In past years, when individuals wanted to find a lawyer, many of them relied on several different tactics, including:
- Word of mouth recommendations;
- Looking through the phone book, such as the Yellow Pages; or
- Reading a newspaper article that mentions law firm names.
Although these options are still available to members of the public currently, they are not usually the most efficient or reliable way to locate a lawyer. Individuals use other methods to find lawyers, including conducting basic online searches or sorting through numerous review websites.
These resources may not be very reliable. In addition, they can be both costly and time-consuming.
The one way to find a lawyer that remains the same for traditional and modern times is to use an attorney referral service.
What Are Attorney Referral Services?
An attorney referral service connects individuals who are seeking the services of an attorney with attorneys who are available to provide those services. An attorney referral service is a database containing the contact information of lawyers who pay to be included in the service.
The service uses criteria provided by the party seeking a lawyer to find a match and provide them with a referral. Referral services are typically provided for free and are maintained by the Bar Association in the state or another public resources provider.
Private attorney referral services may also be available, although they are typically not free to use. When an individual needs legal help, many do not know where to begin searching.
This is where an attorney referral service can be helpful. The individual who is seeking an attorney will contact the referral service and provide relevant search criteria, including their location and the area of law their case involves.
Once this information is collected, the referral service will provide the individual seeking a lawyer with contact information for lawyers who meet their criteria. Most attorney referral services are automated systems that provide instant contact information for attorneys based on the specifics provided by the individual seeking contact information of an attorney.
Although an automated system has several advantages, including instant results, accessibility, and ease of use, many individuals prefer an alternative. This is because automated systems do not take financial needs into account and often provide recommendations that are not affordable for the individual who is seeking an attorney.
In addition, an automated referral service does not filter out lawyers who are not currently taking new cases. A call-in referral service that uses a human operator may eliminate some of these issues.
It is also important to note that not every lawyer referral service is comprehensive because lawyers usually pay a fee to be included in a referral services directory. Some lawyers will be included in some services but not in others.
How Can I Find an Attorney in Rhode Island?
The Rhode Island Bar Association provides a lawyer referral service that can be reached by telephone. Using this service is free of charge, as is the individual’s first consultation with their attorney.
To use the Rhode Island Bar Association lawyer referral service, individuals must provide some basic information about themselves and their legal issues. Then, an attorney referral will be provided to them.
Many private attorney referral services are available in the State of Rhode Island. Most of these services are online and allow for 24/7 access.
These services are typically able to offer a more comprehensive and complete service because of the fact that they have a national or regional reach. A private attorney referral service will often provide several referrals at one time instead of one referral at a time, as provided by the Rhode Island Bar Association.
Private attorney referral services may also provide additional information about the referred lawyer. This information may include educational and case history.
In contrast, the Bar Association simply provides contact information.
What Is LegalMatch?
LegalMatch determined that there could be a better way for members of the general public to make informed decisions regarding how to find and select the best attorney for their case. LegalMatch was first launched in 2000 and aimed to simplify and revolutionize the traditional way of finding the right attorney.
LegalMatch wanted to move away from the traditional lawyer referral service and place the power of connection directly into the hands of lawyers and potential clients. With this basis, a new search method was created.
LegalMatch is a proprietary business software connecting potential clients or users with local attorneys. Essentially, how it works is that a potential client registers for free and explains their case in a submission form.
These provided details are then sent to local attorneys who practice in the legal fields relevant to the potential client’s issue. Lawyers who receive alerts can then review the materials provided and determine whether or not they are interested in taking the case and if they are available to take on the issue.
Once these two things are determined, the lawyer will contact the potential client directly and schedule a consultation to discuss their case. The potential client can then decide whether to hire the recommended lawyer.
The potential client is not obligated to hire that specific lawyer and they will not be charged a fee for finding another lawyer.
How Can LegalMatch Help Me Find an Attorney in Rhode Island?
Although a lawyer referral service, whether private or provided by a state bar association, is a helpful resource, it may not always be the best option. You may be left wondering if the referred lawyer is best suited to take on your case or if they were just the next lawyer in the service queue to be referred.
In addition, as noted above, some bar associations charge for their services. The fee often ranges from $20 to $25 for each referral.
These referrals typically do not include any information on the attorney’s work history or education. Although a private referral service can cover what bar association referral services lack, they still charge a fee to use the service, which may be a barrier for some individuals who are seeking legal assistance.
LegalMatch simplifies the process of finding a Rhode Island attorney by moving away from the typical attorney referral format. Instead of finding only one lawyer, you can choose the lawyer who is right for you based on your needs.
Every lawyer on LegalMatch is pre-screened. This means they:
- Have a license from the bar association in their state;
- Have good references; and
- Are in good standing with the bar association in their state.
In addition, LegalMatch provides you with detailed information about all prospective attorney matches, including:
- Their educational history, including their law school and undergraduate education;
- The attorney’s legal experience;
- The types of cases they have handled;
- Their legal fees and what they charge; and
- Ratings from previous clients.
One of the most convenient things about LegalMatch is that you only have to state your legal issue one time. With other lawyer services, whether they are human-operated or automated, you may have to repeat yourself multiple times during the search process.
With LegalMatch, you can post your legal issue anonymously so potential lawyers matched to you can view the details of your case without seeing your name. Throughout the process, your confidentiality is preserved.
If you are seeking legal assistance, give LegalMatch a try. It will cost you nothing, but you stand to gain excellent service from lawyers ready to help you.