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May 19, 2017 Dialogue

LRIS: From the Chair

By C. Elisia Frazier, Standing Committee on Lawyer Referral and Information Services

Fellow Standing Committee Members and LRS program colleagues,

It is with heartfelt gratitude for our accomplishments together that I write my final column as Chair of the ABA Standing Committee for Lawyer Referral and Information Service. My tenure will end this August, 2017. At that time a new chair will be appointed and the committee's work will move forward with new leadership, innovative goals, and a continuation of the same critical work the Standing Committee embraces and which the great ABA staff supports.

Three years ago when I was appointed to the committee, there were many issues around the delivery of legal services, particularly regarding online legal services platforms, that have led to important conversations and developments. One such development was the launch of LRSconnect last year, the online legal resources and information platform that lists all community based, nonprofit lawyer referral services across the nation. Such a platform allows for a centralized directory of LRS programs, which is supported by Google Ad grants to help spread the word about LRS and increase visibilities in local communities.

In my tenure, the Standing Committee on LRS also proposed and prevailed with a resolution that state legislatures establish a privilege for confidential communications between a client and a lawyer referral service for the purpose of finding a lawyer to obtaining legal advice and representation. This resolution facilitates and implements existing ABA policy that was adopted in August, 1993, when the ABA adopted the ABA Model Supreme Court Rules Governing Lawyer Referral Services and the ABA Model Lawyer Referral and Information Service Quality Assurance Act.

Finally, there are the consultants with PAR, the Program of Assistance and Review. Many are former committee members. All are committed to the mission and public service of lawyer referral programs. They contribute the ideas and establish the standard of professionalism that makes the Committee's work so rewarding.

I also want to take this opportunity to thank the ABA staff with whom I have had the privilege to work:  Jane Nosbisch, whose heart, humor, smarts, and hard work made my tenure easier and a lot of fun. And to Tori Jo who has followed after Jane retired and is carrying on the same traditions of hard work and professionalism to support me and the work of the Committee, thank you.

As a final note, it is never too early to get the dates for the 2017 ABA LRIS Workshop on your calendar, which will be held in Portland, Oregon from November 1 through November 4. The LRIS Standing Committee is already putting together the agenda and faculty for that Workshop, which will be held in one of the most vibrant, eclectic cities in the country. I hope you’ll find your way to Portland to carry forward the great collective work of LRS!