Lawyer Referral Services

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851-Local City/County Agencies


Lawyer referral service programs are sponsored by bar associations, community groups, or legal service organizations. Referral services must be registered with the State Bar and meet minimum standards established by the State Bar (Business and Professions Code Section 6155).

Most lawyer referral services will refer you to a lawyer who will charge a low or nominal fee for an initial half-hour appointment. If a consumer decides to hire the attorney, he or she will pay the regular attorney fee for the legal work required. Some programs have reduced fee plans for consumers who cannot afford the regular fees. Lawyer referral services offer specialists in various fields of law, and most issues can be addressed within the referral service. A group or prepaid legal plan is not a referral service [B&PC § 6155(c)(2)].

Lawyer referral services are available in most counties in California and are usually listed in the yellow pages of the local telephone directory under "Attorney Referral Services", "Attorneys", or "Lawyers". A communication that implies a lawyer is participating in a certified lawyer referral service when he or she is not in violation of professional rules of conduct.

Some local referral services certified by the California State Bar can be searched at