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  • August 02, 2023

    State Bar's Referral Service Connects You with Clients

    The State Bar's Lawyer Referral and Information Service (LRIS) helps you expand your practice. Join now to gain experience and clients.
    lawyer talking on phone

    Aug. 2, 2023 – Whether you want to grow your practice with new clients, add a new area of practice, or expand into another market, the State Bar of Wisconsin’s Lawyer Referral and Information Service (LRIS) connects lawyers with prescreened clients willing and able to pay for your legal services.

    LRIS is looking for lawyers of all levels of experience for its referral service. Memberships run annually from July 1 to June 30.

    LRIS is a great way for lawyers to gain experience in a specific area of practice – lawyers choose to receive referrals only in the practice areas they prefer.

    “The service is a great way to establish a focus,” said Steven Krueger, chair of the LRIS committee. “You can choose to answer calls in only the specific areas of law in which you have an interest.”

    LRIS is also a resource when lawyers are scarce – such as in rural communities. “Legal services can be inaccessible to people for a number of reasons. LRIS offers attorneys the ability to bridge service gaps in their communities and provide valuable access to quality legal services that might otherwise be out of reach,” Krueger said.

    How LRIS Works

    Every year, LRIS legal assistants field more than 20,000 contacts from members of the public who are seeking legal information and referrals to attorneys.

    When members of the public contact LRIS, experienced legal assistants conduct a careful screening before referring matters to member attorneys. In 2021-22, assistants received 36,469 contacts that resulted in 11,214 referrals.

    When you become a LRIS panel member, you choose the areas of practice – up to 60 specific areas – and the geographic locations for client referrals, and choose whether to receive referrals only by phone, or by phone and online.

    “It is very important to choose those specific areas in your profile,” Krueger said. “That way, our staff knows who to send your way.”

    LRIS Online Portal

    Panel members have access to LRIS Online, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and there is no additional charge for participation. The portal allows panel members to more efficiently track LRIS referrals and manage their memberships.

    Accessible from anywhere via an internet connection, the portal allows you to:

    • get referrals via email;

    • receive automatic case tracking and status reporting;

    • keep track of settlement fees and payments;

    • submit quarterly reports digitally;

    • edit your demographic profile and update your availability to take referrals; and

    • renew your LRIS membership and pay online.

    How to Join LRIS

    For more information and to join, visit the LRIS webpage. There you’ll find membership rates and learn the rules of panel membership.

    Registrations renew July 1. New lawyers receive a discount off the registration price.

    LawyerOne Year (expires June 30, 2024)$125
    Two Years (expires June 30, 2025) Register through June 2025 and save 10%$225
    New Lawyer* (expires June 30, 2024)$105
    Lawyer Admitted in 2022 (expires June 30, 2025)$60

    *New Lawyer: lawyer admitted to practice between July 1, 2021, and December 31, 2022.

    Members Invited to Participate in LRIS Sponsored Legal Columns

    For the third consecutive year, the State Bar of Wisconsin is partnering with the Wisconsin Newspaper Association to produce and distribute “Know Your Legal Rights” to its 200+ member media outlets across the state.

    The columns are once again sponsored by the State Bar’s Lawyer Referral and Information Service (LRIS).

    Panel members – along with the general membership – are invited to serve as subject matter experts by writing for this column (500 to 800 words). Stories may appear in print, online, or both in publications across the state.

    Categories include consumer law, criminal defense, divorce and family, employment and labor, estate planning and elder law, and insurance, litigation, municipal, personal injury, and real estate law. Examples of basic legal topics include:

    • When am I entitled to overtime pay?

    • Protections for domestic violence victims

    • The lawyer’s role in medical malpractice claims

    • Consumer protection against online retailers

    • Wisconsin laws on drunk driving

    To see examples, all the “Know Your Legal Rights” columns are archived on the WNA news website.

    “We believe this is an excellent PR opportunity for participating members, and will be a great service to Wisconsin residents looking for topical legal help while bringing more public attention to the LRIS program,” said Katie Wilcox, State Bar customer and consumer services manager.

    Know that:

    • Interested authors will be provided a copy of their writing guidelines and tips, an editorial calendar with deadlines for each topic, and a sample article.

    • Authors will be selected on a first come, first served basis. If you are interested in writing for more than one topic, please indicate your first, second, third etc. choices.

    • This is free!

    Please contact Mike Wiltse, State Bar public relations specialist manager, or (608) 250-6025, to indicate your interest or ask questions.

    Spanish Speakers Needed

    LRIS is growing, and our staff now has the ability to field calls from individuals who speak Spanish as their primary language. The service is especially in need of bilingual attorney members to help these clients. Find out more on the Lawyer Referral and Information Service webpage.

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