Lawyer referrals can be hard to come by in Ohio, especially if you’ve never hired a lawyer before. Yellow pages and other directories might offer some help, although these can sometimes be unreliable. Lawyer referral services (LRS) can be more reliable sources for attorney searches.
It may be somewhat of a challenge to find an attorney in the state of Ohio. The Ohio State Bar Association does not have a lawyer referral service of its own. Instead, you’d probably have to contact your individual county bar association to find out more about local referrals. But unlike other states, Ohio does have an “Attorney Specialization Program” that allows attorneys to claim a specialization in a particular field of interest. So, if you need a certain specialty attorney, you can include that information in your search.
The good thing about lawyer referral services is that they often direct their services toward a particular legal need. For example, if you need a local attorney, you can contact a local bar association such as the Cuyahoga County Bar Association. Or, if you need a particular type of lawyer, groups like the Ohio Association of Civil Trial Attorneys or the Ohio Women’s Bar Association can be a great place to start. Most of these legal associations offer LRS programs for a monetary fee.
A major drawback of many lawyer referral services is that you don’t have the option of screening which attorneys are assigned to you. For example, if you wanted to know a particular lawyer’s trial record, the referral service probably won’t provide you with that information. Also, almost all attorney referral services require some sort of fee. The fees are generally small- usually under $100- but be sure to figure these costs into your overall expenses.
Lawyer referral services in Ohio must abide by various ethics and professional conduct rules. These may cover a wide range of aspects, including the way they advertise, handle fees, and process referrals.
The last thing that you want to happen is to find a lawyer, only to discover that they aren’t right for you. You can avoid such situations by being thorough in your search and by clearly defining your legal needs. You can visit websites like Lawyer Referral Services to view comparisons of different LRS programs.