1 - We are approved as a not-for-profit service by the American Bar Association.
When the Maine State Bar Association created the Lawyer Referral and Information Service in 1972, we became the 12th Bar Association sponsored referral service in the nation. Now there are almost 300 not-for-profit lawyer referral service programs associated with state and county bar associations across the country, but fewer than 70 are authorized to use the ABA's logo and slogan, "The Right Call for the Right Lawyer." That's because the ABA requires each referral program to set meaningful standards for participating attorneys as well as procedures that promote quality control, and to put service first. The Maine State Bar Association is proud of its history as a leader in this area.
2 - You'll get to talk with a real person.
Our business is service. We want to help you find information, resources, and an appropriate attorney. We'll be here for your first call or e-mail, and we'll be here if you need to follow up with more requests or questions.
3 - We don't pigeon hole your problem.
Which one category describes the kind of lawyer you think you need? If you use the yellow pages or an internet search, you'll have to decide. But we will tailor your request using several sub-categories of legal practice and experience to find an attorney who can handle all the complexities of the issues you need to resolve.
4 - Your feedback is part of our process.
We send out Client Satisfaction Surveys to everyone who uses an LRIS referral, and we pay attention to what you tell us - and so do our members.
Information, Advice, or Representation?
Sometimes you need a lawyer. Sometimes you need more information. And sometimes it's hard to know what you need. When you call the Lawyer Referral and Information Service, you will talk with experienced in-take staff who can help you figure it out.
If you need information, our staff will direct you at no charge to appropriate resources, which may include printed material, web sites, or other services or agencies.
If you need legal advice or representation, our staff will refer you to a lawyer who practices in the substantive areas of law you need, within geographical proximity, and appropriate to your situation. Unlike listings in telephone guides or on-line searches, we can review your problem with you, and cross-reference several areas of law that seem to be indicated so that we find someone likely to be able to handle all the issues that may be involved. There is a $25 fee for this referral, and we do not give out lists of names.
Making a Referral - How it Works
1) First you tell us about the problem you are trying to address.
We will need to know the basic who/what/where/when facts of your problem, including who the other parties involved are, what happened, and what you would like an attorney to do for you. You can start the conversation with an e-mail, or by downloading our Referral Request from this site, filling it out, and mailing or faxing it in, or by calling us. If you contact us by mail or e-mail, we may contact you with more questions before we are able to make a referral. When we have all the information we need, we cross-reference our database and find an attorney to refer to you.
2) We give you the contact information for that attorney,
plus a unique confirmation number which will identify you as a client from our service. You can use this information whenever you feel ready to make the call, right away, in days or weeks. It does not expire. We will also mail you a copy of the confirmation, with the number, and all the attorney contact information.
3) When you call the attorneys office,
you give them your confirmation number and
a brief description of the legal matter you need to resolve. If the attorney is not able to speak with you immediately, they know they need to call you back within 3 business days. If for some reason they cannot assist you, call us back.
4) The attorney will not charge you for the first half-hour
of your initial consultation, which may be by phone or in the office, at the attorney's discretion. If the consultation goes over the half-hour, or if you decide to engage the attorney's services, you will need to negotiate fees and payment arrangements. A half-hour may be enough time for an attorney to assess if your issue fails to meet criteria for a legal action, or if a statute of limitations is up, or give you a preliminary idea of what further work might entail, how likely you are to get the outcome you want, and help you decide if it is worth it to you to pursue. Please note, however, that attorneys can seldom give substantive advice in the space of a half-hour. While you may believe that a simple answer to a simple question is all you want, legal issues are very seldom simple, and a responsible attorney will need to review information carefully, and perhaps do additional research, before feeling able to offer any advice.
Referral Fees and Refunds
We charge $25 for a referral, and make one referral at a time. If an attorney cannot serve you because of a conflict of interest or conflicting schedule, or has not gotten in touch with you within the promised 3-day period, call us back. We will waive the fee and make another referral.
In some cases, telling you that there is no legal remedy to your problem may be good legal service, even if it's not what you are hoping to hear. If an attorney tells you that you do not have a case, and you want to consult another attorney, we will waive the fee on the first referral and make another referral for you. We can make as many as 3 referrals for the same matter. If all the attorneys we refer you to tell you the same thing, we consider that you have received the benefit of a legal consultation, and your fee will not be refunded.
Use of the ABA Lawyer Referral and Information Service logo indicates that this lawyer referral program has been reviewed by the ABA and meets the specific public service standards established by the ABA. ABA approved lawyer referral programs:
Agree to establish and maintain objective experience criteria for their panel attorneys,
Provide a mechanism for client feedback and resolving client complaints
Do not limit the number of attorneys who may join the Lawyer Referral and Information Service, provided that they meet the objective requirements for panel membership,
Require and verify that all panel attorneys carry legal malpractice insurance.
Use of the logo indicates that this program meets ABA standards for lawyer referral services. The ABA does not review the qualifications of the individual lawyers who participate in the service. For more details on the ABA standards, visit www.abanet/org/legalservices/lrsrules.html