Inside Track: Public service with a business purpose: The State Bar's referral service connects lawyers with clients:

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    Oct. 5, 2011 – At some point in their lives, most people come into contact with the legal system, but many people do not know how to get legal help and find the resources they need. Through the State Bar’s Lawyer Referral and Information Service (LRIS), attorneys are connected with prescreened clients who are looking for assistance.

    LRIS is the connection between people who need legal representation and attorneys looking to increase their client base,” says LRIS Committee chair Janice Bensky of Madison. “LRIS offers attorneys an easy way to serve the public, but also is ideal for attorneys who lack the time to market their services. The State Bar prescreens LRIS referrals and matches attorneys with clients in their geographic area and their areas of practice – saving lawyers even more time. It’s a win-win situation for both clients and attorneys.”

    Attorneys are especially needed in more rural counties; however, attorneys statewide are encouraged to register for the service. While the highest percentages of callers need administrative, consumer, criminal, family, real property, torts, labor, bankruptcy, estate planning, and business law help, LRIS seeks attorneys in all practice areas.

    How LRIS works

    Lawyers who register can join two pools of referrals – phone and Internet. Web referrals account for more than 40 percent of the total referrals made, yet the Web site’s existence has not decreased the number of phone calls to the service, which remains at more than 40,000 annually.

    Experienced LRIS legal assistants evaluate callers’ needs and then either refer them to an attorney, a community or government resource, or the Lawyer Hotline, or answer basic questions.

    Participation in the Internet service is optional and included with LRIS registration at no additional charge. Users access LRIS through LegalExplorer.com, the State Bar’s consumer site, and receive referrals by selecting a legal practice area and geographic location. As with LRIS’s telephone referral service, online referrals are made on an impartial, county-by-county, rotation basis with both types of referrals. Clients contact attorneys directly to set up appointments.

    Join now and pay $71.25 through June 30, 2012. Lawyers also can sign up through June 30, 2013, at $149 for an additional 10 percent savings. Lawyers admitted to practice between July 1, 2009 and Dec. 31, 2010 can join for $56.25, and lawyers admitted in 2011 can join for $33.75 (through June 30, 2012).

    To register, download a registration form or contact the State Bar at (800) 444-9404, ext. 6131.




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