Your consultation with a Minnesota Lawyer Referral and Information Service (MNLRIS) referral counselor will include:
- Review of your legal issue
- Information gathering
- Conducting a “conflict check”
- Scheduling an initial consultation between you and an appropriate Minneapolis–St. Paul area attorney at a convenient location and time for you
Appointments can often be scheduled within 3 business days.
Your counselor can’t give you legal advice, but they can help you understand what type of lawyer you need. When they review your legal issue, their goal will be to:
- Understand your legal situation
- Determine which type of lawyer would be best to represent you
If you’re not sure what type of lawyer you need, you’re not alone. Most people are too busy with work, school, parenting and daily life to know all the ins and outs of legal practice areas.
Our referral counselors can refer you to one of hundreds of local attorneys who have a broad array of legal experience. Some of those attorneys may focus their practice on cases like yours. A referral counselor can help identify the lawyers that are available and most familiar with your legal issue.
What’s a Conflict Check?
Conflicts most often arise in civil proceedings, especially when business or family is involved. If a lawyer at one time represented the other party in your case or has some kind of existing working relationship with the opposition, professional conduct rules may preclude them from taking your case.
If your case is criminal in nature, conflict checks generally won’t be an issue. These conflicts are more likely in family, bankruptcy or business litigation, especially when there are a limited number of local attorneys with thorough knowledge about an obscure aspect of civil law.
Is Lawyer Referral a Free Service?
The MNLRIS administrative fee is waived for people who are seeking legal representation for:
- Personal injury
- Product liability
- Medical or legal malpractice
- Social Security Disability
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Workers’ compensation
Other users will be charged a $30 administrative fee. If you need an additional referral for the same issue, you can get up to three referrals without being charged a second administrative fee. There is no additional charge by the attorney for the initial consultation, regardless of the type of case.
What Can I Expect During My Free Attorney Consultation?
During your free initial consultation, the attorney to which you’ve been referred will:
- Listen to your specific situation
- Explain your situation and options from a legal standpoint in language the average non-lawyer can understand
- Help you understand your rights under the law
- Provide a brief explanation of the potential resolutions for your legal problem
- Estimate the time and cost required to reach a resolution in your case
There are a few important things to keep in mind whenever you speak with an attorney during an initial consultation:
- You’re essentially conducting a job interview
- You do not have to work with the first attorney you consult with
- If you’re unhappy with the attorney or you just don’t think they would be a good fit for you and your case, you can call MNLRIS again for a second consultation (the $30 fee will be waived)
- Do a bit of research ahead of time and write down some questions
- Future communications with the lawyer may be billable, so get the most out of your free 30 minutes
Don’t be afraid to ask for additional detail or more easily understandable answers to your questions. Lawyers, like doctors, might forget that that the average person isn’t immersed in legal language and the specifics of obscure statutes. Asking for clarification is always better than leaving confused.
Get Your Lawyer Referral Today
Referral counselors at the Minnesota Lawyer Referral and Information Service are available Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. through 4:30 p.m. You can call us at (612) 752-6699 to request assistance finding a lawyer in the Minneapolis–St. Paul area or fill out the assistance request form on our website.