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IBA: Lawyer Referral Service to Reduce Fees and Upgrade Services

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Last week the Indianapolis Bar Association’s Board of Directors approved a plan that provides for a reduction in Lawyer Referral Service member fees while increasing marketing efforts and adding online reporting of referrals made. Believing that the Lawyer Referral Service provides the highest return on investment of any practice development tool available, effort is being directed at making the service more accessible to today’s attorney.

Effective immediately, those attorneys participating in the service will pay a flat rate of $250 compared to the average fee of $267 previously paid. Attorneys in practice less than three years will only pay $175. Participation in the service requires proof of $1 million in professional liability insurance and membership in the Indianapolis Bar.

Each year an average of 18,000 central Indiana residents are provided with an attorney referral through the Indianapolis Bar Association. Much about the process of promoting the services and the methods used to provide referral information has remained unchanged for over 15 years. That’s also about to change.

The Legal Services Advisory Committee that oversees the operation of the LRS is in discussion to begin television advertisements to promote the service. “We are excited to begin a new era of the Lawyer Referral Service. Our upcoming advertising campaign promises to increase call volume and quality. Our hope is that this service will provide our Panel members with an extremely economical means to gain new clients and build their practice,” said Jeff Meunier, chair of the committee.

New webpages are in development to guide online users, and the Bar is reviewing other methods for improving the quality of referrals made.

Make no mistake. These changes are not being made because LRS use is declining. On the contrary, in 2009 the number of referrals made slightly higher than the previous year, LRS attorney membership remained steady, and those participating generated nearly $1.4 million in total income from cases referred.

Keep an eye on the LRS. Good things are happening.•

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  1. Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend in December, but U.S. District Judge Robert Miller later reduced that to about $540,000 to put the damages for suffering under the statutory cap of $300,000.

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