When you’re faced with a legal situation in Louisiana, it is extremely helpful to consult a qualified Louisiana attorney to talk through your situation and get advice about the best way to proceed. Many times, you may need help looking for a lawyer. If you don’t already have contact with a practicing attorney, you may have to go out and find one yourself.

Your state bar association is usually a great place to start your search. Many state bar associations offer lawyer referral services, where you can give a brief explanation of your situation or a brief statement of the type of help you’re looking for, and the association can give you the names of a few attorneys who practice in the area that would be most helpful to you.

What are Local Attorney Referral Services?

If you’re seeking legal help in Louisiana, however, the Louisiana State Bar Association does not offer a centralized attorney referral service. If you have the name of an attorney, you can search for them on the Louisiana State Bar Association directory. However, if you don’t know the name of an attorney, and are instead looking for someone to help you in your time of need, you can reach out to local bar associations instead.

Some cities and parishes have local bar associations that you can reach out to for a referral, and some of those parishes can make recommendations for attorneys who work in neighboring parishes as well. The American Bar Association (ABA) has lists of referral services, and includes information on which parishes are covered by each.

While most of these services are mainly reached by telephone, there are some, like the Shreveport and New Orleans Bar Associations, that you can access online. In some cases you may be limited in the number of lawyer referrals you can request at one time–for example, you may be limited to one request per week.

Many of the local referral services may be free, meaning that getting the name of an attorney costs you nothing. However, many attorney referral services may be associated with fees for your initial consultation, where you meet for the first time and discuss your case. In many cases, this fee is between $25-$75 for a consultation of up to one hour.

What are Private Referral Services?

In addition to contacting the local parish bar associations, there are also many private lawyer referral services out there. These offer a great service, as well–matching your concerns with attorneys who practice in your area and work in the types of law that most closely relate to your concerns. A lot of these private services are available online, which means that you can access them 24 hours a day (instead of only during regular business hours).

Most online services also provide multiple referrals, so you can get a list of potential lawyers to work with, and may include additional information about those lawyers to help you choose the right person to work with. These private services are also free to use, and many have pre-negotiated low fees for your initial consultation with your selected lawyer.

How Should I Prepare for an Initial Consultation?

When meeting with your lawyer for the first time, keep in mind that time is short. You want to be prepared and efficient in order to get the most out of your initial legal consultation. Bring any papers or documents that you think may be important for your first consultation.

You should also  be prepared to give the lawyer all background information, so they can get a clear picture of your situation and give you the best advice. You may also want to prepare a list of questions you have to ask during your appointment.

It is also a good idea to talk about costs. If your issue requires more work than your initial consultation, you will want to get the attorney’s fees in writing. This way, you will know exactly what to expect when it comes to money issues, and you know exactly what services you are paying for.

What Should I Know About Hiring a Lawyer?

You do not have to hire a lawyer just because you’ve had an initial consultation with them. You are free to find a lawyer that you are comfortable with, and don’t have to commit yourself to the first person you talk to.

When you agree to allow a lawyer to do more legal work for you, you can hire them to represent you. Often, attorneys will send you a letter detailing the agreement to work for you (this is called an “engagement letter”).

Once you are working with an attorney, it is a good idea to keep clear records of the work on your case. File any materials or documents you receive from your lawyer in a safe place (and keep all documents together). Your file can often be a good way to answer your questions about your case.

Should I Hire a Lawyer in Louisiana?

If you are facing a legal situation, and need help in Louisiana, it is in your best interests to contact a qualified Louisiana lawyer. The right lawyer can talk to you about your situation, and advise you on whether you have a legal basis for a case. They can also give you advice on how to protect your rights, help you choose the best way to proceed, and can also represent you in court if necessary.