The Lawyer Referral refers members of the public, who are seeking representation, to attorneys registered with us. Lawyer Referral is a regular fee referral service, and callers are informed of this at the outset.
KCBA members can join LRS for a registration fee of $200 annually. Those not KCBA members pay $425 for Lawyer Referral. If the panel member is retained by the client, LRS is paid 10% of the fees actually collected from the client if the total fee is over $300. All of the revenue streams go to support the LRS program or, if there is additional income, to programs for low income clients.
Panel members must carry E&O insurance of at least $200,000/500,000, and we have basic experience requirements for many of the panels.
Lawyer Referral operates as a telephone service. Potential clients call the intake number, where they are screened by an intake specialist. If a referral seems reasonable based on information given by the caller, the potential client is given the name and number of an attorney. We work on an underlying rotation system, by relevant panel in the geographic area requested by the client. Sometimes special circumstances require referral out of the rotation. LRS does not refer on the basis of ethnicity, gender or other characteristic unrelated to the legal area. We do, however, refer for non-English language ability if needed and we can.
The intake staff members are not in a position to give legal advice or to decide the merits of a claim. They do, however, try to refer matters that seem to have minimal damages or that do not hang together to the Neighborhood Legal Clinics for an initial consultation, or to Small Claims Court if the claimed damages fit that jurisdiction. They also try not to refer matters where the caller cannot articulate a legal matter.
The attorney gives a half hour consultation to the client at no charge. LRS collects $45 by credit card from the referred caller for the referral and consultation, except for cases that are personal injury, workers compensation, or SSI/SSD.
Panel members receive a referral confirmation by e-mail with the client name, type of case, and a place to indicate the outcome of the consultation. These are returned to LRS after a reasonable time so we can keep an accurate record of referral results. Each quarter, a case status report is sent with the clients LRS shows as active. This is the time that the 10% fee sharing is reported and paid, and closed cases reported.
As might be expected, many of our referrals are in areas where ordinary folks are likely to need an attorney—family law, estate planning, bankruptcy and modest personal injury matters. We also refer a lot of employment and workers compensation cases. We do refer to many other areas of law and try to subdivide our panels in a way that helps us make more accurate referrals. We received about $253,000 in 10% fees for fiscal year ’06, which meant that panel members received over two and a half million in fees.
At this time, LRS is interested in more members with fluency in other languages who have practices that include areas where ordinary folks are likely to need an attorney. An assistant or other attorney in the office with language fluency would also enable us to list that panel member under a specific language.
How to Register
If you are interested in Lawyer Referral, or need more information, just give a call to our administrative assistant at 206-267-7044. (We unfortunately cannot currently take registrations through the web site.)
If you would like to read the complete rules and procedures for Lawyer Referral please click here.