A public service provided by the Virginia State Bar

Frequently Asked Questions

What does the pre-paid $35.00 consultation fee cover?

The $35.00 referral/consultation fee, which is collected by the Virginia Lawyer Referral Service (VLRS) at time of the referral, entitles the referred client to an up to one half-hour (30-minute) scheduled consultation with a VLRS lawyer that is a VSB member in good standing. The up to one-half-hour scheduled consultation may be by phone, virtual conference, or in person. If additional time is needed or requested beyond the initial consultation, the referred lawyer may charge for that additional time. At the time of scheduling the up to 30-minute consultation, it is suggested that the referred client ask the lawyer or law office staff whether they will be charged an additional fee (beyond the $35 paid to VLRS) if the consultation lasts more than 30 minutes.

How soon after a referral is made will the consultation take place?

The VLRS cannot guarantee immediate or same day appointments of the paid referral being made. The VLRS requires that the referred client allow up to 3 business days after the initial contact for the lawyer to return the call and/or to schedule a phone or office appointment.

Will the referred client be entitled to an up to one-half–hour (30 minute) consultation with a VLRS lawyer, even if the referred lawyer is not available for representation?

Yes. The $35.00 pre-paid referral/consultation fee entitles the referred client to an up to one half-hour (30 minute) scheduled consultation with a VLRS lawyer to address the referred client’s legal questions and concerns. The consultation is not contingent on representation by a VLRS lawyer. Neither the referred client nor the referred lawyer is obligated to go beyond the initial consultation.

If the referred lawyer is hired/retained, how much will it cost?

At the point of referral, the VLRS does not have any information on the lawyer's retainer agreement, legal fees, or other costs. The retainer agreement, legal fees, and other costs can only be provided to the client by the referred lawyer or that referred lawyer’s law office staff. VLRS recommends that the client discuss the fees and other costs with the VLRS attorney before deciding to move forward with the representation.

What is the VLRS “percentage fee” and how does it impact me?

In some cases, the VLRS referred lawyer must remit a portion (15%) of their net legal fees collected through the referred engagement to the VLRS to support administrative costs and maintenance of the referral service. Referred lawyers are prohibited from increasing legal fees to VLRS referred clients to compensate for the required payments to VLRS. Referred lawyers must notify clients at the outset of representation that a portion of the fees collected are payable to VLRS and must disclose the relationship with VLRS and related reporting requirements.

If the referred lawyer is unavailable to consult with the referred client in person or by phone, what should the referred client do and what happens to the pre-paid $35.00 referral/consultation consult fee?

The referred client should contact the VLRS again and VLRS will make another referral to another VLRS lawyer at no additional cost. Or, if agreeable with the referred client, the referred VLRS lawyer may refer the referred client to another VLRS lawyer within their law office for the initial consultation. The referral/consultation fee is non-refundable.

Will the VLRS lawyer contact the referred client to schedule a consultation?

No. Due to the sometimes sensitive and confidential nature of the referred client’s inquiries, it will be the referred client’s responsibility to make the initial contact with VLRS lawyer to schedule the phone or office consultation. The VLRS lawyer must always respect the confidentiality of the referred client who may not wish to be called at home or in the workplace.

Is the VLRS referral based on income eligibility?

No. The VLRS will make a referral to anyone 18 years or older who wishes to consult with a participating VLRS referral lawyer so long as the customer requesting a referral through VLRS pays the pre-paid referral/consultation fee of $35.00. Referrals to VLRS lawyers are made based on the customer’s requested Virginia geographical location and requested area of legal practice.

Can VLRS guarantee the referred lawyer will be available for hire and will agree to represent me?

No. The VLRS does not have any information on the lawyer's availability for hire and cannot guarantee that the lawyer will agree to represent you. The lawyer’s availability for hire can only be provided by the referred lawyer or that referred lawyer’s law office staff.

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