Finding the right lawyer can be a challenging task. Many people living in Texas choose to begin their search for an attorney by using a lawyer referral service ("LRS").
Lawyer Referral Services Are Organized by Location
Compared to other states, Texas has a number of large, highly populated cities. Thus, Texas lawyer referral services are typically arranged according to geographic region. For example, "Lawyer Referral Service of Houston" and "Dallas Lawyer Referral Services."
Also, Texas counties often have specific bar associations that include lawyer referral services. For example, "Jefferson County Bar Association Lawyer Referral Services" and "San Antonio Bar Association Lawyer Referral Services." While these types of local agencies can provide referrals, they can sometimes be limited in the range of attorneys that they offer.
Private Legal Associations’ Referral Lists
Private Texas legal associations that work specifically in one area of law or with a certain demographic group may have their own lawyer referral lists as well. Examples of these include the Texas Academy of Family Law Specialists and the Dallas Asian-American Bar Association. These specialized legal associations can be helpful if you have a very specific legal issue or an unique personal need. Finally, the State Bar of Texas itself offers a Lawyer Referral Information Service (LRIS). As with many other types of referral services, the State Bar LRIS program may involve some monetary fees for contact information and initial consultation.
Potential Fees for Using Lawyer Referral Services
Using a lawyer referral service can help you avoid much of the confusion involved in finding a good lawyer. However, you should also be aware that most lawyer referral services involve fees for their services, which are separate from any fees for legal advice actually provided by the attorney. Most services do not provide clients with access to an attorney’s background information, such as their trial record.
Things to Do Before Using a Lawyer Referral Service
Before you consult with any lawyer referral service in Texas for attorneys, you may wish to familiarize yourself with the requirements that such services must abide by. Some referral services prescreen their lawyers, while others simply list their lawyers.
For example, Texas Occupations Codes require all lawyers who work with a referral service to be certified and in good standing with the Texas State Bar. Furthermore, these Codes require all lawyer referral services to have procedures for clients to file complaints or make comments regarding the quality of services.