Frequently Asked Questions
- How does the referral process work?
After screening your call to determine what type of legal help you need, LRS personnel will set an appointment for you to meet with an attorney at his/her office. Referrals are based on the area of law needed, your geographic location and the language you speak. Normally, the turnaround time for an appointment is fairly quick, with most clients scheduled to meet with an attorney within the next one to three days. Typical questions you will be asked by LRS personnel include your contact information (name, address, telephone numbers, etc.), a brief summary of what has occurred, upcoming court dates and reason for court dates, names of opposing parties (for attorney conflict-of-interest searches), two or three days and/or times of day when it would be best for you to meet with the attorney, payment information, etc. All information received by LRS personnel is strictly confidential. LRS personnel are not attorneys and cannot provide you with legal advice.
- What if I can't afford to pay a full-fee attorney?
If you need an attorney but believe that you cannot afford legal fees, contact Legal Services of Northern Virginia at 703-778-6800 (call Monday through Friday between the hours of 9:30 AM-12:30 PM and 1:30 PM-3:30 PM). Legal Services provides free legal assistance to eligible low income, elderly, and disabled residents of Northern Virginia. If you are told that you do not qualify for Legal Services due to area of law or income levels, ask to be screened by them for the LRS Modest Means Program. Legal Services does not handle any traffic, criminal or immigration matters.
If you qualify for Modest Means, you will be assigned a case number by Legal Services of Northern Virginia and will be instructed to call the Fairfax Bar LRS with that number. LRS will attempt to schedule you with an appointment to meet with one of our Modest Means attorneys. These attorneys are a subgroup of our regular full-fee attorneys and they have agreed to participate in this program as a public service to the community. The fee for the Modest Means one-half hour consultation is reduced to twenty dollars and, if you hire the Modest Means attorney, he/she has agreed to charge no more than $150 per hour for attorney’s fees. Please note that a retainer or advanced payment may still be required by the Modest Means attorney.
- What if I need further service from the attorney after the initial thirty-minute consultation?
If you need further legal services, you would need to decide if you want to retain (hire) the attorney to work for you. You should reach an agreement with your attorney regarding additional work to be performed and the attorney’s fees for that work. Be sure to ask for this fee or retainer agreement in writing. The retainer agreement is your contract with the attorney and it should specify how fees are to be paid and how fees are generated (i.e., flat fees, contingency fees, hourly fees, retainers/advance payments).
- How do you select the attorneys who participate in the LRS?
LRS panel members are attorneys in private practice in the Northern Virginia area who are members of their local bar association and members in good standing with the State Bar of Virginia. The attorneys go through a yearly application process and are allowed to select a maximum of five areas of law in which to practice for LRS purposes. In accordance with American Bar Association standards, members are required to maintain current professional liability insurance and must meet certain predetermined experience requirements in order to practice and receive referrals in the areas of Bankruptcy, Family Law and Criminal Law. Member attorneys range from managing partners in large law firms to sole practitioners and, while there are a few attorneys who have been out of law school for relatively short periods of time (under two years), the majority of attorneys in the LRS are very experienced, seasoned lawyers.
- Can I get a list of attorneys?
The LRS does not give out a list of attorneys and makes one referral to one attorney at a time. Choosing an attorney may be the most important step toward resolving your legal situation.The attorney you choose can affect the amount of time and money you spend resolving your case, how much input you have about your case, future relationships with the opposing party and how your case is decided.You should feel comfortable with the attorney, both personally and financially, before you hire him or her.
- What types of legal problems can your attorneys help with?
Our panel includes lawyers who practice in every major legal area, including, but not limited to: Auto/truck accident and injury, DUI, Business and Personal Bankruptcy, Collections, Commercial and Corporate Law, Consumer Law - credit, claims, insurance, Criminal Law - state and federal, misdemeanor and felony, appeals, Education - suspensions and expulsions, Elder Law, Employment law and Workman's Comp, Family Law - divorce, adoptions, custody, support, property settlement agreements, Government benefits, Military and veterans, Immigration, Individual and Civil rights, International law, Landlord/Tenant, Malpractice, Patent/Copyright, Personal Injury, Real Estate--sales and purchases, leases, evictions, zoning, land use, disputes with neighbors, eminent domain, Tax law, Wills, Estate and Probate.