Attorney Sign-Up FAQ
ATJLRS is always looking for more attorneys willing to help close the access to justice gap.
What am I signing-up for?
By registering with ATJLRS, you're offering to accept referrals from prospective clients who need legal counsel, and have the capacity to pay for your services, but simply cannot afford market rate attorneys charging $300+ per hour. When prospective clients request a referral through ATJLRS, the individual must submit a payment and complete an extensive intake process. The modest referral fee and intake process will hopefully increase the quality of the referrals to you. After this process is complete, ATJLRS refers the prospective client to an attorney licensed in the prospective client's jurisdiction and who has expertise in the relevant practice area.
Do I have to accept every referral?
A: No. If you receive a referral and you have a conflict of time, workload, or interest, simply decline the referral and we'll refer the prospective client to the next attorney and hope to catch you with another referral in the future. If every attorney accepted just one ATJLRS referral case per quarter (or even year), we'd be making a real impact -- especially to the individual you're helping. Of course, we hope you'll accept as many as possible, but we understand that you have constraints, so you're not committing to anything.
If I accept the referral, am I obligated to represent the client?
A: No. Of course, if the client has a viable claim or requires a zealous advocate, ATJLRS hopes you and the client will be able to make the necessary arrangements, but after the referral ATJLRS leaves these details to you and recognize that sometimes the parties are simply not a good fit.
How much does registering cost me out-of-pocket?
Nothing! Unlike other lawyer referral services, registering with ATJLRS is free for the attorneys.
How do I know that I received a referral?
You will receive an email indicating that you received a referral with some basic information about the referral, including upcoming relevant dates and information for conflict check purposes. As soon as possible, please review the referral and decide if you are able to accept the referral, so you can schedule the consult or so ATJLRS can refer the prospective client to another attorney.
Does the prospective client pay me directly?
Yes. After ATJLRS makes the referral, ATJLRS removes itself from the attorney-client process. You should treat the referral like any other client with respect to a written professional services agreement and retainer payment. However, ATJLRS does set the hourly rate based on the client's income based on information the client provided during the intake process to ensure a uniform rate schedule among ATJLRS attorneys receiving referrals.
What is the hourly rate that I am agreeing to charge the client?
During the client intake, the client must answer a series of questions related to their income and financial circumstances. The rate is set based on the client's income level above the federal poverty guideline as follows:
200% -- $115 per hour
250% -- $130 per hour
300% -- $140 per hour
350% -- $150 per hour
400% -- $160 per hour
450% -- $175 per hour
However, if the client retains you for other work, unrelated to the referral, you are free to charge as you see fit.
What information do I need to register?
Of course, ATJLRS needs your basic information (name, address, phone number, email), but also where you're licensed to practice, from what practice areas are you willing to accept referrals, confirmation that you have malpractice insurance and do not have ethical violations on your record, and referrals from past clients and colleagues to ensure your commitment to high quality legal representation. The registration process can be completed in less than five minutes, but there is no way to save your registration information and allow you to continue with the process from where you left off at a later time.
How does ATJLRS support itself financially?
Like many nonprofits, ATJLRS accepts donations and will likely apply for grants to help advance the mission of helping modest means or middle class individuals find high quality and affordable legal counsel. In addition to these traditional funding sources, ATJLRS also charges the prospective client a fee to refer the prospective client to the appropriate attorney. Finally, if the attorney and client decide to work together, a modest portion of the earned fee (after expenses and costs) is remitted to ATJLRS.
I have an unanswered question or comment. What do I do?
Contact us and we'll be happy to discuss your question with you.
My practice area are typically flat or contingency fees. How does that work with the hourly rate schedule?
For contingency fee work, you are welcome to charge whatever percentage you feel is appropriate.
For flat fee work, ATJLRS expects that the flat fee is approximately equal to the hourly rate schedule. It would be unfair to the clients and other attorneys if one attorney was charging a flat fee that doubled the hourly rate schedule.