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LRS Home > Lawyer Referral Service Frequently Asked Questions

Lawyer Referral Service Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is different about CANHR’s Lawyer Referral Service?

2. What happens when I call CANHR’s Lawyer Referral Service?

3. Do I really need a lawyer?

4. How experienced will the attorney be?

5. Does the Lawyer Referral Service have fees?

6. What are the attorney’s fees?

7. What if I cannot afford an attorney?

8. What do I bring to meet with an attorney?

9. What if I am unsatisfied with the attorney?

10. Filing a complaint with the California State Bar/ Attorney Malpractice


1. What is different about CANHR’s Lawyer Referral Service?

The CANHR Lawyer Referral Service (LRS) is the only statewide referral service that deals primarily with elder law issues. Founded in 1985, the LRS is certified by the California state bar, and uses rigorous screening requirements to select only highly qualified and experienced elder law attorneys. LRS attorneys are committed to serving the needs of seniors and their loved ones in a multitude of areas - Elder abuse, neglect & injury; estate planning; long term care; and protective services.

2. What happens when I call CANHR’s Lawyer Referral Service?

CANHR’s Lawyer Referral Service (LRS) staff is available to speak with callers to determine the nature of the legal problem and, when appropriate, to refer the caller to an attorney.
The confidential interview takes 10-15 minutes and includes questions to determine the nature of the problem.

All referrals are made on a rotating basis according to subject area and location. Special needs, such as language barriers, are taken into consideration. The client will be provided with the attorney’s name and telephone number and be advised to set up an appointment as soon as possible. Additionally, information given to CANHR will be forwarded to the attorney.


3. Do I really need a lawyer?

When an individual is interested in Medi–Cal and long term care estate planning, it is important to work with an attorney who is experienced in the field. For over twenty years CANHR has been training attorneys to navigate the intricacies of the laws and state regulations pertaining to Medi–Cal and long-term care in California. Individuals who do not use the services of qualified attorneys, or worse yet, use the services of "non–attorney professionals" thinking they will save money, often find themselves with ineffective Medi–Cal plans or purchasing unsuitable products.

Suing a nursing home is a challenging experience. Attorneys who pursue nursing home abuse cases are required to have greater expertise than attorneys who have limited their practices to personal injury or medical malpractice lawsuits. In California, there are a specific and a limited number of statues that can be utilized to sue long term care facilities. A plaintiff must choose with care when hiring an attorney. For best results, a plaintiff must find an experienced attorney to successfully navigate the legal system.
Finding the right attorney to handle your case can be a difficult process. Many attorneys are not interested in elder abuse cases because they assume (incorrectly) that because a resident is sick or old the damages will be limited, and therefore not economically worth pursuing.

When the right attorney is located and a case successfully pursued, a nursing home can be held accountable for the pain and suffering it has caused. An experienced attorney can obtain a certain degree of justice for an abused or neglected resident.


4. How experienced will the attorney be?

All of CANHR’s panel attorneys are required to complete continuing education requirements to stay up–to–date with changes in California’s Medi–Cal, Probate and elder abuse statutes. In addition, all approved panel members are required to commit to accept a minimum of two pro bono (free) and two reduced fee cases per year. CANHR’s Lawyer Referral Service maintains compliance with the California Business and Professions Code and the State Bar’s Rules of Operation. Please contact the CANHR office for more information and for panel applications.


5. Does the Lawyer Referral Service have fees?

The LRS does not charge fees to the client. All fees received for the services are from the attorney. CANHR receives 15% of any fees retained by the attorney for any regular fee or contingency fee case. CANHR receives no fees for pro bono or reduced fee cases. The attorney is prohibited from taking CANHR’s 15% referral fee from the client, and is barred from charging the client more than what would have been charged if a referral had not been involved.

6. What are the attorney’s fees?

The CANHR office has no control or authority over what fees individual panel attorneys charge. Federal and State laws prohibit LRSs from regulating attorney fees. However, you should ask about fees prior to your initial consultation. what specific services will be provided. Always ask for a fee agreement so that you will know what fees you will be paying and what specific services will be provided.

Fees vary depending on the legal services requested and geographic location.

Elder abuse, neglect and financial abuse cases are on a contingency fee basis, which means that you will pay fees if the case has a successful outcome.

Estate planning services are available on a regular fee, reduced fee, or pro bono (free) basis, depending on the client’s income, resources and legal need.


7. What if I cannot afford an attorney?

Estate planning services are available on a regular fee, reduced fee, or pro bono (free) basis, depending on the client’s income, resources and legal need. Conservatorship and Special Needs Trust referrals are not eligible for reduced fee or probono services.

If the Lawyer Referral Service is unable to make a referral on a contingency, pro bono, or reduced fee basis, CANHR staff will do their best to provide you with self help resources.


8. What do I bring to meet with an attorney?

*Remember - The most important thing is to talk directly to the attorney

Each attorney will require different documents based on the type of service provided. You should always ask the attorney what documents you should bring prior to your initial consultation. Being well prepared for your visit may save you time, money, and copying costs.
A general idea of what you might need includes:

1. Conservatorship: Any existing letters of incapacity.

2. Elder Abuse: Complaint to DHS, medical records, notes of observations.

3. Financial Abuse: Copies of financial documents and records of transactions.

4. Medi-Cal/Estate Planning: Any existing living trusts or wills. Click here to see the full list of what to bring to an estate planning attorney.

5. Patients’ Rights Violations: Complaints to DHS and notes of observations.

6. Special Needs Trust: Documentation of disability.


9. What if I am unsatisfied with the attorney?

CANHR is committed to ensuring that clients are only referred to highly competent and caring attorneys. Clients are encouraged to call the Lawyer Referral Service (LRS) immediately if there are any problems with a referral. Follow-up information, including a client satisfaction form, is sent to the client and to the attorney to confirm the referral.


10. Filing a complaint with the California State Bar/ Attorney Malpractice


CANHR’s Elder Law Attorneys

The attorneys selected to be members of CANHR’s Lawyer Referral Service (LRS) are committed to serving the needs of seniors and their loved ones. All of the attorneys are highly qualified and must meet rigorous training standards in order to be selected, and to remain, on CANHR’s LRS panels. Click on a title below for more information on each area of practice.

Elder and Dependent Adult Abuse
Elder Financial Abuse
Resident’s Rights Violations in Care Homes
Estate Planning/Medi-Cal for Long-Term Care
Special Needs Trusts

Conservatorship