Public Lawyer Referral Services in Alameda County, CA
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Like many state bar associations, The State Bar of California does not provide an attorney referral service to the public. However, it does provide an extensive list of organizations that do have referral services in Alameda County.
The Alameda County Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service is the one of two public attorney referral services in the county. This service allows users to be referred to a local attorney either through the website, or through a phone conversation. There is no minimum experience level that attorneys must have to be referred through this service. As well, the client must pay a $30 fee for all referrals unless their case deals with personal injury, workers' compensation, workplace sexual harassment or medical malpractice. This fee entitles the client to a free half hour consultation with the referred attorney.
The Alameda County Bar uses two criteria when referring an attorney: geographic location and area of law that the case deals with. Based upon these two factors, attorneys are referred on a strict rotation schedule, meaning that clients have no choice when it comes to picking the lawyer they are sent to. This service does not offer any guarantees that the attorney that is referred to you will be the right one for your situation.
The Alameda County Bar Association also provides a Volunteer Lawyer Referral Service to those individuals and families that do not make enough to hire an attorney. This service can only be provided to families or individuals who make less than a certain amount and these pro bono (free of charge) lawyers can only be referred to non-criminal cases. In addition, and very importantly, this lawyer referral service cannot refer you to an attorney if you wish to sue someone for money. Clients who think that they qualify to receive free legal assistance are encouraged to call the number on the website. However, there is no guarantee that you will receive these free services even if you have a qualifying income.
These two public referral services both refer clients to attorneys without giving the client any information about the legal professional before sending them out the door. Knowing something about the attorney you are about to speak with can provide you with invaluable insight into how the attorney works and functions. As well, these services do not provide clients with reviews of the attorneys. In today's fast paced world where almost everything is reviewed, it is questionable why these services do not provide you with this information.