Each year, the Lawyer Referral Service Program receives over 7,000 calls from individuals seeking legal assistance/representation from qualified, experienced attorneys like you.

What is LRS?

In 1958, as part our mission statement to assist the public in accessing legal services, the San Mateo County Bar Association established the Lawyer Referral Service (LRS) Program. The LRS Program provides the public with a referral to an attorney who is able to render and is interested in rendering legal services for a particular legal problem. The LRS Program is designed to assist persons whose ability to locate legal representation is frustrated by a lack of experience with the legal system or a lack of information about the type of attorney.

Why join the LRS?

The LRS Program is a valuable member benefit as well as a public service. The program provides attorney members with an opportunity to build and grow their business through client referrals. It benefits the public by helping callers quickly find an attorney in the area of law in which they need legal help. Below are some of the benefits of being a member of the LRS Program:

  • Expand your legal practice and increase your client base.  Just last year the LRS Program sent over 1,500 referrals to more than 100 attorneys.
  • Generate additional income for your firm. In the past year, the participating attorneys have generated more than $700,000 in attorney fees.
  • Receive referrals in multiple areas of law. The program has 21 practice areas and over 100 sub-panels.
  • Get quality, pre-screened referrals. Our LRS agents are highly trained to carefully screen and match a client to a qualified and experienced attorney.
  • Help your community and those in need of access to justice. Provide much needed legal services to residents of San Mateo County and Santa Clara County.


  • Attorneys must be active and in good standing with the State Bar of California.
  • Certify that at least 25% of professional time and practice is devoted to and in the geographical service area (defined as all of the County of San Mateo and the County of Santa Clara).
  • Must maintain malpractice insurance in the amount of $100,000/$300,000. A special policy is available which covers the attorney for these limits only on cases from the LRS. Download the Lawyers Mutual Application.


An annual fee of $65 is required to participate in the LRS Program  + $10 per subject panel. The total cost is based on the number of panels selected. Please note, this fee is in addition to the annual SMCBA membership dues.

How Does LRS Work?

The attorneys in the LRS Program are categorized by the specific area of law they practice. Our friendly staff is trained to select an attorney who handles the field of law related to the caller’s problem. For a nominal fee, the LRS Program provides the caller with the name of an attorney who will provide a free consultation of up to thirty minutes. The consultation is an opportunity for the prospective client to explain the general nature of their legal problem, for the attorney to evaluate the legal problem and determine if the case is one he/she wishes to pursue. If the attorney decides to retain the case after the initial consultation, the attorney will discuss and set his/her own fees.

When attorneys join our LRS Panel among other things, they:


Application for LRS Membership

LRS Membership Agreement

Supplemental Applications for Specialty Panels: 

Business Law;   Bankruptcy Law;

Criminal Law;  Criminal Law Appellate;   Criminal Law Juvenile

Elder Dependent Adult Protection Team (EDAPT)

Estate Planning/Probate;   Family Law;   General Lit;   Immigration Law;   Intellectual Property

Limited Scope Representation;   Miscellaneous Panels;   Personal Injury;   Real Estate;   Taxation Law

The SMCBA’s Lawyer Referral Service (LRS) Program is a State Bar of California certified program (Certificate 0039). Attorneys on the LRS Program must comply with the minimum standards and certification requirements set by the State Bar of California.

Rules and Regulations of the State Bar of California.


Read our Frequently Asked Questions for more information. Or contact the Lawyer Referral Service Program Coordinator at (650) 298-4017 or by email at LRSAttorney@smcba.org.

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