Attorney referral services are essentially a directory of attorneys. Attorney referral service providers maintain a network of attorneys for the purpose of connecting people in need of attorneys with someone in their network.
The service maintains a record of attorney information in order to assist those seeking a referral to an attorney that specializes in the legal area related to the potential client’s needs. Sometimes it can be difficult knowing where to start when you need an attorney. Thus, attorney referral services are a useful tool, as they can help simplify the process and provide a better starting point.
Once a person determines that they need an attorney, potential clients will typically first seek out and contact an attorney referral service. The service will then collect some information and use that information to direct them towards an attorney in their database who specializes in the area of law required for the client’s legal issues.
Attorney referral services are not intended to provide guidance and legal advice, but rather a connection to qualified professionals who may be suited to take on the case.
These services are sometimes offered by nonprofit organizations or advocacy groups. Most commonly, attorney referral services are provided by state or local bar associations. Attorney referral services are generally provided as an important public service, although there are some for profit corporations that do offer attorney referral services.
Additionally, although most services are free for potential clients to utilize, the actual listed attorneys usually pay some fee in order to be included in the service’s directory. As such, one referral service may have a different database of attorneys than another, making no one service complete and exhaustive.
What are Some Pros and Cons to Utilizing an Automated Referral System?
The majority of attorney referral services are automated systems. One of the biggest benefits of automated systems is that the client is instantly provided with contact information for an attorney that may meet their needs from the selected criteria.
Automated referral systems provide greater accessibility for those who cannot use a telephone, or are uncomfortable doing so initially. It is also easy to quickly compile information for several potential attorneys at once, and generally takes less time.
However, as previously mentioned, not every service maintains the contact information of every attorney that could be suited for the case. Therefore, an automated system may not be capable of fully understanding a person’s specific legal needs.
Additionally, an automated system may not take financial needs into account when providing a recommendation. Because of this, many people seeking an attorney prefer to work with a referral service that is not automated.
An example of this would be an attorney referral telephone number that is operated by humans, who could be more likely able to comprehend your specific needs, both legal and financial. A human operator can also likely provide you with more accurate information better suited to your needs.
Private referral services are generally more complete and can provide several attorney referrals, due to the fact that they typically maintain a larger legal database on their website for their clients to utilize. The most qualified private referral services limit the referrals they provide to those attorneys that are actually taking on new clients.
How Can I Find an Attorney in Michigan?
The Michigan State Bar can be a good first step to finding an attorney. The State Bar of Michigan maintains an attorney referral service, which is free to use. Further, the consultation fee for an initial meeting with an attorney located through the service is capped at $20.
If you prefer to utilize a more local service, the American Bar Association’s (ABA) website contains the contact information for roughly ten Michigan County Bar Associations. The Associations maintain their own attorney referral services that are generally free to use.
Although, these services may prove to be limited. Both the services provided by the State Bar of Michigan as well as most of the County Bar services do not offer their services online. These associations can only be reached by telephone, and will only provide one attorney referral at a time.
This means the potential client will need to contact the recommended attorney, and then contact the referral service for another lead should that initial contact be unfit for their needs. And, these services do not provide much information outside of the name and phone number for the attorney they are referring to the client.
If you are needing an attorney in Michigan and are seeking a more comprehensive referral service, you may want to consider a private referral service. As previously mentioned, these services have a more complete database with additional information, such as the attorney’s education and work history.
These services maintain an online presence and are fairly simple to utilize, providing several attorney referrals at once. The greater Grand Rapids area may find the Lawyer Referral Services in Kent County, MI helpful, while the greater Detroit area can contact the Lawyer Referral Services in Wayne County, MI.
Additionally, LegalMatch is another great tool that can assist you in locating a well qualified and knowledgeable Michigan attorney in your area. LegalMatch is not a referral service, but through our matching system we can direct those with legal needs to attorneys who can meet them. All you need to do is submit information about your case, what you need from your attorney (like level of experience), and then attorneys who meet your needs and want to work with you can reach out.