Looking for a lawyer can be frustrating, especially if you don’t know where to begin. For many people living in Washington, an attorney referral service can provide some leads for attorneys.
Most state bar associations have some sort of lawyer referral service (LRS) program in place. Unfortunately, the State Bar Association of Washington does not have a lawyer referral service, nor do they provide direct legal advice. On the other hand, many Washington county bar associations do lawyer referrals. For example, the King County Bar Association and the Tacoma-Pierce Bar Association may provide lawyer referrals on a limited basis.
Another option with regards to attorney referral services is to inquire with special purpose bar associations. These are legal entities that serve address specific needs within the legal community. Some examples of special purpose legal organizations are the Northwest Indian Bar Association of Washington and the Korean American Bar Association of Washington. These can help provide you with a lead to an attorney, though their networks may be limited to the group’s individual purpose.
Not all bar associations have lawyer referral functions. However, there are also many different kinds of private lawyer referral services in the state of Washington. These are not connected in any way with a specific bar association, although they must also abide by Washington Professional Rules of Conduct. For example, lawyers who choose to make themselves available for referrals must also provide proof that they are in good standing with the Washington State Bar.
One disadvantage of lawyer referral services is that they typically require you to pay a fee. You may be required to pay a fee to obtain an attorney’s contact info, and most attorneys will charge a small fee for initial consultation. These can add to your overall legal expenses, especially if you will be using multiple services or consulting with several attorneys.
Therefore before you enroll with a lawyer referral program, you may wish to do some preliminary inquiring with each service. That way you can be informed before you make a final decision. There are websites online that run comparisons of attorney referral services, such as Lawyer Referral Services.