Frequently Asked Questions | Atticus

The Process

What happens after I submit my case online?

Our team will review it and reach out to you via the method you choose. From there, we'll get you on the path to solving your legal issue, and find you the right lawyer to take you to the finish line.

  • 1. We’ll answer your questions, and share our advice. An Atticus staff lawyer will listen carefully, diagnose your legal issues, then explain your options and help you chart a course forward.

  • 2. We’ll match you with the right lawyer (or other legal help). Our team will search far and wide to find the best lawyers for your distinct situation. We’ll vet them for quality and pricing, and help you choose the right one.

  • 3. We’ll monitor your case, and stay available if you need us. For the duration of your case, we’ll be here for you. We'll periodically reach out to see how things are going, and will get involved if needed.

What kinds of issues can Atticus help with?

We can help with any serious, personal legal issue. We don’t serve businesses (only individuals), and we don’t help with minor problems or one-off questions (only serious needs). But we handle almost every common area of law, and we serve clients across the United States.

Our clients run the gamut, from low-income rural families to wealthy people with advanced degrees. And the lawyers we recommend are equally diverse, from solo practitioners to large big-city firms. Share your case with us and we'll quickly let you know if and how we can help.

Is it safe to share confidential information with Atticus?

Yes. We often serve clients dealing with deeply personal issues, so we take great care to protect any information you share. Atticus safeguards your data in several ways:

  • Data Security: All data we store is secured by bank-grade 256-bit AES encryption and enterprise-quality security protocols.

  • Government Protections: Since Atticus is a law firm, information you share is usually shielded by attorney-client privilege — which means neither private parties nor the government can force us to disclose it.*

  • Legal Commitment: Our policies and agreements forbid us from ever selling your information to an outside party, or sharing it without your permission.

As a result of these measures, we're able to help many clients who are rightly concerned about sharing confidential information. These include undocumented immigrants, patients with serious medical conditions, and victims of harassment and discrimination.

*There are a few exceptions to attorney-client privilege — for example, it won't protect you if you seek our help committing a crime. But these tend to be quite rare.

What if I'm not sure I need a lawyer?

It's okay! Many of our clients aren't sure — and a lot who are sure turn out to be wrong. Share your case with us, and we'll explain your options and help you compare hiring a lawyer with potential alternatives.

For most clients, the choice is fairly obvious: Either you need a lawyer or you don't. But sometimes, there are gray areas, and if that's true of your case we'll help you compare all the possible paths and pick the right one.

How long will this take?

Usually between a few hours and a few days. Atticus's "speed record" from the time a client contacted us to the time she spoke with and hired a lawyer we recommended is about 45 minutes. But that's not typical: It's a pretty personalized process as we learn about your needs, discuss your options, reach out to lawyers, and coordinate introductions, so it can take time.

It also depends on you: Some clients want space to reflect on their options and contemplate their decision, and others just want their case to move as fast as possible. We can accommodate either style.

About Us

What is Atticus? Why do you exist?

Atticus is a new kind of law firm, on a mission to reinvent how Americans seek and find legal help.

Today, people with serious legal needs find it extraordinarily difficult to find and hire the right lawyer. They wonder: "Do I need a lawyer?" "What will I get if I hire one?" "How much will it cost?" And of course, "Which one should I choose?"

Atticus is a single place that anyone can turn for rapid, expert help answering those questions — for free. We diagnose clients’ needs, explain their options, and help them find and hire the right lawyer (or nonprofit) to move forward. To lawyers, we operate as a broker: We send them pre-vetted clients who want to hire them, and take a percentage of what they earn from successful cases.

Who are our clients? A sample: A woman harassed for refusing her boss’s advances. A child whose parent died without a will. An executive seeking to negotiate a severance package. A father disabled after being hit by a truck. An immigrant seeking to grow her family. Some of these folks are poor and facing homelessness; just as many are wealthy and well-educated.

What unites our clients is the feeling that the legal system is daunting: Few know where to turn, or whom to trust. That’s where we come in. Using a mix of new technology and old-school legal expertise, we do whatever it takes to get our clients on the road to overcoming their challenges and moving forward with their lives.

How is Atticus different from other lawyer-finding websites?

Atticus is the first of its kind: Though we look like a technology company, we’re actually a licensed law firm — built by Stanford-trained lawyers with help from top legal experts in a variety of fields. As a result, we’re able to offer detailed legal advice and recommend specific lawyers for even the most important and complex cases.

If you look under the hood of other websites, you’ll find something very different. Our competitors aren’t law firms. And as a result, they’re legally prohibited from doing all the things you actually need: analyzing your case, giving legal advice, recommending specific lawyers, or guaranteeing those lawyers’ integrity. Instead, these sites make money by selling advertising space to lawyers, or hawking your personal information to the highest bidder.

