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In many states, the bar association will provide the public with referrals to qualified attorneys within a specialty. Often, these lawyer referral services are outsourced to local, regional bar associations, and/or certified groups. This allows clients to connect with attorneys more local to them, as well as to minimize the costs, burden, and ethical dilemma for the state-wide organization.
For firm lawyers, personally being a part of a referral network can be an avenue to generate clients for the firm. For solo lawyers, state or local bar association referral services can be their bread and butter, especially for practitioners that qualify for the conflict attorney panels, or to be named as court appointed attorneys. Depending on your locale and specialty, you might be surprised by how many referrals you might be able to get.
Unfortunately for young and inexperienced attorneys, qualifying for a one of the state bar sanctioned lawyer referral services usually requires meeting minimum qualifications beyond just licensure in the state. After all, the services must maintain a certain level of qualification to protect the referral seeking public from incompetence. Although, some states and locales are more lenient than others and there are some options for handling entry level matters after the completion of training in some states and locales.
Many referral services will require attorneys to not only indicate what types of cases they will accept, but will only approve the attorney if they have actually tried cases and successfully handled a certain number of matters through completion. So, even attorneys with a few years experience might not even qualify.
For experienced practitioners, signing up for the state, or local, bar association referral services will usually be an economic windfall. The cost to be included on the list is generally so minimal that retaining a single client would likely cover the cost for a few years or more. For court appointments and conflicts attorneys, the pay may not be as great, but one case would certainly cover the cost for a year.
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