The Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association (CMBA) sponsors a Lawyer Referral Service (LRS), which provides direction to members of the public who need legal services but do not know where to turn. The CMBA LRS is registered with the Supreme Court of Ohio. Additionally, The CMBA LRS meets the American Bar Association's standards for Lawyer Referral Services. Although many of our Panel Member Attorneys are located in Cleveland, Ohio, the CMBA LRS serves the all of Northeast Ohio. Over the past year alone, our LRS provided over 9,500 inquiries from individuals seeking legal services.
The CMBA LRS is a membership based service, and its membership is comprised of solo practitioners, attorneys from small and medium sized firms. All registered attorney members will expect to be compensated for their service.
Do you have a legal matter and not know who to call? Please contact our LRS by phone at (216) 696-3532 or 1-877-CLEV-BAR (1-877-253-8227), Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. If you are unable to contact us during normal business hours, we invite you to leave a voice message, and one or our staff will return your call in the order in which it is received on the following business day. After a brief interview with one of our trained LRS Intake Specialists, you may be referred to one of our Panel Member Attorneys. Alternately, you are welcome complete our Online Referral Request Form 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The LRS bases all of its referrals on your legal issue, Geographic preference and Language preference (when applicable). If the CMBA LRS is unable to provide you with an appropriate lawyer referral, our staff will refer you to a local social service organization equipped to better assist you
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Lawyer Referral Service Frequently Asked Questions > For the Public
How does the Lawyer Referral Service (LRS) work?
If you are an individual seeking legal assistance, contact LRS by phone at (216) 696-3532 or 1-877-CLEV-BAR (1-877-253-8227), Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. You may also leave a voice mail message at those numbers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or send us an email via our online referral request forms. If you are unable to contact us during normal business hours, we invite you to leave a voice message, and one or our staff will return your call in the order in which it is received on the following business day. Be sure to include your full contact information and enough detail about your legal situation that our Intake Specialists will be able to match you with an appropriate attorney.
After a brief interview with one of our trained Intake Specialists, you will be given the name and phone number of one of our Panel Member Attorneys based on area of law and any geographic and/or language preferences. Once you have the Attorney's name and number, you may contact his/her office directly. Be sure to let the Attorney know that you were referred by the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association's LRS to receive a free initial consultation of up to thirty (30) minutes.
Is there a charge for the referral?
The initial consultation with the Attorney you are referred to (up to the first thirty (30) minutes) is free of charge, but you will need to speak directly with the Attorney to find out what his/her fees or fee arrangements might be over and above the first half-hour.
What areas of law do Panel Member Attorneys practice?
In addition to our Personal Injury Experience Panel, our Panel Member Attorneys handle matters in numerous areas of law, including Bankruptcy, Business Law, Consumer Law, Criminal Law, Employment Law, Family Law, Immigration/Naturalization, Probate law, Real Estate Law, Social Security/Disability, Tax, and Workers' Compensation. Our Intake Specialists will be able to help you determine if we have an Attorney who meets your legal needs.
Why should I use LRS rather than finding an Attorney in the phone book?
Our Panel Member Attorneys have been screened to meet Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association standards before they are placed on our LRS. We also verify that each Attorney applicant is in good standing with the Supreme Court of Ohio, and that they have malpractice insurance. In addition, the Attorney that we refer you to will provide you with a free initial consultation of up to thirty (30) minutes.
What if I don't know if I need an Attorney?
Our Intake Specialists will help you determine whether you would best be served by a referral to one of our Panel Member Attorneys or by a referral to another resource.
What if I don't know what type of Attorney I need?
Our Intake Specialists will help you determine what type of Attorney would best be able to assist you.
What if I can't afford an Attorney?
Our Intake Specialists will help you determine how best to handle your situation. If your legal situation is in Personal Injury, Employment Law, Consumer Law, or Social Security/Disability, you may be able to be referred to an Attorney even if you are not able to pay for his/her services, as Attorneys practicing in these areas of law are often able to take cases on a contingency basis (this means that the fee is a percentage of the recovery). The LRS does not make arrangements for reduced fee or free legal services. These types of cases are handled by Community Legal Aid. Call (216) 687-1900 for more information about Legal Aid representation or the location and date of their next free Brief Advice clinic.
How much will this cost?
There is no charge for the referral. However, any questions pertaining to fees or fee arrangements should be addressed directly with the Attorney.
How do Attorneys set their fees?
Generally, cases are handled on either an hourly fee or a contingency basis (this means that the fee is a percentage of the recovery). In most hourly cases, a retainer is required. The lawyer and the client should discuss the specific fee and/or retainer arrangement to be followed.
How much will the Attorney charge?
As with other professional services, Attorney fees may vary from Attorney to Attorney based on the complexity of the case, their experience, and what is a considered reasonable for a particular market. If you have concerns about the Attorney's fee, do not hesitate to address that up front in discussion with the Attorney.
What if I need an Attorney who speaks a particular language?
We currently have Panel Members Attorneys who speak Spanish, Hungarian, Italian, Lithuanian, Russian, Ukrainian, and Polish. However, as we are frequently adding new Panel Members, it is always best to check directly with the Intake Specialist during your phone interview. Not every Attorney who speaks a particular language that you need will also practice the particular area of law that best fits your legal needs: the Intake Specialist will be able to tell you if we have a Panel Member Attorney who fits your legal and language needs.
How long does the phone interview take?
In general, our phone interviews can be completed in approximately 3-5 minutes, depending on the complexity of the issue(s).
Will my conversation be kept confidential?
All LRS conversations are completely confidential. The questions our Intake Specialists ask during the course of the phone interview are simply to helps us refer you to the appropriate Attorney.
Why do I have to give you my personal information?
In order for our database to release an Attorney's name and phone number to you, we do require some personal information including name, address, and phone number. This information is for our internal purposes only. Some callers might be selected to receive a system-generated Client Satisfaction Survey; however, if you would prefer to have your name removed from that list, just let the Intake Specialist know.
Can you answer my legal question?
The LRS cannot provide legal advice or legal service.
Why do I only receive one Attorney's name at a time?
It is our policy to give each caller the name and number of one Attorney at a time. If that Attorney is unable to assist you for any reason, give our Service a call back for a new referral.
What if I misplaced the name and number of the Attorney you referred me to?
Simply contact our LRS, explain the situation to the Intake Specialist, and we will give you the information you need.
What if I need to know the address or telephone number of an Attorney not on the LRS Panel?
All attorneys with an Ohio license are listed with The Supreme Court of Ohio's Office of Attorney Registration. Call (614) 387-9320 for information on the attorney or click here to look attorneys up online.
Can I call on behalf of my friend / family member/ coworker?
Unfortunately, due to legal and clerical restraints the LRS is generally not able to give third party referrals. We understand that you may be doing your friend or family member a favor, but if they are able to call in or reach us online themselves we need to speak with them directly. If there is a valid reason that someone close to you is unable to reach us him/herself, an Intake Specialist may be able to assist you with an alternative method of reaching an attorney.