Atticus, by contrast, is built from the ground up to offer a new kind of experience. We’ll answer your legal questions, make clear recommendations, and search far and wide to find the perfect lawyer for your needs. We build high-tech tools, but at the end of the day, they’re a way for us to connect you with personal legal expertise — not a substitute for it.

How does Atticus choose and recommend lawyers?

This is the hardest and most complex thing we do, and our primary area of focus. The short answer is that it’s a manual and involved process, and we look for qualities proven by academic research and professional experience to drive good outcomes for clients.

As context: There’s no objective way to evaluate lawyer quality, and there won’t be anytime soon. There’s simply no data set on which to base an evaluation (like a credible, comprehensive repository of case outcomes or client satisfaction). And even if there were, it would be nearly impossible to analyze it effectively given how many factors impact each case.

Therefore, we rely on a lot of human judgment and target a small list of key factors:

  • 1. Specialization. We have a strong preference for single-field lawyers and law firms. Law is complex, and often the only way to become a true expert is to specialize narrowly. (For example, we would aim to refer a disability benefits case not just to a disability lawyer, but to one whose practice focused on the specific case stage or even type of medical issue involved; we would almost never refer it to a lawyer who did both disability and immigration law.) Studies have shown that specialization correlates strongly with positive outcomes, and in our experience it’s a fairly good proxy for underlying talent.

  • 2. Experience. We almost never refer a case to a lawyer who hasn’t handled quite similar matters before. We look for experience not only in a given area of law but with similar facts, judges or agencies, and client goals.

  • 3. Reputation. The lawyers we refer to tend to be ones already receiving referrals from peers within and outside their practice area. We look for people known and respected within the bar, who have a demonstrated commitment to sharing knowledge in their field.

  • 4. Client Feedback. Client reviews are notoriously unreliable in law, since most clients have little comparable experience and only a small subset writes reviews. But we carefully solicit client feedback on the dimensions where it tends to be most relevant — like how responsive and personable a lawyer was, or how much a client felt empowered during a case and prepared for its ultimate outcome.

  • 5. Work Product & Outcomes. On occasion, we dive deeply into past work product and outcomes in analogous cases to confirm talent and competence — particularly when the above dimensions are less available, or the stakes are particularly high.

  • 6. Size of Firm. We refer to both solo practitioners and larger firms, and don’t have any blanket preference for size. But we believe some cases benefit from firms of a particular type. For example, in a mid-sized personal injury case, we’d typically seek out a larger firm — with the support staff and institutional processes to effectively work it up — while in a divorce case, we’d seek out an individual lawyer who’s the right personal fit, regardless of firm size.

What's with the name?

Our namesake is Atticus Finch, America’s most famous fictional lawyer. In Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, he ran a small-town law practice with a big heart. Anyone in town could come to him with any kind of legal problem, and he’d give them sound advice and whatever help they needed — regardless of their ability to pay.

We believe every American deserves access to a lawyer like that — but today, for most of us, they exist only in fiction. So we’re working to build the modern-day equivalent: a place anyone can come for legal help that’s trusted, personal, and free.

Pricing & Cost

How much does Atticus charge?

We don't charge anything! All our services are free to clients.

How does Atticus make money?

If you hire a lawyer through Atticus, we often make a percentage of whatever money your lawyer earns from your case. (For example, if your lawyer earns $1,000, she might give Atticus $100.) Your lawyer is prohibited by law from passing this cost on to you — so it never increases the amount you pay.

This is the only way Atticus makes money, and we chose it because it's the most ethical and mission-aligned way for us to operate. (At core, it's the same basic model used by insurance brokers and platforms like Airbnb and eBay.) Atticus doesn't show ads, we don't sell your personal information, and we don't let lawyers pay to join our network or be recommended.

See our Pricing page for more details.

Can I get a free consultation with a lawyer?

From Atticus? Definitely. All our clients get the chance to talk with a lawyer on our staff, and it's always free.

From the lawyers we recommend? Probably. In some areas of law (like injuries or disability), lawyers will almost always give free consultations. In others (like immigration or litigation defense), most good lawyers charge money even for an initial conversation. We can often negotiate this down, but not always. We'll let you know how likely it is that you'll need to pay, and advise you what a fair price will be.

What if I can't afford a lawyer?

We'll help you find the best option you can afford — which could be a nonprofit or pro bono lawyer; a non-lawyer service; "unbundled" limited-scope legal advice; or free resources that help you navigate your case yourself.

Keep in mind, too, that you don't always need money to hire a private lawyer. If you might win money through your case, most lawyers will work in exchange for a percentage of your ultimate winnings. We can help you figure out if this is possible in your situation.

Do you refer to nonprofits or pro bono lawyers?

Yes, regularly. But you should know that this is rarely an easy path: Legal aid organizations are wonderful, but most are overwhelmed and underfunded. Only rarely are we able to help a client secure full-scope representation. We'll do our best, though. We can recommend specific nonprofits, and if that fails, we can usually direct you to DIY resources or court self-help desks that can assist you in handling your own case.