The Lawyer Referral Service is a program of The Florida 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 Florida, must be members in good standing of The Florida Bar, and must maintain professional liability insurance coverage of not less than $100,000 in order to participate.
The Need for The Florida Bar Lawyer Referral Service
There are thousands of Floridians of moderate means who appear to underutilize attorneys. The perceived costs of legal services are one inhibiting factor, but potential users are also often unaware that their problems are legal problems and that lawyers should be employed to resolve them.
The Florida Bar Lawyer Referral Service is an ideal way to introduce clients to lawyers who can provide the legal services they need.
It is the responsibility of the Bar, and the professional responsibility of every lawyer, to make legal services available to all persons.
By participating in the Lawyer Referral Service, you are doing your part in:
- Helping the public recognize legal problems and the necessity for using a lawyer to solve legal problems;
- Encouraging the practice of “preventive law’’ in solving many potential problems before they become more serious;
- Providing an opportunity to tell the public that lawyers are willing to help them and that they need not be apprehensive about consulting a lawyer;
- Helping the public develop a better understanding of the legal system.
Your application information will be maintained in a round-robin database by geographic area. When a call is received by the Lawyer Referral Service, a referral clerk will determine the geographic area and the type of case. Referrals will be made to a panel attorney in the geographic location and area of law requested by the caller. That panel attorney’s record will then be automatically rotated to the back of the round-robin assignment order for all areas of law after each referral.
Panel members agree to provide a half-hour office consultation to the client for no more than $25, and agree to remit to The Florida Bar Lawyer Referral Service 12% of any attorneys’ fees for services performed in connection with Regular Panel cases (bankruptcy and Social Security cases are exempt).
The Florida Bar Lawyer Referral Service has established a Modest Means Panel to meet the varied needs of the public. Clients qualifying for modest-means referral are entitled to a free initial 30-minute consultation. Please note that the lawyer will verify income eligibility prior to the initial consultation. Not all areas of law may be handled under this panel.
The caller is given the name, address and telephone number of the panel member and is advised to contact the panel member to arrange a virtual or in-office appointment. The client is also advised:
- To inform the panel member’s office that this is a Florida Bar Lawyer Referral Service matter.
- That they are entitled to a half-hour consultation with the attorney for no more than $25.
- That the panel member will advise, based on the information provided by the client, if there is a legal remedy, whether the attorney will handle the matter, and the costs and fees involved in the representation.
Lawyer Referral Service Features
- Toll-free line (800-342-8011)
- Operating hours from 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday
- Full-time employees devoted to the efficient operation of the LRS
- Statewide marketing efforts
- Allows attorneys to negotiate fees
- Provides a source for new clients
- Includes an online Lawyer Referral Service.
Any Florida Bar member in good standing with no pending findings of probable cause by a Florida Bar grievance committee, who maintains a practice in a county not served by any referral service sponsored by or affiliated with any local bar association, may qualify as a panel member. Any applicant shall be denied membership, if at the time of the initial application:
- the applicant has a grievance matter with a finding of probable cause pending with The Florida Bar or Supreme Court of Florida; or the applicant has received within the past (5) years:
- any disciplinary action by The Florida Bar or the Supreme Court of Florida; or
- any judgment, conviction (whether or not adjudicated) or determination in a court or administrative proceeding, of the commission of any act of false statement, fraud, dishonesty and/or misrepresentation; or
- the applicant has received within the past ten (10) years:
- any final determination by The Florida Bar or the Supreme Court of Florida resulting in suspension.
- revocation or disbarment of the applicant’s license to practice law; or
- The applicant is currently serving probation through The Florida Bar or the Supreme Court of Florida. Such application shall not be accepted for consideration until the probationary period has been completed.
Panel members must carry professional liability insurance with limits not less than $100,000.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, if at any time, the Lawyer Referral Service receives notice or information giving it reasonable grounds to believe that a panel member does not meet the required standards of responsibility, capability, character, and integrity, it may suspend a panel member from participation on the LRS for such reasonable time as may be necessary.
The Florida Bar Lawyer Referral Service currently covers 53 counties in Florida. The remaining 14 counties are served by Florida Bar sponsored local bar association lawyer referral services. If you maintain a law practice in a county covered by The Florida Bar Lawyer Referral Service, you may be eligible to join the LRS. Please review the Coverage Areas Map for The Florida Bar Lawyer Referral Service and the local bar association lawyer referral services.
$125 nonrefundable, non-prorated annual membership fee each calendar year (January-December) or any portion thereof.
Complete the application. As part of the online application process, you will be required to upload a copy of the face sheet/declarations page of your current professional liability insurance policy that indicates the amount of coverage and the expiration date of the coverage.
For additional information, send an email.
For record keeping purposes, we request that you submit an online Referral Follow-Up Report for every referral that you receive. The service receives 12% of any attorneys’ fees from the cases on the Regular Panel.
Participating attorneys may login to the LRS online portal to check LRS membership office location information, areas of law listed for each office, view referrals, search referral cases, update case statuses, pay referral remittance fees via credit card or electronic check (ACH) payment.
It is highly recommended that members update case statuses and pay any referral remittance fees using the LRS online portal. For your convenience we also permit the payment of referral remittance fees via check. To ensure our records are accurate, please send all remittance checks with the remittance form available from the LRS online portal. Please do not send checks without the remittance form because we will not know to which cases the remittance fees should be assigned. When submitting referral fees via check, ensure the check is payable to “The Florida Bar” and mail the check and accompanying remittance form to:
The Florida Bar Lawyer Referral Service
651 E Jefferson St
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-2300