When you’re faced with legal situations, you may find yourself floundering in a stressful and confusing experience. Consulting an experienced attorney can help put you on the right path and give you peace of mind. But if you don’t know an attorney personally, how do you find someone to help you?  

Thankfully, you are not alone. Many people turn to attorney referral services to make the task of finding the right lawyer a little bit easier and less overwhelming.

What are Local Attorney Referral Services?

If you’re seeking legal help in Colorado, your state bar association is a great place to start your search. Many state bar associations offer lawyer referral services, where you can give a brief explanation of your situation and the type of help you’re looking for. Then the association gives you the names of attorneys who practice in the area that would be most helpful to you.

The Colorado Bar Association offers a “Find-a-Lawyer” program on their website, which asks you for the type of law your situation concerns, and the county you are located in. The program then gives you a list of attorneys who fit those requirements.

Of course, with only these two requirements being considered, you may still be a little overwhelmed by the list you get back — there are hundreds of attorneys who practice family law or personal injury law in any given area.

Even if your situation is a little more specific, like intellectual property, you still may receive a list of over 100 attorneys who practice in your area. Not only that, but there is no information about the cost of the initial conversation with the lawyer, even if you select one from the list of referrals you receive.

There are also other more targeted referral services that can provide referrals. However these services only serve particular areas, and may only be able to give recommendations for a handful of counties.

The Metropolitan Lawyer Referral Service provides referrals for several counties, including the areas around Denver, Boulder, and Aurora. When you call in, the service will discuss the facts of your case with you during an initial screening process.

They will then set up a free 30 minute consultation with a lawyer that they feel meets the needs of your case. However, while your consultation itself is free, there is a cost of $50 to use the service.

The El Paso County Bar Association also provides a lawyer referral service that covers El Paso County and Teller County. There is a fee of $40 to use the service, and the initial consultation is free. However, this service will only provide you with the referrals, and does not set up the initial consultation for you.

The Denver Bar Association will not make specific referrals of attorneys, but will refer you to other services (like the Metropolitan Lawyer Referral Service or the Colorado State Bar database) in order to receive names of attorneys who may be able to help you.

What are Private Referral Services?

In addition to the local county-based referral services, there are also many private lawyer referral services that you can choose from. These offer a great service as well, working to match your concerns with individual attorneys who practice in your area and work in the specific types of law that most closely relate to your situation. Many of these services are available online, which means that you can access them 24 hours a day, rather than during regular business hours (like some services that are available only by telephone).

Most online services provide multiple referrals, so you can get a reasonable list of potential lawyers to choose from, and some may also include additional information about the lawyers you’re connected with to help you choose the right person to work with. These private services are often free to use, and many have pre-negotiated low rates for your initial consultation fees.

How Should I Prepare for an Initial Consultation?

When meeting with a lawyer for the first time, you want to make sure that you prepare for your meeting beforehand in order to make most of your time. Many of these initial consultations run between 30 minutes to an hour, so you want to be efficient in order to get the information you need and make the determination on whether you are willing to work with this attorney.  

Bring any papers or documents that you think may be important to the initial consultation, and be prepared to give the lawyer all of the background information on your case. Giving the background details allows the lawyer to get an accurate picture of your situation and give you the best advice based on the facts of the case. You may want to also prepare a list of questions you have to ask during your appointment. If you don’t, you run the risk of forgetting to ask something important.

It’s a good idea to bring up the idea of costs during your consultation, perhaps towards the end of your appointment. If your issue requires more work than the initial consultation, you will want to get the attorney’s rates in writing so that you know exactly what to expect and what services you are paying for (if you decide to work with that attorney).

What Should I Know About Hiring a Lawyer?

You do not have to hire a lawyer to work on your case just because you’ve had an initial consultation with them. You are free to seek out a lawyer that you are comfortable working with. Don’t feel like you have to commit to the very first person you talk to.

Once you are working with an attorney, it is a good idea to make sure you keep records of the work on your case. File any documents or materials that you receive from your attorney in a safe place, and keep all your documents together. Your file can often be a great resource in answering questions you might have about your case and the work that your attorney is doing on your behalf.

Should I Hire a Colorado Lawyer?

If you are facing a legal situation and require help in Colorado, it is in your best interests to contact an experienced Colorado lawyer. The right lawyer can help you talk through your situation, advise you on the best way to proceed, and help protect your rights.

If you aren’t sure about using a referral system, then you can consider using an alternative like LegalMatch. LegalMatch offers an easy online matching service that can help you find Colorado lawyers who specialize in the type of legal issue you may be dealing with.