The Committee is currently working on its Model Supreme Court Rules for Operating a Lawyer Referral Program. These rules were originally adopted by the House of Delegates in 1993 and have not been updated since. Key provisions that we are looking to add are that jurisdictions adopt a privilege for lawyer referral communications in line with our resolution adopted by the House in 2016 and that programs refer the public to licensed legal paraprofessionals, where permissible in their jurisdiction. As soon as the Committee approves a working version, we will be sharing it with fellow CPR entities and other interested parties for input and/or support.
Every 2 years, the Standing Committee on Lawyer Referral conducts a census of lawyer referral programs throughout the United States, with participation ranging from 25 – 50% of all known programs. Committee staff has just completed the survey, which will launch at the end of the February and run through at least the end of June. The census covers a wide range of topics including demographics, COVID-19 impacts, lawyer referral operations, top requested subject matters, and revenues. A final analysis and report will be presented at the 2021 National Lawyer Referral Workshop, which is currently scheduled to be held in New Orleans, LA. No decision has been made as to whether the meeting will be in-person, virtual or hybrid. The link to the 2021 ABA Lawyer Referral Census can be found here.
The Committee is currently soliciting speakers and panels for our Workshop, which will be held October 7 – 9, 2021. Any topics dealing with the operation of a lawyer referral program, wellness, diversity, marketing, access to justice or re-regulation as it relates to lawyer referral programs will be considered.
In conjunction with our current model rules, the committee allows those programs that voluntarily comply to use a specialized ABA logo, indicating that they meet ABA guidelines for lawyer referral. Programs that use the logo re-certify every 2 years. The certification process for the 2021-2023 period will open the first week of March.