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December 15, 2014 Dialogue

LRIS: From the Chair...

By John Norwine, Standing Committee on Lawyer Referral and Information Service

The Greatest Show on Earth

I am sure most of you thought that P. T. Barnum coined that phrase to describe his travelling circus back in the 1880's. While that may be true, today the greatest show on earth is the annual ABA National Lawyer Referral Workshop! OK, OK, a little hyperbole maybe, but it is a great show, one not to be missed by anyone with an interest in lawyer referral and information services.

This past fall the Workshop took place in Atlanta and, as the evaluations indicated, it was a great success. The tone was set in the first session, "Developments in the Legal World that Impact LRIS" as it became clear that shifting demographics, the use of non–lawyers to perform limited legal services, and the abundance of attorneys in the marketplace will profoundly affect our referral services. That was followed over the next three days with the best advice available on marketing, recruiting panel members, personnel issues and increasing your LRIS income. We were even treated to dinner by the Atlanta Bar Association at Pittypat's Porch, an Atlanta institution, and we can't thank Atlanta's executive director, Terri Beck, and the LRIS director, Carla Brown, enough for all of their support and assistance.
Materials from the Workshop can still be ordered through the ABA–contact Kathleen Hughes or call 312–988–5786.

Another highlight of this past year's Workshop were the YouTube advertisements shot by Ken Matejka and Tony Adams. Ken and Tony collaborated to shoot individual, short promotional ads of the attendees while in Atlanta. Those ads now appear on YouTube, promoting local lawyer referral services across the country. Now, I am not sure that Hollywood is calling to put any of our "stars" on the big screen, but the performances were very professional and portray LRIS in a very favorable light.

For the 2014 Workshop, we are going to follow the advice often attributed to Horace Greeley when he said "Go West young man." Long Beach, California is the site of this year's Workshop, which will take place from October 15–18, 2014. Yes, palm trees, surf, sand, the Queen Mary and Battleship Iowa, Catalina Island and much, much more. The Workshop will be held at the Renaissance Hotel in Long Beach, only a few blocks from the ocean. Where else could you receive the marketing advice you need to keep your LRIS on top, or get it back up there? Are you aware that establishing a presence in your local courthouse is one of the most valuable marketing tools you could adopt? We will soon have a model tool kit which will give you information on how best to accomplish this, and I cannot imagine any LRIS that will not be interested.

Information about the 2014 Workshop will soon be up on the ABA's LRIS webpage and will also be distributed to all of those on our list service. And if you have not signed up for the listserv, you are missing an opportunity to gain knowledge from hundreds of others across the country, knowledge that could greatly improve your service. For information on this contact Jane Nosbisch at the ABA or call 312–988–5754.