Oftentimes it is difficult to find and hire an experienced attorney that specializes in the particular field of law that you need for your particular legal issue. Therefore, many people typically began their search for an attorney by utilizing an attorney referral service. An attorney referral service is essentially a service provider that maintains a network of attorneys. The service provider utilizes the network to connect people in need of lawyers with an attorney in their network.
Generally, when utilizing an attorney referral service, a potential client will first contact the service provider, who will then direct them towards an attorney in their network who practices in the area of law needed for their legal issue. For example, in the state of Texas over 50,000 individuals utilize the State Bar of Texas’ lawyer referral and information service when beginning their search for an attorney.
However, sometimes a lawyer referral service has an automated system in place that directs potential clients to attorneys in the network. This means that there is a great possibility that the attorney you are referred to may not be able to meet your specific legal needs or be within your financial means. Thus, it is important to fully understand how attorney referral services operate, in order to make sure you choose the best attorney referral service provider for you.
Should I Use an Automated Referral Service Provider?
As mentioned above, many attorney referral services in Texas have an online attorney referral system. Online attorney referral systems are convenient in that they allow you to immediately provide a bit of information regarding your particular legal issue. They can then provide you with the contact information of an attorney in their network.
However, one big flaw of utilizing an automated system, rather than a nonautomated system run by humans, is that the online system may not be able to fully understand your legal issues or take your financial means into account. Therefore, numerous individuals typically prefer to utilize a nonautomated system when seeking out an attorney. This is because the operator on the other end will be capable of comprehending their legal issues than an automated system.
Additionally, an individual operator will also be able to take into account your financial means as well. For example, for individuals in need of low cost or free legal services, the operator may refer them to other resources sponsored by the State Bar of Texas for lower income clients that need legal assistance. The State Bar of Texas also certifies referral services operated by local bar associations and non-profit public service organizations. In addition to non-profit organizations, there are also numerous for-profit organizations that offer referral services in Texas.
How Are Attorney Referral Services Organized in Texas?
It is not an understatement to say that Texas is a very large state. In fact there are over 254 counties in the, which is far more than any other state in the United States. Importantly, the county in which you reside will have “jurisdiction” over your legal issues. The term jurisdiction essentially refers to the court’s authority to call all of the parties into the courthouse to resolve the legal controversy.
It is important that you are able to locate an attorney that is in your area or in the area that may have jurisdiction over your particular legal issue. Thus, attorney referral services in Texas are often primarily organized by county or according to geographic region. For example the “Dallas Bar Association referral service” serves the Dallas area, while the “Harris County Bar Association” serves Houston and the surrounding areas. Additionally, there are also smaller local county referral services, such as the “Jefferson County Bar Association” that offer referral services for less populated areas in Texas.
However, local attorney referral services may sometimes be limited in the amount of attorneys that are in their network. Therefore, it may be better to utilize a for-profit attorney referral service or a statewide referral service to find a more experienced attorney. Additionally, if you know the type of lawyer that you are seeking, a private legal association that works specifically in that area of the law may also be a good option to help you connect with an attorney qualified to assist you.
Are There Fees for Using an Attorney Referral Service?
As can be seen, utilizing an attorney referral service can help you avoid the confusion of tracking down an attorney that is qualified to assist you with your particular legal issue. It is important to understand that most lawyer referral services involve fees to use their services, which are separate from any fees that you may have to pay the attorney they connect you with.
However, most attorney referral services do not typically charge the client seeking to connect with an attorney, but rather the attorney that is seeking to connect with potential clients. Generally, the attorneys are the party that will pay the fees for using an attorney referral service, as they are wanting to join the attorney referral service network and be connected with potential clients.
What Should I Do Before Utilizing an Attorney Referral Service in Texas?
Before using an attorney referral service in Texas, it is important that you are properly prepared. The more prepared you are before utilizing an attorney referral service, the less time you will need to spend contacting potential attorneys and explaining your legal issues. This means that you should prepare an honest written statement that outlines the legal issues that you are having, and organize any evidence or legal documents that support your position. Additionally it is important to provide the attorney any legal documents that you may have already received, if you are a named party in a lawsuit that has already commenced.
LegalMatch can also assist you in locating a well qualified and knowledgeable Texas attorney in your area, who is well suited to assist you with your particular legal needs. Additionally, any Texas attorney who works with a referral service must be certified and in good standing with the State Bar of Texas. This means that as a client, there are procedures in place to protect you, as well as options to file complaints regarding the attorney referral service provider or attorney’s quality of service.