Simply put, an attorney referral service is like a directory of attorneys. The service maintains records of attorney information and assists those in need of attorneys with those participating in the referral service. Once a seeking client has contacted the service and specified their needs, they are then directed to an attorney who practices the specific area of law best suited for the circumstances.
It can be difficult to locate and hire an experienced attorney who specializes in a particular field of law for a specific issue. Therefore, many people in Ohio seek out attorney referral services when beginning their search for legal representation and assistance. The purpose of attorney referral services is not to offer guidance and legal advice, but rather to offer a connection to qualified attorneys who can provide those to the seeking client.
Some services are offered by nonprofit organizations or advocacy groups, but most services are commonly provided by state or local bar associations. Importantly, attorney referral services are provided generally as a public service. However, there are some for-profit corporations that offer attorney referral services.
As previously mentioned, a State’s Bar Association is generally a good place to start when seeking out a referral for an attorney. Unfortunately, the Ohio State Bar Association does not offer an attorney referral service. However, they do offer a sort of county directory. Each county in Ohio has its own Bar Association that provides an attorney directory. The Ohio Bar Association provides contact information for more than one dozen County Bar Associations, which maintain their own attorney referral services.
In order to utilize this directory of attorneys, you should first start at the Ohio Bar Association and then find your county in the provided list. Next, you can click on any county’s Bar Association link and be brought to their website where you will find directions to their attorney referral directory. All attorney referral information services must be registered with the Supreme Court of Ohio, which provides legitimacy to all Ohio attorney referral information services.
Some of the larger Ohio County Bar Associations offer an online attorney referral service. These larger Ohio counties include Cuyahoga County, as well as the Cincinnati Bar Association. However, most of the Ohio County Associations exclusively provide attorney referral services by phone.
Attorney referral services are generally an automated system. Once the person requesting legal assistance completes a provided form, the automated system will then direct them to an attorney in the system’s network of attorneys. Automated systems typically provide only simple contact information for an attorney within the locality of the person searching. This means that there is a high possibility that the attorney an individual is referred to may not be able to meet their specific legal needs. Additionally, the matched attorney may not be within the seeking client’s financial means.
One of the main benefits of utilizing an automated attorney referral service is that the automated service provides immediate contact information for an attorney according to the criteria that was input through the form. Additionally, it provides a way for those who cannot use a telephone, or are uncomfortable doing so, to find the initial information they need to prepare. However, as mentioned above, an automated system may not be fully capable of understanding specific legal issues, or take financial means into account when providing information.
As such, many people prefer to work with a nonautomated system, such as an attorney referral phone number which is operated by humans. The human operator will be more likely able to comprehend your needs, both legal and financial, and provide you with more accurate information suited to your specific circumstances.
Even more complete attorney referral services are available privately. These private referral services typically provide several attorney referrals, with the most qualified private referral services limiting the provided referrals to those attorneys that are available to take new clients. Further, private referral services generally maintain a larger legal database on their websites for you to use as needed.
Attorney referral services are generally free for seeking clients to utilize, because the attorneys included in the service’s database pay a fee in order to be listed. As such, if you find yourself needing to contact an attorney but don’t quite know where to start, you should utilize an attorney referral service. This will help you avoid any confusion associated with tracking down an attorney that is qualified to handle your specific legal issue. You can make the most of this usually free service by being thoroughly prepared beforehand.
The following are some simple steps that you can take to prepare for an initial contact with an attorney:
- Clarify your needs, both legal and financial;
- Prepare a brief and honest written statement outlining your legal issues; and
- Organize any related evidence or legal documentation
LegalMatch is another tool that can assist you in locating a well qualified and knowledgeable Ohio attorney in your area, who is qualified to assist you with your particular legal needs. LegalMatch maintains a vast network of experienced Ohio attorneys that specialize in a wide variety of different legal subjects. Once again, it is important that you connect with an experienced attorney, in order to make sure that any legal issue that you may have is properly addressed.