An attorney referral service is essentially a directory of lawyers an individual can use to find legal help for their case. An attorney referral service keeps a database or network of lawyers to connect individuals who need attorneys with lawyers in their network.
These services keep records of information about lawyers to help individuals who are seeking referrals to attorneys who specialize in the legal area the potential client needs. In many cases, it is difficult for an individual to know where to start when they are looking for a lawyer.
An attorney referral service can be a useful tool because it helps simplify the process and provides individuals with a starting point. Once an individual decides they need a lawyer, they may contact one of these services.
Once they do, the service will collect information about the potential client and their issue and use that information to direct the individual toward a lawyer in their database who specializes in the area of law needed for their client’s legal issues. These services are not intended to provide guidance or legal advice.
Instead, they are intended to provide a connection to a qualified professional who may be suited to take the case. Sometimes, a non-profit organization or advocacy group may offer lawyer referral services.
Typically, attorney referral services are provided by state and local bar associations. These are generally provided as an important public service.
There are, however, some for-profit corporations that offer lawyer referral services. In addition, most of these services are free for potential clients.
The lawyers in the database usually must pay a fee to be included in the directory. This means one referral service may have a different database than others.
It is important to note that, because of this, no one service is exhaustive and complete.
What Are Some Pros and Cons of Utilizing an Automated Referral System?
Most lawyer referral services are automated systems. One benefit of automated systems is that the potential client is provided instantly with tomcat information for lawyers that may meet their needs from selected criteria.
An automated referral system provides greater accessibility for individuals who cannot use a telephone or are not comfortable doing so initially. It is also easy to quickly compile information for several potential lawyers at one time and typically takes less time.
As previously noted, however, not every service maintains the contact information of every lawyer that may be suited for the case. Automated systems may not fully understand an individual’s specific legal needs.
In addition, automated systems may not consider the financial needs of the potential client when providing a recommendation. Because of this, many individuals seeking a lawyer prefer using a service that is not automated.
One example of this would be a lawyer referral telephone number operated by individuals who may be more likely to comprehend the potential client’s financial and legal needs. A human operator is also more likely to provide a potential client with more accurate information better suited to their needs.
A private referral service is typically more complete and can provide several attorney referrals. This is because they usually maintain a larger legal database on their website for potential clients.
The most qualified private referral services will limit the referrals to lawyers taking on new clients.
How Can I Find an Attorney in Michigan?
A good first step to finding an attorney in Michigan is the Michigan State Bar. The state bar maintains a lawyer referral service which is free.
The initial consultation fee for the first meeting with a lawyer located through this service is capped at $20. If an individual prefers to use a more local service, the American Bar Association’s (ABA) website contains the contact information for roughly ten Michigan County Bar Associations.
These Associations maintain their own lawyer referral services that are generally free to use. These services, however, may prove to be limited. It is important to note that the State Bar of Michigan and most County Bar services do not offer online services. These associations can only be reached by phone.
Also, they will only provide one attorney referral at a time. This means a potential client will have to contact the recommended lawyer, and if that lawyer does not work, the individual will have to contact the referral service again for another lead.
These services also do not provide much information other than the name and phone number of the lawyer they are referring to the client. If an individual needs a lawyer in Michigan and is looking for a more comprehensive referral service, they may want to consider using a private referral service.
As previously discussed, these services often have a complete database with additional information, including the attorney’s educational background and work history. These services are provided online and are simple to use.
They also provide multiple-layer referrals at one time. Individuals in the greater Grand Rapids area may find the Lawyer Referral Services in Kent County, MI, helpful.
Individuals in the greater Detroit area can contact the Lawyer Referral Services in Wayne County, MI. LegalMatch is another excellent resource that can assist an individual with locating a qualified Michigan attorney in their area.
LegalMatch is not a referral service. However, through the matching system, LegalMatch can direct potential clients with legal needs to lawyers who can meet those needs.
All an individual has to do is submit information about their case and what they need from their attorney, and they will receive replies from lawyers who are ready to take on their case.
What Are Some Benefits of Using LegalMatch Verses as an Attorney Referral Service?
There are numerous benefits that LegalMatch can offer over a traditional lawyer referral service, including:
- All lawyers are pre-screened: This means that every lawyer registered with LegalMatch must:
- Have a bar license in their state;
- Have excellent references;
- Not have any serious disciplinary issues;
- Be in good standing with their state bar association;
- LegalMatch provides detailed information about all prospective lawyer matches: With typical attorney referral services, an individual only receives the name and phone number of the attorney. Any additional would come from the individual’s independent search. In contrast, LegalMatch provides additional information with every potential lawyer match, including:
- The attorney’s legal experience;
- The attorney’s educational history, including their undergraduate and law school education;
- Legal fees; and
- Ratings from previous clients of the lawyer;
- A potential client only has to state their legal issue once: With typical lawyer referral services, an individual must repeat their issue multiple times, especially if they have to call back for additional referrals. With LegalMatch, a potential client posts their legal issue one time online, and attorneys respond;
- A potential client can post their legal issue anonymously: LegalMatch allows potential clients to post their issues confidentially and anonymously from their own homes or office. Potential lawyer matches will see the individual’s issue but not their name; and
- LegalMatch backs up all of its lawyers’ matches with a $1,000-$5,000 satisfaction guarantee: Attorney referral services do not offer these guarantees.
LegalMatch provides a risk-free way to submit your legal issue to attorneys available to work on your case immediately.