Lawyer Referral Service (LRS) Program

To reduce the spread of COVID-19, the Lawyer Referral Service (LRS) Program is not accepting walk-ins. The closure will remain in effect until it is safe to re-open. We are working remotely and continue to issue referrals online and over the phone. For now, consultations will only be provided by phone, until further notice.

We are doing our best to handle the volume of calls we have been receiving. Please bear with us as you may experience longer than usual phone wait times. We appreciate your patience.

Need an attorney?

Legal problems can be confusing when you don’t know where to turn for help. Finding the right attorney is only a phone call away. Call the San Mateo County Bar Association’s Certified Lawyer Referral Service at (650) 369-4149 * Hablamos Español.

Monday – Friday; 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Who are we?

The Lawyer Referral and Information Service (LRS) is a State Bar of California certified program (Certificate 0039). It was established in 1958 as a non-profit service of the San Mateo County Bar Association to assist the public in finding a qualified attorney. The LRS Program determines the legal area of the problem you describe and provides a referral to a private practice attorney.

Not Sure What Type of Attorney You Need To Be Referred to?

We have friendly staff trained to select an attorney who handles the field of law related to your problem and who has the right experience for your case. All our lawyers are active members of the California State Bar and are licensed to practice law in California. They must meet strict LRS qualifications as required by the Rules for Lawyer Referral Service established by the SMCBA LRS Committee. In addition, all LRS attorneys carry malpractice insurance and must meet our experience requirements.

How Does the Lawyer Referral Service Work?

To get a referral, please call: (650) 369-4149 to speak to one of our LRS representatives.

For a non-refundable fee of $35 (payable in advance by credit card), we provide you with the name of one attorney who practices in the area of law related to your problem so that you can set up a consultation of up to 30 minutes.

What happens after obtaining a referral?

Once you have obtained your referral, you must call the attorney to schedule your appointment. Every attorney on the LRS Program has an active caseload and may not be able to immediately take your call, but the attorney will return your call in a timely manner. If you have a time sensitive case, you must keep in mind that the attorney you are referred to has up to 5 business days to respond to your call and schedule your later appointment.

What is a consultation?

The consultation is an opportunity for you to explain the general nature of your legal problem, for the attorney to explain his/her fee structure and to determine if the case is one he/she wishes to pursue. In some cases, the attorney may be able to respond to specific questions, but because the 30-minute time-frame is so limited attorneys cannot spend their time prior to, or during, the appointment reviewing documents. For your safety and the safety of the attorney, consultation will be provided by phone only.

Please keep in mind that further services beyond an initial consultation are not guaranteed. Neither you nor the attorney are under any obligation to proceed beyond the initial consultation.  If you choose to hire the attorney for any services, the attorney will set his/her own fee.


To learn more about our Lawyer Referral Service Program, please read our Frequently Asked Questions or our Program Brochure.

Para información en español sobre nuestro programa, visite nuestra página aquí. 

Note: The Lawyer Referral Service does not accept walk-ins. We do not offer free or pro-bono assistance.


What Type of Lawyers Do We Have Referrals For?

·         Bankruptcy ·         Estate Planning  ·         Product Liability
·         Business  ·         Family Law ·         Property Damage
·         Civil-Limited Jurisdiction  ·         Immigration         ·         Real Estate
         Collections ·         Intellectual Property ·         Small Claims Appeals
·         Consumer Rights ·         Labor/Employment ·         Taxation
·         Criminal Defense ·         Landlord/Tenant ·        Traffic Infractions
·         Dental Malpractice ·         Legal Malpractice  ·         Workers Compensation (Please Call)
·         DMV Issues ·         Municipal Law         
·         Environmental Law ·         Name Changes  

Modest Means Panel:

Our Modest Means Panel offers referrals to attorneys who are willing to offer reduced fees if they take your case.  We offer referrals to attorneys within the following areas of law:

·         Criminal Defense ·         Family Law ·         Wills for Seniors

Please call (650) 369-4149 if you are interested in a referral to one of our Modest Means Panel attorneys.

Limited Scope Representation for Family Law:

We offer referrals for clients who are interested in hiring an attorney to help them with only a portion of their family law case.

Please call (650) 369-4149 if you are interested in a referral to one of our Limited Scope Panel attorneys.

If the Lawyer Referral Service is unable to provide you with the name of an attorney, the Service will attempt to direct you to another resource you may contact for assistance or you may also visit our “Other Resources” page.

You may also visit the State Bar of California’s website to find a lawyer referral service near you.

What Do I Do If I Have A Complaint?

If you believe your attorney has done something wrong, you can file a complaint through the State Bar of California or by calling the State Bar Attorney Complaint Hotline at 800-843-9053.

If you were dissatisfied with our service or have a complaint, please contact our office at (650) 369-4149. If your complaint is unresolved and/or you have a complaint about our certified Lawyer Referral Service, you can file a complaint against the service with the State Bar of California.

The SMCBA Lawyer Referral Service Program reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to limit or deny access to those who use our service excessively or otherwise misuse or abuse this benefit.

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