Lawyer Referral & Information Service – Connecting the Community and the Bar
The Lawyer Referral Information Service, LRIS, is a service that the Contra Costa County Bar Association provides to the public to facilitate connecting clients with attorneys who work in the specific area of law that is needed.
While in the middle of my curriculum at John F. Kennedy University’s College of Law, I spent a year with the team at the bar association. My day-to-day duties were to answer LRIS calls in assistance to the other staff. I’m bilingual, so a large portion of my morning was spent handling Spanish voicemails and incoming calls. Regardless of the language spoken, handling LRIS calls was truly a joy; it is fun to come to work and you never knew what was going to come at you.
LRIS calls can bring joy, heartbreak, and a flood of everything in between. A fascinating aspect of working the LRIS line is the variety of topics that come across your desk. As a law student, I had taken classes on topics like wills & trusts or probate issues, real estate and tenancy issues, criminal defense, mediations, contracts, and more. For both the law student and a long-practicing attorney, the variety presents a wonderful opportunity to be lightly versed in subjects you may not otherwise touch regularly, if ever. You would certainly see interesting trends among callers, their timing, and the topics discussed. The most memorable calls were at tax time, the holidays, and on full moons. Ask the staff who work the LRIS calls, they’ll tell you. I smile and laugh at some of the memories and encourage anyone to volunteer their time and experience.
The process is to take the call, learn a little about the person and the situation, ask a few questions to refine your understanding (so you can effectively communicate it to an attorney you want to refer them to), take the referral payment, and set about calling your fellow CCCBA attorneys until you place the referral. Placing the referral typically goes one of two ways, super easy OR like finding a needle in a haystack. Finding a Spanish-speaking attorney was often a challenge in otherwise easy-to-place situations. Either way, you learn a little something new on each call.
Among the greatest benefits to working the LRIS line was getting to know many of you! Working with the LRIS exposes you to members in the legal community whom you might otherwise never get to know. While working the LRIS, I was amazed at all the hard work the staff at the CCCBA invests to provide a wonderful resource to attorneys and the public. You too will find a great satisfaction in being a part of that. Lastly, it was a wonderful experience to work with the CCCBA staff directly; Theresa, Anne, Carole, and on the LRIS lines, Barbara, Emily and Jennifer. I have wonderful memories of working with them. Yes, it was work, but it was fun.
Note: Attorneys interested in joining the Lawyer Referral and Information Service should contact Barbara Arsedo, Lawyer Referral & Information Service & Moderate Means Director at (925) 370-2544, or [email protected]. There is a particular need for Landlord Tenant, Juvenile 300 and Spanish speakers in all areas. Further information on the program can be found online at here.