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Hebenstreit: Too Many Clients?

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IBA-hebenstreitDo you have too many clients? If so, you can probably skip this article; but, if not please read on.

For many years, the IndyBar has been in the lawyer referral business. Each year, the staff fields more than 40,000 calls from the general public and those calls result in new business for the members who take advantage of the Lawyer Referral Service. For the nominal fee of $250 per year, any member can participate. Our members can also determine if they want to participate in the Modest Means service and/or the Legal Advice Hotline at no additional expense.

Attorneys designate what practice areas in which they are interested in receiving calls. There is no limit of practice areas, but most participants try to only accept calls in the areas in which they feel comfortable. The Modest Means panel is designed to assist lower income clients engage an attorney for a reduced fee. Finally the Legal Advice Hotline is a product that allows a client to speak with an attorney over the telephone. The call is limited to 20 minutes. It is popular because it allows a prospective client to determine if they even have a legal problem or one that can be resolved quickly. Both the Modest Means and Legal Advice Hotline are great additional options for newer lawyers trying to build a basic practice.

All calls are routed through the IndyBar staff who are trained to pre screen the calls to determine if they have merit and what areas of the law are involved. Approximately 16,000 referrals are made each year. Calls are forwarded on a rotating basis to the LRS participants who are interested in cases in the area of interest to the caller. The callers are also able to request referrals to an attorney in a given geographical area if they choose to do so. In addition to the annual fee, the participating lawyers self report fees they earn on LRS cases and pay a modest percentage of those fees back to the IndyBar. More than $2.37 million was earned by the panelists between January 2010 and August 2011. That is an average return of over $2700 per case which is more that a 10% return on the investment of the annual fee.In case there is any question whether or not the expense if worthwhile, the average panelist earned over $11,500 in 2010 with 2 panelists earning over $120,000 and one attorney who earned $300,000 on a referred case. The success of the program is attributed to a number of factors, but generally, who should the public better rely on in seeking a legal referral than the IndyBar.

For over a year, the Legal Services Advisory Committee under the leadership of Jeff Meunier has been fine-tuning a new and additional referral service. Although many clients prefer to call for a referral, many are now using the Internet to search for legal referrals. The Indy LawyerFinder is the answer. This web based product will feature IndyBar lawyers who are interested in showcasing their areas of practice. We have engaged a web developer to create the platform. Although there will be a general template of information each participating attorney will feature, the program will allow creativity for the attorneys. In addition to allowing the attorney to promote their individual expertise, a good deal of time and money is being invested in order to achieve search engine optimization so our site will attract a large number of hits. We want the clients to find our product before looking for others. The Lawyer Referral Service will continue to work exactly the way it has in the past, but the Indy LawyerFinder will be yet another service for our members.

We are hopeful that the Indy Lawyer Finder will be launched and fully operational before the end of the year. Its success will depend on the number of qualified attorneys who participate. Chris Hickey is leading the team soliciting our members to participate. If she calls you, please take the time to listen—unless you have more clients than you want.

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  1. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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