate.
Most legal aid programs offer their services for free if a client qualifies based on their income. Contacting the local bar association is a great place to start searching for a pro bono attorney outside of a legal aid organization.
These associations often keep lists of lawyers who provide pro bono services. They may be able to match an individual with a lawyer to practice in their legal issue.
Many states do not require attorneys to handle pro bono cases. However, the Florida Bar Association requires all attorneys to perform at least 20 pro bono hours annually.
This is how the Florida Bar Association gives back to the public and provides services to individuals who otherwise could not afford them. In contrast to legal aid programs, pro bono attorneys are not restricted in the types of cases they can handle.
What if I Am Looking for a Particular Type of Attorney?
In some cases, an individual will know what type of lawyer they need but need assistance narrowing their search to ensure the lawyer they find is both located in their area and handles the types of cases they have.
Search engines and the internet may be able to provide this information. However, knowing which lawyers to trust to handle a case can be more difficult.
The Florida Bar Association website provides a list of definitions for the various areas of law that firms and lawyers practice in, from administrative law to zoning and land use. An individual may still be unsure about which lawyer best fits their needs.
LegalMatch was created exactly for these situations. The website allows you to narrow your lawyer search by state, local, and practice area.
From there, LegalMatch can provide an individual with a range of highly rated and recommended lawyers in their area. Unlike a referral service, the individual can then decide which lawyer is best suited for their needs.
LegalMatch provides you with a free and simple service. You simply post your case on the LegalMatch website and wait for lawyers to respond to you.
You can then choose the lawyer you feel best suits your needs, and they will begin working on your case. When handling personal legal issues, the right fit is key.
What Are Some Benefits of Using LegalMatch Versus an Attorney Referral Service?
LegalMatch provides you with many benefits over a traditional lawyer referral service, including:
- All attorneys are pre-screened: Every LegalMach attorney is required to:
- Have a valid bar license;
- Have excellent references;
- Not have any serious disciplinary problems; and
- Be in good standing with their particular state bar association;
- LegalMatch provides detailed information about prospective lawyer matches: When using LegalMatch, an individual will be provided with information, including:
- The attorney’s educational history, including their undergraduate and law school education;
- The lawyer’s legal experience;
- What types of cases they handle;
- Legal fees; and
- Ratings from other clients that they have previously represented;
- Potential clients only need to state their legal issue one time: An individual only has to explain their case once during the submissions process, and then they have control over which attorney they choose to hire;
- A potential client can post their case while remaining completely confidential throughout the process: An individual can post anonymously from the comfort of their home or from the office where they work;
- Potential attorney matches will see the facts of the case but not the potential client’s name; and
- LegalMatch backs all of its lawyer matches with a $1,000-$5,000 Satisfaction Guarantee. Attorney referral services offer no such guarantees.
LegalMatch helps you find a Florida lawyer in a way that is far superior to bar referral services or the Yellow Pages. Best of all, you have nothing to lose because you can try it for free and find the lawyer who is the best fit for you.