Finding An Attorney

Patrons, who want to hire an attorney, frequently ask staff at the Alameda County Law Library Reference Desk if we can recommend someone who has experience with the patron’s particular legal issue.  We cannot.  ACLL staff does not make attorney referrals.  We can and do recommend resources for researching attorneys’ background, area of expertise, and geographic location.

If you have already asked friends, family, and business associates for recommendations without luck, the following are some other suggestions to explore.


One of our most frequently suggested resources is the Alameda County Bar Association Attorney Referral Service.  The service can be contacted by phone at 510-302-2222, extension 4.

How does the ACBA program work?

A client calls the Lawyer Referral Service and explains his or her legal problem to a professional referral counselor.  After evaluating the case, the LRS counselor provides the client with contact information for two qualified attorneys.  The client then contacts the attorney directly to schedule his or her consultation.  The client’s placement fee includes a consultation of up to 30 minutes with an attorney.  At that time, the attorney will decide whether they can help the client and discuss fee arrangements. 

LRS phones are open from 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., and 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.  If you call after hours, you can leave a message and they will return your call within 1-2 business days. They are not able to accept walk-in requests for help, no exceptions.

More information from  HERE

Internet commercial directories

Many people try to do a simple internet browser search, such as, “divorce attorney oakland” to identify attorneys in the area that might be able to help them.  Today’s internet is a digital commercial market.  The results are not always pure and can be manipulated for profit or worse.  The researcher needs to be aware that a listing is an online commercial and nothing more.  The directory publishers are looking to make money just as the telephone company did with the publication of the paper Yellow Pages in years gone by.

The directories allow for searches by practice area and geographic locations.   A researcher might want to search through a number of different sites to bring up a selection of names.  Be sure to cross-check any attorney’s name on the official State Bar website to look for current status and any disciplinary actions taken against the individual.

A discussion of some of the larger commercial lawyer directories is available at

Here is a list of sites links from the Attorneys at Work blog post –

A change was announced this month for two of the better-known internet directories for lawyers and legal services.  Internet Brands, the company that now owns both, is combining two of the top sites – the and the sites – into one Martindale-Avvo.  The combined site is not active yet. (10/30/18)

State Bar Specialists

The California State Bar website does allow for limited searches by geographic location and subject specialty, if the attorney has obtain an advanced license specialization.  The State Bar’s program certifies specialists in 11 areas of law and has accredited entities who certify licensees in 11 additional areas of law.  Run a search on the advance search screen.

The State Bar attorney search page also allows you to search for attorneys who are fluent in languages other than English.

For more information on obtaining legal services, read this previous Advance Sheet post.



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