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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. Why in the world would someone need a person to correct a transcript when a realtime court reporter could provide them with a transcript (rough draft) immediately?

  2. If the end result is to simply record the spoke word, then perhaps some day digital recording may eventually be the status quo. However, it is a shallow view to believe the professional court reporter's function is to simply report the spoken word and nothing else. There are many aspects to being a professional court reporter, and many aspects involved in producing a professional and accurate transcript. A properly trained professional steno court reporter has achieved a skill set in a field where the average dropout rate in court reporting schools across the nation is 80% due to the difficulty of mastering the necessary skills. To name just a few "extras" that a court reporter with proper training brings into a courtroom or a deposition suite; an understanding of legal procedure, technology specific to the legal profession, and an understanding of what is being said by the attorneys and litigants (which makes a huge difference in the quality of the transcript). As to contracting, or anti-contracting the argument is simple. The court reporter as governed by our ethical standards is to be the independent, unbiased individual in a deposition or courtroom setting. When one has entered into a contract with any party, insurance carrier, etc., then that reporter is no longer unbiased. I have been a court reporter for over 30 years and I echo Mr. Richardson's remarks that I too am here to serve.

  3. A competitive bid process is ethical and appropriate especially when dealing with government agencies and large corporations, but an ethical line is crossed when court reporters in Pittsburgh start charging exorbitant fees on opposing counsel. This fee shifting isn't just financially biased, it undermines the entire justice system, giving advantages to those that can afford litigation the most. It makes no sense.

  4. "a ttention to detail is an asset for all lawyers." Well played, Indiana Lawyer. Well played.

  5. I have a appeals hearing for the renewal of my LPN licenses and I need an attorney, the ones I have spoke to so far want the money up front and I cant afford that. I was wondering if you could help me find one that takes payments or even a pro bono one. I live in Indiana just north of Indianapolis.

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