Torrance has more hundreds of lawyers licensed to practice law. If you have been arrested for a criminal charge, you should be able to find the right attorney if you know where to look. There are numerous resources available, the California State Bar offers consumers tips on finding a legal professional. Here is some direction from their website:
Personal Referral. Maybe you know a lawyer in a town where you used to live. Perhaps a lawyer who works for a corporation lives across the street. These lawyers may be able to refer you to other lawyers who have experience with your type of problem.
You could also ask your friends, co-workers and employers if they know any lawyers. Business owners and professionals such as bankers, ministers, doctors, social workers and teachers might be able to give you the name of a lawyer.
Certified lawyer referral services. You could call a local State Bar-certified lawyer referral service. This type of service refers potential clients to attorneys. After interviewing you, the referral service staff will match you with a lawyer who is experienced in the appropriate area of the law. (There is usually a small charge for the initial consultation with a lawyer.)
For an online list of certified lawyer referral services, visit the State Bar’s Web site at http://www.calbar.ca.gov/lrs. For a recorded message that can provide you with the phone numbers of certified services in your county, call 1-866-44-CA-LAW (1-866-442-2529). If you are out of state, you can call 415-538-2250 to hear the same recorded message. Or check the Yellow Pages of your telephone directory for a listing. (Keep in mind that the service’s State Bar certification number must appear in all advertising.)
State Bar-certified lawyer referral services must meet minimum standards established by the California Supreme Court. And because the State Bar enforces those standards, you could turn to the State Bar if you have a problem with the service. And if you were to file a complaint, the State Bar would look into it. There are other advantages as well. For example, a certified referral service:
Can refer you to a lawyer who has experience in the field of law that relates to your case.
Will refer you to attorneys who are insured. All lawyers who participate in certified lawyer referral services must carry malpractice insurance to protect their clients. This means that if your lawyer does something wrong, and you successfully sue for malpractice, the lawyer will have the ability to pay.
Will screen your call to determine whether you have a legal problem — or need some other type of assistance. And if you do need another type of assistance, the referral service can refer you to government agencies or other organizations that may be better suited to assist you. For example, you might have a problem that could be handled, without charge, by a rent control board or community mediation program.
Will only refer you to an attorney who has met certain standards of experience and is a State Bar member in good standing.
Will only refer you to an attorney who has agreed to do fee arbitration in the event of a fee dispute.
May be able to provide an attorney at a reduced rate. Lawyer referral services are required to make arrangements to serve people with limited means.
May be able to provide you with a bilingual attorney.
For more information on State Bar-certified lawyer referral services, see the State Bar’s consumer education pamphlet What Can a Lawyer Referral Service Do for Me?
Advertisements. You also could check the Yellow Pages, newspaper advertisements or the Internet in your search for an attorney.
Most lawyers choose not to advertise, other than to list their names, addresses and telephone numbers in the Yellow Pages. But lawyers are allowed to advertise in the Yellow Pages, in newspapers and magazines, on the radio and television, on billboards, on the Internet or any place else—as long as the ad does not contain false or misleading information. Lawyers may use ads to list their fields of law. They also may post their fees.
If you decide to call a lawyer featured in an advertisement, keep the ad for reference. If the ad was aired on the radio or television, make notes for your records.