Are you about to sign a contract for thousands of dollars in goods or services and like most people are mesmerized by all the fine print on the written agreement?
Need a defense lawyer to ask about a criminal charge such as drunken driving, shoplifting or vandalism?
Do you have questions about a trust fund or a will, or perhaps, need to legal advice about estate planning?
For a $35 flat fee, the Ventura County Bar Association can help connect you with one of its 110 civil and criminal lawyers who can help answer these legal questions and are part of the Bar Association's Lawyer Referral Service, according to Steve Henderson who is the executive director and CEO of the Bar.
Here is how it works, said Mr. Henderson: People can 650-7599 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Ask for the Lawyer Referral Service and someone from Mr. Henderson's office will interview the caller for about 5 to 10 minutes.
Mr. Henderson said this is so the Lawyer Referral Service worker who is screening the calls can put a person in touch with the right lawyer whose law office is close to where the person lives.
A person, for example, might need a personal injury lawyer rather than a worker's compensation attorney, said Mr. Henderson.
The Lawyer Referral Service works strictly on an attorney rotation basis to ensure fairness in the referral process, according to Mr. Henderson.
The Lawyer Referral Service screener sets up the interview between the attorney and the person who is seeking legal advice, said Mr. Henderson.
The $35 fee goes to the Bar Association, which is a non-profit agency.
Basically, the lawyer who is giving free legal advice does so in hopes of gaining a client, said Mr. Henderson.
The legal consultation with lawyers usually lasts about 35 to 45 minutes, according to Henderson.
A person who uses this service, however, is not obligated to hire the attorney after the legal consultation, and as a matter of fact, the individual can call the Bar Association, pay another $35 and get another referral to a different lawyer to get a second legal opinion.
Mr. Henderson said lawyers who agree to participate in this service must fill out a nearly three dozen page application and questionnaire so the best possible referral can be made.
The Bar Association's Lawyer Referral Service has an 11 attorney advisory board and is certified by the State Bar Association and the American Bar Association, Mr. Henderson noted.
For more information go to the Ventura County Bar Association web site: