From the Chair...

Standing Committee on Lawyer Referral and Information Service

When I walked into the office of my local Bar’s LRIS for the first time to do volunteer client intake, I never suspected that lawyer referral would become a career long commitment or, more appropriately, passion. I certainly had no idea that 27+ years later I would have the great honor to be asked to serve as the Chair of the ABA’s LRIS Standing Committee.

With my term as Chair having now come to an end, I can honestly say that I have never been more challenged, nor more professionally fulfilled, than I have during the last three years. This is due in large part because I have had the opportunity to work personally with so many of you, whether at an annual LRIS Workshop, during a PAR visit, or at a public hearing or other event involving the LRIS community. For this I am deeply grateful and can only offer my sincerest thanks for your generosity of time and effort.

I know there are some who say that the lawyer referral “model” is outdated and has no place in a world  of Google ads and social media. My response to that is that those folks simply don’t understand what public service lawyer referral means. They don’t understand that a model that is concerned, first and foremost, about the consumer and ensuring that the consumer accesses the resource they need -- be that an attorney or some social service agency -- can never be outdated. They also don’t understand that a business model that is designed to ensure that if a consumer does need an attorney s/he will be referred to someone with objectively verifiable experience in the area of need -- as opposed to someone who simply “bought” a zip code -- is even more important in an environment where there is a lot of noise but very little real information.  It is for these reasons I couldn’t be more optimistic about the future of lawyer referral and why I look forward to working with you all for many years to come.