Broome County Bar Association
The Lawyer's Referral Service has been in existence for 40 years as a
community service to the public that is provided by the Broome County
Bar Association. It is designed to provide legal assistance to the public,
by matching the client's area of need to the attorney's area of concentration.
A $35.00 fee is payable in advance, to the Broome County Bar Association,
and is used to offset the cost of maintaining the service. The client
is then referred to a panel member attorney, who provides a free half-hour
consultation to answer any legal questions the client may have, and to
provide legal guidance regarding the clients situation.
The LRS program receives 25-40 phone inquiries per day from people seeking
legal advice, which result in approximately 25 paid referrals per month.
Many referrals to the LRS program are from attorneys, the NYSBA Lawyer
Referral Service, Legal Aid, the Public Defender's Office, the Attorney
General's Office, the local court system, Accord and other social service
agencies. Approximately 5% of calls are from out of town people seeking
a referral to a Broome County Attorney. Most requests from out of town
are for assistance with traffic court issues.
The BCBA's Lawyer's Referral Service differs from most LRS programs in
that we do not retain a percentage of the fees for any referrals that
result in retained cases. The $35.00 service fee is collected in advance
by the Bar Association, which helps to sort out those inquiries that are
in need of legal assistance. Most LRS programs, such as the NYSBA's program,
require a fee of $50 to list the attorney on each panel area they wish
to receive referrals. The Broome County Bar Association's Lawyer Referral
Service charges attorney's $35 for one year, or $50 for two years to be
listed in up to eight specialty areas.
The BCBA's Lawyer Referral Service presently has 67 panel members who
receive referrals. Our present list of panel members is noteworthy, and
we would like to thank them for their continued support of the LRS program.
One panel member, Richard Lewis from Hinman, Howard & Kattell, has
been a member of the panel for 26 years. He states, " I believe that
the Lawyers Referral Service is one of the major contacts with our general
population. It provides services and advice for people who have day-to-day
problems, and don't have any other place to turn." This one half
hour consultation generates good public relations.
We encourage you to join the LRS Panel. In order to do so, you must have
malpractice insurance in the minimum amount of $100,000, be licensed to
practice in New York State, list any complaint that has been filed against
you where the Professional Standards Committee found "just cause",
and agree to grant LRS referred clients an initial free half-hour consultation.
You must have 1-5 years of experience in the areas you select to receive
client referrals, and you can select up to eight areas that you are available
to grant consultations. The $35.00 fee paid by the client for the consultation
is collected in advance by the BCBA Office and retained by the bar association
to offset the cost of maintaining the LRS program. If a client is referred
to you, and you cannot grant a consultation in that area, or within the
next five days, please inform the client and direct them to call the bar
association for a second referral.
We are presently looking for panel members who can grant consultations
in the areas of Worker's Compensation, Civil Suits, Labor/Employment Issues,
Unemployment Issues, Appeals, and Advice to Inmates. Please contact the
BCBA Office at 723-6331 if you would like to be listed as a panel member
and receive referrals from the Lawyer's Referral Service.