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August 05, 2015 Dialogue

Meet the ABA’s Standing Committee on Lawyer Referral Service

Each year the ABA President-elect asks the Chair of the Standing Committee and ABA staff for recommendations for new members. There are nine committee members plus the chair, with a third of the committee (or so) rotating off each year. Terms of appointment are for no longer than three years. A committee chair may serve at the pleasure of the ABA President for up to three years. The newest four members to the ABA’s Standing Committee are from Southern and Northern California, Texas, and Wisconsin. Like our own LRIS Committees, the ABA’s Standing Committee for Lawyer Referral Services seeks to address the key issues affecting lawyer referral service programs and appropriately advise and construct creative solutions. To get to know them a bit more, here are the profiles of the two newest members, each of whom have answered two questions:

1) What motivated them to participate on the Committee.

2) What they are looking forward to working on as a Committee member.

Click here to learn more about those previously profiled.


Stephen Steinberg, Esq.

Associate, Vasquez, Benisek & Lindgren LLP, Lafayette, CA

Mr. Steinberg is an intellectual property and business litigation attorney whose practice focuses on patent, trademark, and copyright infringement, theft of trade secrets, and other kinds of complex business disputes in both federal and state courts. 


Steinberg is the immediate past-President and a member of the Board of Directors of the Contra Costa County Bar Association (CCCBA), and headed up the redesign of the CCCBA website and development of the CCCBA mobile application. He is a longtime member of the CCCBA delegation to the Conference of California Bar Associations.  


What motivated Steinberg to participate on the ABA Committee?

“In the process of working on an overhaul of my local bar association website, I realized how important our lawyer referral service is to members of the public and our association, and that it was crucial to highlight our program and make it more accessible. After we finished the website, I was appointed the vice-chair of the CCCBA’s LRIS committee that oversees our program, and I’ve been passionate about LRIS issues ever since. I later drafted a resolution that was eventually passed into law in California to make client communications with lawyer referral services privileged. I jumped at the chance to join the ABA Committee on LRIS so I could learn new ways to strengthen our local program, and perhaps also help contribute some ideas to other programs around the country.”


What is he hoping to work on as a Committee member?

“I’d like to work with the committee to find ways to help bar association LRIS programs compete better with new competition from private for-profit referral services. I think the most important way to do that is to get better at marketing online, which is how everyone is finding service providers today, especially the younger generations.”

Araceli Almazan, Esq.

Associate Stephenson, Acquisto & Colman

Ms. Almazan specializes in complex civil litigation cases involving healthcare reimbursement and insurance coverage issues.


Ms. Almazan was motivated to join the Lawyer Referral and Information Service (LRIS) Committee to provide the support necessary to local lawyer referral programs whose goal is to provide the public the knowledge necessary to affordable legal representation. Her motivation to join the LRIS Committee was triggered by her desire to bridge the gap between the general public and the legal services attorneys provide. By serving in the LRIS Committee, Ms. Almazan hopes to identify and address the challenges that such programs face in order to ensure that they are operating as efficiently as possible and that the information they gather is widely disseminated.


Ms. Almazan earned a bachelor’s degree from UCLA, an M.P.A. in Management from Columbia University, an M.P.A. in Public Policy and Management from The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), and a law degree from UC Davis School of Law. In addition to her involvement with the LRIS Committee, Ms. Almazan has also been a Delegate with the Los Angeles County Bar Association for the last two years.