Bar News - February 17, 2016
Morning Mail: LRS Sends Lawyers Full-Fee Clients
As the coordinator of the NH Bar Associationís Lawyer Referral Service, I would like to take this opportunity to dispel what I consider to be the biggest myth about the Lawyer Referral Service (LRS) Ė that the service is a reduced-fee program. Not so! Last year, attorneys who are members of the LRS panel earned more than $1.2 million in legal fees from clients referred by LRS.
Panel members set their own fees and are free to decline any cases that are referred through the service. LRS does manage the Bar Associationís Reduced-Fee program, but it is a separate program and is completely voluntary. About 50 percent of the LRS membership also participates in that program.
The Lawyer Referral Service has experienced several changes over the past year. Recognizing that todayís legal consumer turns to the Internet when seeking an attorney, LRS has eliminated the referral fee to the consumer. At the same time, LRS has eliminated the requirement for attorneys to provide a free 30-minute consultation. Since introducing this change six months ago, referrals have increased by 30 percent.
LRS also maintains a consumer website at www.nhlrs.org, and we regularly post to several social media sites. Panel members are invited to submit blog posts, which may be shared on any or all of our sites. Over the past six months, 36 percent of our referrals were initiated through online inquiries. We have also recently unveiled an informational video, starring our own Ginny Martin and Dan Wise, which can be viewed on our website and on YouTube.
Joining LRS is now easier than ever! The 2016 LRS Membership Application is now a fillable online form, available on the programís website. The membership fee is only $75 per year, and the percentage fee is still only 10 percent of net collected fees.
Whether you are a new attorney looking to build a practice, or a seasoned attorney looking to expand your practice, the Lawyer Referral Service not only provides a source of clients for panel members, but also a place where even non-panel attorneys can quickly refer clients they cannot assist. If you would like more information about LRS, please visit our website or give me a call at (603) 715-3235.