DIVORCE FAQ #17

17. How can I find and hire the right lawyer?

To find a lawyer, you could call a State Bar-certified lawyer referral service in your area. To locate
one, look in the Yellow Pages of your telephone directory or call your local bar association. For an
online list of certified lawyer referral services, visit the State Bar's Web site at
www.calbar.ca.gov/lrs.
Or, for a recorded message with the phone numbers of certified services in your county, call 1-866-44-
CA-LAW (442-2529). From out of state, call 415-538-2250 for the same message.

State Bar-certified lawyer referral services, which must meet minimum standards established by the
California Supreme Court, can assist you in finding the right lawyer for your particular problem. Most
of these services offer half-hour consultations for a modest fee.

Attorneys who are members of certified lawyer referral services must carry insurance, agree to fee
arbitration for fee disputes, meet certain standards of experience and be State Bar members in good
standing.

Lawyer referral service fees do vary. Don't forget to ask whether there is a fee for the referral or initial
consultation. And if you decide to hire a lawyer, make sure you understand what you will be paying
for, how much it will cost and when you will be expected to pay your bill.

You may belong to a legal insurance plan that covers the kind of services you need.

Or, if you have very little income, you may qualify for free or low-cost legal help through volunteer
service organizations. Check the white pages of your telephone directory for a legal services program
located in your county. (California's statewide legal services Web site-
www.LawHelpCalifornia.org-can
help you locate a local program.)

In addition, the courts in most counties have on-site clinics where you may be able to obtain forms and
guidance on how to proceed. Your local bar association may have information on what resources are
available as well.

For more information on finding an attorney, see the State Bar pamphlet How Can I Find and Hire the
Right Lawyer? To order a free copy of this pamphlet or for a list of other consumer pamphlets
available free of charge, send an e-mail to pamphlets@calbar.ca.gov. For information on ordering the
bar's consumer publications by mail, call 1-888-875-LAWS (5297). Or, visit the bar's Web site-
www.
calbar.ca.gov-where you'll find the consumer pamphlets, as well as information on ordering them.


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