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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.







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