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?
The Lawyer Referral Service (“LRS”) is a public offering from the Alabama State Bar Association to those who are in need of legal representation and require assistance in making the selection that is best for them. The LRS is a program designed to assist members of the public who can afford to pay a lawyer, but do not know how to find one. When contacted by a potential client a representative from LRS gathers basic information and provides the name and contact information of an appropriate attorney in the county where the potential client requires assistance, if such attorney is available in that county.
The LRS representative will then notify the referred attorney by email providing the potential client’s contact information, and notifying the referred attorney about whether or not he or she may contact the potential client directly.
Potential clients may also obtain a referral through the LRS public page.
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.
- Attorney Requirements
All panel members of the Lawyer Referral Service must be:
- Licensed in Alabama
- 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.
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.
- Client Fees
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.
Legal Fees and Expenses
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. The Lawyer Referral Service strongly 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.
You may direct any person who has a legal problem but cannot afford to pay for legal counsel 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.
- Referral Service Availability
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 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