Public Lawyer Referral Services in Washington D.C.
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The Lawyer Referral Service of the Bar Association of the District of Columbia is the only public service that is provided to residents of Washington D.C. Clients seeking an attorney through this service must call the center; at that point, lawyers who have decided to sign up to be part of this service are referred to clients on a rotating basis. There is no screening of cases and the client has no opportunity to choose the lawyer that he or she is referred to. In addition, clients are charged a $39.95 fee for one referral, which entitles them to a half-hour consultation session with the referred attorney. This fee does not mean that the attorney will decide to take your case, nor does it guarantee that the referred attorney will have the time to handle your lawsuit.
The D.C. Bar Association makes no guarantees to the clients who seek legal representation through the service and the only qualification that an attorney must have to be referred through this system is that he or she must be an active member of the Bar Association of the District of Columbia.
Overall, this service is quite lacking. Not only does the client not have any say in which attorney they are referred to, but there is no guarantee that the client's case will get picked up by that referred attorney. As well, clients must perform research about the attorney on their own in order to make sure that the lawyer is in good standing and is a good fit for their circumstances.