Attorney Referral Services in New York

Authored by , LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor and Attorney at Law

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Finding an attorney in the state of New York can be an intimidating task.  Fortunately, a lawyer referral service, or “LRS”, can help ease much of the burden associated with lawyer searches.

The majority of New York lawyer referral services are offered by a larger legal body such as a bar association.  Nearly every county in New York has an independent bar association, such as the Eerie County Bar Association or the Queens County Bar Association.  New York City also has its own bar association.  Bar associations typically offer LRS functions, sometimes for a fee.  

If you have a specific legal need, there are many legal associations that tailor to unique situations.  For example, the state of New York maintains specialized legal organizations like the Women’s Bar Association of New York or the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.  These kinds of specialty organizations can be a starting point if you are dealing with a very narrow issue. 

Thus, you may wish to define your legal issue before you begin your search.  Knowing your own needs can help eliminate much of the guesswork in finding the appropriate lawyer.  On the other hand, you might actually need a lawyer to help you determine whether you have a viable legal claim or not.  In fact, that is a main purpose of most attorney referral services- to help determine whether your dispute is weighty enough to be heard in court. 

What usually happens is that the lawyer referral service will provide you with the contact information of an attorney (some services charge a fee for this step).  You will then call the attorney for an initial consultation.  This typically lasts about half an hour and will cost anywhere from $35-$50.  If the attorney concludes that you have a potential claim, it’s up to you to schedule them for more advice or for representation at their hourly rates.   

Lawyer referral operations are governed by both the American Bar Association rules and New York state laws.  For instance, New York has some very strict standards when it comes to lawyer fees in relation to referrals.  You might want to do some background research on any referral organization you are considering using.        

Finally, be aware that while lawyer referral services can be helpful in finding New York Lawyers, they can also involve some amount of risk.  This is because the majority of LRS organizations do not allow clients to choose their attorney or to conduct background research on them.  Many of them simply assign an attorney to a potential client based on their legal issue. 

You can maximize your options by working with an organization that compares several different lawyer referral services, such as LawyerReferralServices.org 

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Last Modified: 02-04-2014 06:35 AM PST

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