How can I find a lawyer to represent me?

If you do not know a lawyer, ask a friend, co-worker, employer, or business associate to recommend one. Or call a lawyer referral service run by a bar association in your area. Look in the Yellow Pages of your telephone directory under "Attorney Referral Service," "Attorneys" or "Lawyers." The person who answers your call can make an appointment for you to see a lawyer for about half an hour. If you decide to hire the lawyer, make sure you understand what you will be paying for, how much it will cost, and when you will be expected to pay your bill. Lawyers who handle custody and divorce cases are called family law attorneys. Some are certified specialists in family law. This means that they have met the standards for certification set up by The State Bar of California. However, not all lawyers who have experience and expertise in family law have sought certification. What if you do not have enough money to pay for legal advice? You may belong to a "legal insurance" plan that covers the kind of services you need. Or, if your income is very low, you may qualify for free or low-cost legal help. Check the white pages of your telephone directory for a Legal Aid Society or Legal Services Foundation in your county. You also can ask your county bar association if its Lawyer Referral Service offers free legal advice for low income people or if it can direct you to a no-cost legal services organization. For more information, see How Can I Find & Hire the Right Lawyer?, published by The State Bar of California.