Contra Costa County Bar Association’s Lawyer Referral & Information Service is a win-win for the Bar Association and for the community. The community benefits in that the LRIS offers a low cost method to find qualified attorneys for a variety of issues such as criminal defense law, family law, personal injury, real estate, business law, labor/employment law, landlord/tenant law and others.
Members of CCCBA who join the LRIS also benefit by acquiring prescreened clients who turn into paying clients. Attorneys also win by avoiding the cost and time expense of marketing to acquire new clients. Last year over 5,500 qualified clients were matched with CCCBA member attorneys.
Attorney Carl Kadlic joined the LRIS program in 2011, when he transitioned from working in a big San Francisco law firm to his own solo practice in Lafayette. Tired of working long hours and missing time with his family, he decided to open his own practice so he would have more control of his work, his schedule and the types of cases he accepted.
Today he enjoys a mix of hourly work and contingency fee cases. He has less stress and “being on my own, I get to decide which cases I take,” he said. “I can discount my rate and still be affordable to clients.”
Kadlic told of one case in which a neighbor sued another neighbor with an unrealistic claim. It involved Neighbor A being accused of sleeping with Neighbor B’s wife and passing along a sexually transmitted disease. It could have been a long litigation with a big retainer. Kadlic took it for half the normal retainer and a monthly payment of $50. Eventually the case was dismissed. Kadlic said the client would not have been able to afford legal services otherwise.
Kadlic appreciates the mixture of cases he acquires from the LRIS. “It is monotonous to do the same thing every day,” he said. “With the LRIS you never know what you’re going to get. You get unique cases that make it fun to do law.”
Kadlic talked about some very good cases that have helped him build his practice while giving him an opportunity to help someone in need.
“Sometimes all the client needs is some advice on how to handle a situation,” said Kadlic. With a little advice, the client may be able to resolve the issue without a court case “and everyone ends up happy,” he said.
Barbara Arsedo, CCCBA’s LRIS Coordinator appreciates Kadlic because there are very few cases he will say no to, without talking to the client first.
Kadlic told of a case where a client slipped and fell. The client called the LRIS when he was given an offer to settle for $2000. Kadlic talked to him for 20 minutes and asked about his loss of wages, his current condition and told him, “you could probably fight and get more — but if you hire me, my fees would eat up most of the difference you might win.”
“Sometimes people need to be reassured that what they are doing is right,” he said.
Kadlic had two big success stories with LRIS clients. One involved an individual who was hit by a car while on a bike. He helped write the demand statement to the insurance company. In return for a few hours of work, his client was paid the policy limit of $300K. Given the flexibility of his own practice, Kadlic was able to charge his hourly fee rather than his contingency fee and still be well paid for a few hours of work.
Another involved an 86-year-old woman who was underinsured on her automobile insurance policy. He represented her in her personal assets and it turned into quite a friendship. Kadlic said he achieved a “great result in a high damage case.”
“It turned out that everyone was happy. That’s what I want to do in my life,“ he said.
Other clients who come to Kadlic via LRIS have very little knowledge of the legal system and are basically lost. He offers advice and walks clients through the steps to resolve an issue, and he always follows up with, “if it doesn’t work out, give me a call.”
One LRIS client said, “Emily referred me to Carl Kadlic regarding a car accident. I want to give him the highest commendation possible. He was excellent. He was kind, attentive and very helpful in informing me of my rights and the nature of insurance proceedings. It is very hard to find someone who would take that much time and concern, and I wanted to make sure he was commended.”
Carl Kadlic is a sole practitioner with one legal assistant. He said he really appreciates Barbara, Jenny and Emily for the filter they provide. “When they call me, it is either a strong case or a person who needs help. They are easy to work with and they want to help their clients. If I decline a case, they are understanding. It is a great symbiotic relationship.”
The Contra Costa County Bar Association’s Lawyer Referral and Information Service is in need of attorneys to join, especially those who have experience with housing law, who are in East or West County or those who speak Spanish. For more information, contact Barbara Arsedo at 925-370-2544.
Contact Carl Kadlic at kadliclaw.com.
Carole Lucido is the Communications Coordinator for Contra Costa County Bar Association.