How do I find a lawyer?
If You Can Afford a Lawyer
If you can afford a lawyer, there are several ways to find one:
- Get a recommendation - Ask a trusted family member or friend for the name of a lawyer.
- Search the online lawyer directory on the State Bar of Texas website. Search the online lawyer directory by city and type of case.
- Check if there is a county or local lawyer referral service in your area. Some counties have a lawyer referral service, where you call and describe the kind of case you have and get names of lawyers who handle that kind of case. They may charge a small fee for this service.
- Use the State Bar Lawyer Referral Information Service (LRIS) (1-800-252-9690) for areas without a county or local service; 30 minute consultation for $20.00.
- Use the telephone book under the Attorneys heading.
If You Cannot Afford a Lawyer
If you cannot afford a lawyer, you may be able to get help anyway:
- Legal aid organizations provide free legal help in civil cases for persons and families with low income. To get help from these organizations, you must go through an application process. The 3 largest, full-service legal aid organizations in Texas are:
- Other legal aid organizations
- Legal clinics are another way for low-income people with civil legal problems to get free legal advice and help. Clinics usually meet once or twice each month. Local lawyers volunteer their time to be present and provide "pro bono" or free legal help. Many organizations in Texas offer this kind of service. There is a list of clinics and other organizations that provide free legal service, so you may have to go through an application process to be able to use a clinic.
- Limited scope representation is another way to get legal help and get a lawyer to handle part of a case instead of the whole case. Sometimes this is called "limited scope representation" or "unbundling," and sometimes lawyers are willing to do it, but they don't put a label on it.
- With limited scope representation, you and the lawyer agree that the lawyer will take part of your case instead of the whole thing.
- Make sure to get this agreement in writing.
- If you do get a lawyer to represent you this way, remember that your relationship with the lawyer ends once the lawyer finishes the task that he or she has agreed to do. The lawyer will not be your lawyer for another part of your case, unless the two of you make another agreement.
- An example of limited scope representation is that a lawyer could charge you a small fee for 1 or 2 hours of legal advice before you file papers for a divorce and go to your final hearing, but you would handle everything else.
- To find a lawyer who provides this kind of representation, use the State Bar or local lawyer referral service that we described earlier and ask the lawyers you contact if they are willing to handle only part of your case.