As a longtime panelist and committee chair of the Contra Costa County Bar Association Lawyer Referral and Information Service, I would like to offer a few thoughts about the LRIS.
The LRIS is a service offered by the CCCBA to members of the public in need of legal advice and potential representation. For a $30 fee, the inquiring individual is scheduled for a consultation with a pre-qualified attorney/panelist whose practice area is tailored to the client’s legal issue.
Our panelists generously provide the public with advice and counsel regarding their particular legal issue. The information helps those individuals evaluate their legal options, understand their legal rights and responsibilities and assist them in navigating the waters of the legal system in an informed manner.
The LRIS staff does an admirable job of screening the phone calls and talking with people about their needs. Many callers are re-directed to resources in the community to assist with their issues. It is for this reason that this service includes the words “Information Service” in its name. LRIS is a tremendous resource for the community and may be the last real portal in providing access to justice.
The individuals with whom we consult appreciate what we are doing. They understand that we are not being paid to meet with them and that we are performing a service for their benefit without expectation of remuneration. Not only is this a good turn for the public, it enhances the reputation of our profession.
Correspondingly, each consultation allows the panelist a chance to make a positive contact with a potential client and reinforce our availability to help them, their family or acquaintances, now or in the future. This is one of the best ways to market your firm and your practice.
Many times, people just need to be able to discuss a legal problem with an understanding professional, and other times they need to retain a professional to handle their case.
In either situation, they remember the attorney they spoke with and may return with a different legal problem that really does need the services of an attorney, or they may refer the attorney to a friend or family member because they were impressed with that personal contact.
Certainly, the desired outcome of the meeting for a panelist is to be retained to represent the individual with whom we consult. Though this may not always (or even frequently) be the result, engagements obtained through an LRIS consultation enhance the success of our practices.
For more information on joining the LRIS, visit the CCCBA website at http://www.cccba.org/attorney/lawyer-referral-network/index.php or contact Barbara Arsedo, LRIS Coordinator, at (925) 370-2544 or firstname.lastname@example.org.