How to find a lawyer in California

If you have suffered damage, injury, or loss in California that was not your fault, you may wish to file a lawsuit…

Civil tort law would apply in cases of property violation or personal injury, such as sexual abuse. Other legal concerns in California include child support and parental rights, gun laws, workplace drug testing, and what happens when a person dies without a will.

Plan on devoting some time to comparison shopping to find the ideal attorney for your case. In other words, identify two or more candidates and conduct brief interviews with them.

Start your search for potential attorneys with these sources

Licensed attorney referral services

These organizations can refer you to a local, licensed attorney who specializes in the appropriate area of law.

It is possible to find a lawyer through the services of many state bar associations. These are referral services that connect people in need of legal assistance with attorneys who specialize in the area of law in which they are likely to find the most success.

Many states have bar associations that oversee lawyer referral services in their respective states. To further categorize them, some states have separate bar associations for each county or major city within the State.

Suppose a person cannot locate a referral service through the state bar’s website. In that case, they can look into bar associations more locally, such as those in their county or city.

However, the California State Bar Association operates a bit differently than bar associations in other states.

The California State Bar does not offer consultations or direct referrals to attorneys. However, it does compile a directory of reliable referral services that anyone can use.

The State Bar of California must accredit an attorney referral service before it is included in the directory of approved services available through the State Bar website.

The State Bar of California will only certify a lawyer referral service if it meets all of the requirements set forth by the State.

State and local bar associations often charge a fee of $20 to $25 per attorney referral made through their referral services. It may be time-consuming and expensive to use a referral service to find an attorney who is a good fit for the individual’s case.

Certified professionals

Accreditation is a pathway to legal practice and specialization for attorneys. In most states, lawyers are not allowed to advertise that they are “certified” or “specialize” in a certain area of law unless they have obtained such certification from a specific agency, such as the state bar association.

Here are some easy ways to check if your lawyer does have the credentials they claim to have:

Accreditation Certificate

Ask the lawyer if you learn about the credentials through the firm’s website or social media accounts or if the lawyer mentions it during your initial consultation.

Get a copy of the certification proving this qualification.

Accrediting Agency

Verify that a recognized certification body issued the lawyer’s certificate. It’s possible, for instance, that consultation services and other kinds of practice areas are certified or accredited by a state agency.

Check this by contacting the relevant agency and providing as much information as possible about the lawyer in question.

Bar Association

The legal profession is governed by bar associations in each State. The bar association in a state may grant accreditation to practicing lawyers in that State.

Even if a state bar association does not offer a certain type of accreditation, that does not mean the association will not grant permission for it.

You can call or look online for your State’s bar association to find this out. The American Bar Association is a good place to start looking for information about national certification.


Ask reputable individuals for referrals to attorneys who have handled cases similar to yours. You can also consult with lawyers in different specialties to find out who they would hire if they were clients.

It would be even better if you knew an attorney who focused their practice on the same area of law. The services of an insurance defense attorney may prove useful when searching for other professionals, such as a personal injury attorney.

Don’t trust an attorney who suggests you hire a colleague in the same firm who specializes in a different area of law.

Despite how great a referral may be, it may only serve to keep the client working with the firm and boost the origination fees for the referring attorney.

Public defenders

If you are accused of a crime and cannot afford a lawyer, you may be eligible for public defender representation.

To locate a public defender’s office in your county, consult the local listings online or in the phone book. If none are available in your area, the judge assigned to your case may appoint a private attorney to represent you at no cost.

Here is where you can find out public defenders in California. You can also contact Syedblogs to get in touch with the following resources.

  • Office of the State Public Defender
  • California County, Public Defenders
  • Federal Defenders of San Diego

Public interest associations

Several non-profit public interest organizations, such as those concerned with civil liberties or housing discrimination, may be able to assist you in locating an attorney. Syedblogs can provide you with many lawyers that help deserving people.

Prepaid legal services plans

Certain employers, labor unions, and other organizations offer access to these plans. If you have such a plan, you are entitled to a certain amount of discounted attorney time and services.

Two plans have been developed in recent years — closed and open panels. Open panel plans allow clients to choose their attorneys and have them paid by the groups, while closed panel plans require the sponsoring organizations to hire or select the lawyers on the panel.

At first, the American Bar Association (ABA) was against both because of security concerns about having unqualified individuals provide legal services.

In closed panel plans, the ABA was worried that lawyers would be subjected to undue influence from sponsoring groups.

Since the 1960s, when the ABA’s position was first challenged, the ABA’s position has been widely opposed, and both types of plans have since gained acceptance.

The Michigan Education Association Legal Service (MEALS) is one such plan that currently exists in the State and provides coverage for 650 teachers in the public school system. Legal representation for members’ families is provided for up to 28.5 hours per year.

Any licensed attorney is welcome to join, with hourly rates ranging from $30 to $35. According to the results of a survey, the vast majority (77.7%) of the clients seen by the attorneys were new to them, 72.4% of the attorneys said they would remain in the plan, and 96.67% of the users agreed or strongly agreed that the program met or exceeded their expectations.

The use of telephone consultation and referral is central to yet another open panel plan (prepaid).

If the over-the-phone lawyer cannot help, the subscriber can choose another lawyer to work on the case for a flat hourly fee. It is suggested that the State invest more time and effort into developing similar programs.

Consider dispute resolution programmes

Mediation programs offer an alternative to hiring an attorney or going to court to resolve civil disputes. The Department of Consumer Affairs of California provides a directory of local mediation programs.

So let’s say the parties and their attorneys have tried everything possible to settle. They’re ready to get some outside help resolving the conflict, but they’re at a loss as to who to ask.

In case there is a disagreement, here are the three most common approaches to solving it:


The purpose of mediation is to have an impartial third party assist the disputing parties in reaching an agreement.

A professional mediator does not impose a solution but helps the disputing parties identify and discuss their shared goals.

Effective mediation facilitates the emotional release and the thorough examination of grievances by all parties involved.

Mediators work jointly and occasionally with disputing parties to reach a lasting, mutually agreeable, and non-binding agreement.


An arbitrator is an impartial third party who acts as a judge to decide the outcome of a dispute.

After hearing both sides’ arguments and reviewing supporting evidence, the arbitrator will make a final, legally binding determination.

The parties to a dispute are free to agree on almost any aspect of the arbitration procedure. This includes whether or not lawyers will be present and the accepted level of evidence.

All decisions made by arbitrators are final and cannot be challenged in court.

Arbitration, like mediation, is typically more cost-effective than going to court.


Civil litigation is the most common form of conflict resolution and usually involves a defendant and a plaintiff arguing their cases before a judge, a judge, and a jury.

The judge and the jury must consider all the evidence and reach a verdict. Hearing and trial testimony is typically entered into and preserved in the public record.

Lawyers typically exert dominance during the discovery and preparation phase before trial and lead to a settlement agreement.

Be wary of attorneys who approach you in person, over the phone, or via social media to provide legal services.

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