Welcome to the Lawyer Referral Service!
Lawyer Referral Service (LRS) is a public and member service program. Most callers have never used a lawyer before and are not familiar with the courts or legal system. They have the means to pay a lawyer, but don’t know which one to call. They are often overwhelmed by the choices offered through advertisements and turn to the NH Bar Association for information and advice. The Bar established the Lawyer Referral Service over 30 years ago to respond to these requests for help. Today, LRS makes over 3,000 referrals a year to panel members and directs countless other callers to agencies or other legal services programs for help when an LRS referral is not needed.
How To Join
To join the Lawyer Referral Service (LRS), you must:
- Be a member in good standing of the NH Bar Association.
- Carry professional liability insurance of $100,000/$300,000.
- Certify that you are competent to handle the types of cases you sign up for.
- Complete the membership application.
- Pay a membership fee of $75.00.
- Membership in the Referral Service is for one year from the first day of the month you are added to the panel.
- Memberships are for individuals, not firms. Each member of a firm who would like LRS referrals must complete his or her own application.
- Referrals are made in rotation by searching on the legal problem and the geographic area where the caller needs you to be.
- LRS is funded on the percentage fee system and membership fees. In addition, support is also provided by the NH Bar Association.
If you’d like to join the Lawyer Referral Service, please read the Program Description and Guidelines information below and then download the application form below.* If you have any questions or comments, or are unable to print out the membership application, please call us at 603-224-6942 or email us.
*The form is a fillable PDF. To submit the application electronically, save the completed form to your computer, then attach it to an email addressed to email@example.com. If you prefer, you may submit a hard copy to the address included on the application.
What if another associate in my firm can help the LRS-referred client if I am unable to do so? Is it acceptable to transfer the referral in-house?
Panel members agree to “personally conduct the interview with each client referred.” However, occasional transfers of referrals are allowed if the associate is also a LRS member. LRS should be informed of the change in attorney so the referral can be transferred to his/her case record. If the associate is not yet a member, he/she can sign up with LRS to take the referral.
How will I know if my membership has expired?
You will be notified by email if your membership period has expired. Referrals will recommence upon receipt of the current LRS Membership Application and payment of the annual membership fee.
What if I can’t help a client who was referred to me? Can I refer him/her to an attorney I know who handles his/her type of case?
If you decline a referral for any reason, you must refer the client back to LRS. Any exceptions or concerns should be discussed with the LRS Coordinator.
How do you decide which attorney gets a referral?
Each referral is made based on the client’s circumstances which include but are not limited to legal issue(s), geographical convenience, and language needs. Within these parameters, the referrals are made on a rotating basis and in a fair and impartial manner to all panel members.
Do you refer to more than one attorney at a time?
Our policy is to make one referral at a time. However, in cases where there is an imminent court date or other time-sensitive component, we may give up to three referrals to a client. Clients can get another referral if they do not hear back from the attorney within 24 hours, or may request a different referral after reviewing the Attorney Profile. We also provide two to three “courtesy referrals” to attorneys.
I have more than one office location. Can I sign up for referrals in more than one county?
Panel members receive referrals in the county listed as their primary business address with the NHBA. A second county may be added for referrals if LRS has a need for panel members in that area of the state.
Should I let your office know if I am going to be on vacation?
LRS clients are often anxious to speak with an attorney as soon as possible, and typically request another referral if the attorney is on vacation when they call. Letting us know when you will be out of the office for a week or longer allows us to suspend referrals for that time period. This saves the client an extra phone call and preserves your place in our rotation.
I was retained by an LRS client and have received legal fees. When do I remit percentage fees to LRS?
Percentage fees are due as your legal fees are collected, even if the case is still ongoing. You may include payment of fees with your case disposition report or under separate cover. Please be sure to indicate which referral(s) the payment should be applied to.
Must I carry malpractice insurance?
Yes. Proof of coverage must be kept on file with LRS showing expiration dates and limits of liability. When you renew or change your coverage, the declaration page must be sent promptly to LRS, 2 Pillsbury Street, Suite 300, Concord, NH 03301; or faxed to 603-715-3295.
What are some of the reasons LRS referrals might be interrupted?
The LRS Director has the authority to temporarily suspend a panel member at any time for non-compliance with the Rules and Guidelines of LRS. If your referrals are suspended you will be notified of the reason(s) for suspension and what is required to be reinstated. Some of the grounds for suspension include:
- Substantial or consistent failure(s) to provide complete case reports;
- Substantial or consistent failure(s) to remit percentage fees as legal fees are collected;
- Failure to maintain and/or provide proof of legal malpractice insurance coverage of $100,000/$300,000;
- Rejecting 3 or more referrals without substantial cause;
- Failure of the panel member to notify LRS if public discipline is entered against him/her by the Professional Conduct Committee or is imposed with regard to his/her privileges to practice law by any bar of any state, court, or jurisdiction.
What are reporting requirements for LRS?
We will send a bi-monthly report to be completed showing the disposition of each referral. We ask that these reports be completed according to instructions and returned promptly (within 14 days). It is not necessary to report the outcome of each referral to LRS individually.
Why must I fill out an annual report if I have already reported on those cases?
The annual report allows the attorney to change the disposition of a case from “No Contact” to “Consultation” or “Accepted,” which alerts us to whether or not the client owes a referral fee as well as to the amount of percentage fees that may be due.
Our FAQ list is a work in progress. If you have a question about the LRS program that is not on the list, please let us know.
Lawyer Referral Service
Modest Means Legal Program
The Modest Means Legal Program was developed to give more people the chance to access affordable legal services, and to create more opportunities for attorneys to build or expand their practices.
Under this new program, clients with income of up to 325% of the federal poverty level (FPL) now qualify, and panel members will be able to charge a higher hourly rate depending on the client’s income.
Reduced-Fee Program Panel Member Survey
- This survey was sent to 121 Reduced-Fee Panel Members in December of 2016.