Expand your client base with the MBA Lawyer Referral Service

Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021
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On average, 20,000 people contact the MBA's Lawyer Referral Service (LRS) seeking a lawyer each year. As an MBA member, now is a great time to participate in the LRS. Starting Nov. 1, 2022, attorneys can join for a reduced rate (50% off a yearly membership).

Learn about the benefits of joining the LRS and how it can expand your client base from LRS/Public & Community Services Program Manager Claudia Staten.

How do I become a member of the Massachusetts Bar Association's Lawyer Referral Service?

Claudia: You can download the current LRS Handbook and membership application from the MassBar.org website at www.massbar.org/memlrs. Other options include:

  • You can email the LRS at LRS@Massbar.org and request an application and handbook; or
  • You can call the LRS attorney line at (617) 338-0556. 

When does the membership year begin?

Claudia: The LRS dues year runs from April 1 through March 31 each year.

What benefits does the MBA's LRS offer?

Claudia: This is a great opportunity for attorneys who are looking to expand their practices by listing themselves as panel attorneys for the LRS.

The LRS staff receives anywhere from 70-100 calls per day from people who are looking for legal assistance, and we screen callers to match them with an attorney or another legal resource appropriate for their situation.

How much does it cost to join?

Claudia: The cost is $100 for those who have been admitted to the bar for five years or less and $150 for those who have been admitted to the bar for five years or more.

We also offer 50% off the price for membership to those who join from Nov. 1 through Jan. 31 each year, and anyone who joins as of Feb. 1 will have their membership valid through March 31 of the following year.

How many referrals can I expect?

Claudia: It is hard to predict the number of referrals an attorney can expect, as it all depends on the number of other attorneys listed in the same practice areas and the geographic location.  

I can provide statistical information to lawyers thinking of joining, such as the number of attorneys and referrals that have been made in their areas of practice. All they need to do is contact the LRS either via telephone at (617) 338-0556 or via email at LRS@Massbar.org. Just let me know the areas of law you practice and the geographic location where you will accept referrals.

What kinds of referrals does the LRS make? Are they fee-generating?

Claudia: We offer three types of referrals: 

  • Regular fee-charging referrals: Where the attorney charges their full rate for their services. Attorneys can select from over 200 practice areas in which they will accept referrals. As part of being on our service, panel members pay a fee remittance for regular referrals based on the net fee remittance they receive.    
  • Reduced-fee referrals: We try to help those who are not eligible for legal services by having panel attorneys agree to reduce their hourly rates to no more than $75 for those callers who meet income eligibility guidelines. There are no fees due to the LRS for reduced-fee referrals.   
  • Limited assistance referrals: Designed for those who are in the midst of handling their family law matter pro se or want limited legal representation. The attorney only charges for the services they perform. 

What are the requirements to join the LRS? What does a member need to do?

Claudia: Attorneys who wish to join the Lawyer Referral Service must: 

  • Be current, active members of the Massachusetts Bar Association 
  • Be licensed to practice law in Massachusetts and in good standing with the Board of Bar Overseers 
  • Carry lawyers professional liability insurance 

Which areas of law are currently receiving the most referrals?

Claudia: Currently, there have been many calls coming in for labor and employment matters, especially with many companies and schools implementing vaccine mandates.

Last month, there was a rise in pandemic unemployment overpayments, and we still receive many calls involving landlord/tenant, consumer and collections matters.

Additionally, the LRS recently added dispute resolution codes for arbitration and mediation. Panel members who meet the requirements set forth in the LRS Statement of Standards and Rules can receive referrals in these two areas for Construction, Family, General, and Labor & Employment.