Utah does not have a traditional Lawyer Referral Service. Instead, it uses an "enhanced attorney listings" feature on the Utah State Bar's website. In many ways, the enhanced attorney listings work as well as the traditional lawyer referral services used in other states.
The advantage of the enhanced attorney listing is that the individual can find more information online about attorneys interested in a particular practice area and in a particular geographical location.
Enhanced Listings of Utah Attorneys - The website for the Utah State Bar maintains a database of enhanced listings of active status Utah Attorneys. It is designed to allow more details about an individual attorney’s practice with additional information. You can search the database by typing in the type of legal work you need and/or the location needed by zip code, city, or county. The directory will then return a list of attorneys that meet that criteria. The attorneys with enhanced listings have volunteered their information for the directory and have not been charged a fee to participate.
An individual in need of an attorney can then search for an attorney by entering the type of legal work needed and/or the zip code of the ideal geographical location. The attorney can fill out the follow fields in the profile:
For individuals that cannot afford attorney fees, they might qualify for a reduced rate attorney through Utah's Modest Means Lawyer Referral Program. The program provides access to legal representation for people whose income is too high to qualify for free legal services, but too low to pay a lawyer's standard rate. In order to qualify for the lawyer referral program based on being of modest means you must fall below the income guidelines.
Find a Utah Lawyer Directory - The website for the Utah State Bar maintains the Utah State Bar Member Directory. The directory service is not to be used as a Lawyer Referral Service and so no indication of legal specialization is provided with the official membership record. The profiles have options for notes about the attorney, a biography, contact information, email, and a link to the website and linked in profile.
How to Find Legal Help in Utah - Visit the website of the Utah Courts to find more information on finding legal help in the State of Utah. Find information on lawyer directories, include the Utah State Bar’s Lawyer Referral Directory and the Modest Means Lawyer Referral Program.
Rule 7.2(f) states: “A lawyer shall not give anything of value to a person for recommending the lawyer's services, except that a lawyer may pay the reasonable cost of advertising permitted by these Rules and may pay the usual charges of a lawyer referral service or other legal service plan.”
The comments to Rule 7.2 emphasize that “lawyers are not permitted to pay others ... for channeling professional work.” Id. R. 7.2, comment 5. The scope of “anything of value” includes both cash and cash-equivalents. Ethics Advisory Op. No. 13-02, Utah State Bar Ethics Comm., 2013 WL 7393115, ¶¶ 5–6 (2013) (quotations omitted). Additionally, “[i]ndirect or nonmonetary compensation for referrals is considered something of value and is generally covered by this rule.” Id. ¶ 6.
Ethics Advisory Op. No. 01-02, Utah State Bar Ethics Comm., 2001 WL 334142, at ¶¶ 2–6, explained that a lawyer who discounts his fees by 10% for clients referred by a lawyer-referral service would violate Rule 7.2 because such a discount is an indirect payment to a nonlawyer even though “the participating lawyer does not pay the referral fee directly to the referral service.”
If you need to find an attorney in Utah, consider beginning your search on Utah's Enhanced Attorney Listing. In many ways, this feature is better than the traditional Lawyer Referral Service that only gives the consumer one, two or three attorneys to contact. With the Enhanced Attorney Listing feature, the consumer can learn more about all of the participating attorneys for a particular practice area and location.
The feature works very must like a commercial online directory of attorneys but without the same ranking system and advanced search features. For the public, the directory maintained by the State Bar of Utah has many advantages over a commercial online directory that simply ranks attorneys based on their willingness to pay for ad space.
This article on attorney referral services was last updated on Friday, September 29, 2017.