How to Select a Lawyer

Referral Services

Bar Associations

  • Most Bar Associations maintain a list of lawyers who pay a fee to enroll in categorized panels for random matching with people in need of a lawyer.
  • Typically, a half hour consultation costs $40. Thereafter the lawyer’s regular fee applies.
  • Enrollment is based on the honor system in as much as the only regulation or oversight of the panels selected by the lawyer is the requirement that they provide proof of malpractice insurance.

Here’s a list of area bar association referral services:

  • Berks County Bar Association, 544-546 Court Street, P.O. Box 1025, Reading, Pennsylvania, 19603, (610) 375-4591;
  • Bucks County Bar Association, 135 East State Street, Doylestown, Pennsylvania, 18901, (215) 890-7777;
  • Chester County Bar Association, 15 West Gay Street, West Chester, Pennsylvania, 19380, Telephone (610) 692-5094;
  • Delaware County Bar Association, Front & Lemon Streets, Media, Pennsylvania, 19063, (610) 566-6625;
  • Montgomery Bar Association, 100 West Airy Street, Norristown, Pennsylvania, 19401, (610)279-9660;
  • Philadelphia Bar Association, 1 Reading Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19107, (215)238-6300.

Friends & Family


  • Good source of referrals due to perceived reliability due to past use.
  • Typically, most clients are happy with their own lawyer although they complain about lawyers generally. Thus their referral of their lawyer usually is reliable.


  • Great source of referrals due to actual usage by family member.
  • As with referrals from friends these referrals may not be effective in certain specialty areas of law.



  • Expensive but it works. The plethora of mid-afternoon and late night ambulance chasing advertisements proves that they are effective.
  • Most of these firms focus on volume without developing the long term lawyer-client relationship critical to your success.

Yellow Pages/Print Advertising

  • Also effective as evidenced by the amount and size of these advertisements.
  • Ordinarily the advertisements which promote certain specialties are accurate and those lawyers are competent in those areas.

Selection Guides

Selection is usually made without unbiased information.

Review such publications as:

  • Martindale Hubbell Legal Directory;
  • Pennsylvania Bar Association Lawyers Directory;
  • Supreme Court Disciplinary Counsel.


  • The Pennsylvania Bar Association at 800/932-0311 or local county Bar Association;
  • Call the lawyer and ask the lawyer how long they have been practicing and how many cases similar to yours they have handled.
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