Join the Lawyer Referral Service!
The Lawyer Referral Service is a program of the Alabama State Bar that is designed to assist members of the public who can afford to pay a lawyer, but do not know how to find one. All panel members of the Lawyer Referral Service must be licensed in Alabama, must be members in good standing of the Alabama State Bar, and must maintain professional liability insurance coverage of not less than $100,000/$300,000 in order to participate.
We urge you to join the Lawyer Referral Service. When you do you will help to improve the administration of justice while also having the opportunity to engage in ethical client development activities.
How does the Lawyer Referral Service work?
When a potential client calls the Lawyer Referral Service, he or she is asked to briefly explain his or her legal problem. The Lawyer Referral Service representative asks the caller’s name, address, and telephone number and gives the caller the name of one lawyer who practices in the appropriate area of law, if one is available in that county. The LRS representative then immediately notifies the lawyer by email and includes the potential client’s contact information with information about whether or not the lawyer may contact the potential client directly. Potential clients may also obtain a referral through the LRS public page on the ASB website. Users are instructed to enter their contact information, however, at the current time we cannot ensure that the information entered is complete or correct. The web site will generate a referral and automatically notify the lawyer by email of online referrals made, providing whatever contact information the potential client entered.
It is always the client’s responsibility to contact the lawyer to make an appointment, regardless of whether or not the client agreed to be contacted by the lawyer. The Lawyer Referral Service does not make appointments for callers. Clients are instructed to tell the lawyer that the Alabama State Bar Lawyer Referral Service has referred them.
Will my fee be limited or waived if I participate in the service?
Lawyers who participate in LRS agree to charge no more than $50 for an initial 30-minute consultation. You may elect to waive the initial consultation fee if that is your normal practice, but you are not required to do so. The purpose of the initial consultation is to help the client assess his or her legal problem, determine if additional legal services are needed, and explain the client’s legal options. If the problem requires legal work beyond the initial consultation and you decide to accept the client, you and the client must negotiate your fee as you normally would with any other client. Be sure to discuss any additional fees if you feel that additional legal work needs to be done. The Lawyer Referral Service encourages you to obtain a signed written fee agreement from the client before you proceed with any legal work beyond the first 30-minute consultation.
The Lawyer Referral Service is designed to serve anyone who can afford the services of a lawyer and we attempt to screen out potential clients who clearly cannot pay a reasonable fee. A person who has a legal problem and cannot afford to pay for legal counsel is directed to contact either Legal Services or the ASB Volunteer Lawyers Program.
Some attorneys who participate in the ASB Lawyer Referral Service offer a 25% discount to members of the United States Armed Forces. You will have the opportunity to indicate whether you will provide a military discount when you sign up for the service. You may prospectively revoke the discount at any time during the year by notifying the service in writing (letter to the address below, fax to (334) 261-6310 or email to LRS@alabar.org) that you will no longer provide the military discount.
When is the Lawyer Referral Service open?
The Alabama State Bar Lawyer Referral Service toll free number operates Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. The online Lawyer Referral Service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
How much does participation in the program cost?
ASB members renew membership in the service on a yearly basis in September of each year. The fiscal year for the service runs from October 1st to September 30th. The fee for membership is $100 per year and includes up to 10 practice areas. Additional practice areas are available for $5 each per year. You may designate as many counties as you are willing to take cases in. Individuals joining the service on April 1st or later will be charged $50 for the remainder of the fiscal year and will need to renew in September in order to remain in the service after September 30th. Charges will not be further prorated for those who join at other times of the year.
The service advertises in the Yellow Pages and the online Yellow Pages. In order to support the advertising activities of the service, members of the service agree to remit a percentage fee to the service in large cases. The percentage fee is 5% of any fee between $1,000 and $5,000 received as a result of a referral from the service. For example, if a case generates a $6,000 fee, the attorney would remit $250.00 (5% of $5,000). No remittance is required on fees of less than $1,000, or on any portion of the fee over $5,000. We collect referral fees regularly. All referral fees go back into the program to be used for advertising and program improvements. Please use the Percentage Fee Report Form to remit your percentage fee.
How do I join?
You may join the service by filling out our application, and returning it, along with a copy of your professional liability declaration page and your check for $100 (plus the fee for any additional practice areas over the 10 included ones) to the attention of the Lawyer Referral Service at the address below. The application and your insurance coverage information may be emailed to LRS@alabar.org and the check mailed, however, you will not be enrolled in the service or receive referrals until all parts of the application have been received. We regret that we cannot accept credit card payments at this time. Here are some helpful hints for completing the LRS application.
How do I submit follow-up reports on referrals?
For record keeping purposes, we request that you submit an online Referral Follow-Up Report for every referral that you receive. Here are the instructions.
Thank you for considering membership in the Alabama State Bar Lawyer Referral Service.
Alabama State Bar Lawyer Referral Service
P.O. Box 671
Montgomery, AL 36101
Toll Free Number for Attorneys Only 800-354-6154