back to Screen-Friendly page

Bar Association of San Francisco Member Benefits: Publications

BASF’s Lawyer Referral and Information Service: Protecting Consumers, Enhancing the Image of the Attorney

By Emmy Pasternak, Community Outreach and Case Development Coordinator, LRIS

While lighthearted jokes portraying lawyers as “sharks” can be amusing, what should not be taken lightly are the images of the legal profession the public receives. Recent press coverage detailed the actions of an immigration lawyer who swindled clients out of their money and failed to provide the services he promised. Other coverage alleged that pro bono work conducted by major San Francisco law firms was self-serving and did more harm than good.

Those working within the legal field know that the “bad apples” are few and even an altruistic endeavor can be spun into a negative news article. For the general public, trusting that a lawyer is not just in it for his or her own gain and is competent in their practice area should not be accompanied by a leap of faith. BASF’s Lawyer Referral and Information Service (LRIS) is certified by the State Bar of California and recognized by the American Bar Association for implementing excellent consumer protections and quality review standards. A listing in the phone book or a search online cannot tell the consumer if the attorney is truly experienced in the area of law he or she claims to handle.

In contrast, attorneys who apply to become a member of LRIS must meet experience requirements in their practice area(s); carry malpractice insurance; and be in good standing with the state bar. A client satisfaction survey sent to every LRIS client allows the service to provide meaningful follow-up to remedy any miscommunications or difficulties. Year after year, clients report an overwhelmingly high rate of satisfaction, both with the member attorneys and the LRIS staff that assists them.

Every year LRIS receives approximately 50,000 calls and email inquiries from people seeking legal assistance. For many, a referral to an LRIS attorney is their first interaction with an attorney. The mission of LRIS is not only to “educate as many people as possible about their legal rights” but also to “give as many people as possible access to affordable, competent legal representation.”

Positive recommendations continue to be one of the main reasons clients say they contact LRIS – and positive word of mouth about attorneys and LRIS enhances the image of the legal profession as a whole.
For a safe referral to attorneys with demonstrated experience in their field of practice, remember LRIS. Both its mission and certifications protect the client while promoting the reputation of quality lawyers doing great work for our community.

If you can’t help a client, tell them to call LRIS at 415-989-1616.

Our partners at BASFAhern Insurance Brokerage