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Longtime LRIS Director Carol Woods Retires


April 1, 2010  – San Francisco – Lawyer Referral and Information Service Director Carol Woods will retire this month after 29 years with the department. In that time, Woods has focused her vision, hard work and high standards for excellence towards developing LRIS into the nationally-recognized public service program that, today, is a model for LRIS programs throughout the state and the nation.

Woods first began her career at LRIS in 1980 when then–director Larry Long hired her as a legal interviewer to take calls from the public. By 1985, Woods was serving as the LRIS Office Manager and when Long became ill, Woods stepped in to serve as the de facto head of LRIS. In 1986, Woods’ talents and hard work were fully acknowledged and she was promoted to the director position. At that time, a staff of five legal interviewers answered approximately 12,000 calls a year in addition to performing all the administrative functions of the service.

Under her strong leadership, the program has grown exponentially and now, along with intake and referral services, includes the Court-Appointment Programs for Indigent Defense, Dependency Representation and Family Law, with 21 employees. The number of those seeking legal assistance has also quadrupled since the start of her career to approximately 50,000 calls with about 3,000 email inquiries each year.

Among her many contributions has been her work to help establish the governing regulations for LRIS programs with the State Bar of California, that require among other things: experience qualifications for attorneys; malpractice insurance; attorney rotation; and a way to remove attorneys for unacceptable behavior. She has also provided invaluable input to help the American Bar Association perfect its Model Rules for LRIS programs nationwide. Woods also served as a consultant for the ABA’s Program of Assistance and Review (PAR), advising LRIS programs throughout the country.

In addition, Woods created the LRIS Fund for Public Service which formalizes the financial contributions made from LRIS to The Bar Association of San Francisco’s charitable programs, including the Volunteer Legal Services Program, which is currently the largest provider of pro bono legal services in
San Francisco.

Her retirement represents the closing of a long, rich career in public service, and her absence will be felt profoundly in the LRIS community nationwide. But the ones who will miss her most of all will be her friends and co-workers who have had the privilege of working closely with her over the years, who will never forget the wisdom, grace and compassion that she brought to her work.

The Bar Association of San Francisco (BASF) is a nonprofit voluntary membership organization of over 8,000 attorneys, law students and legal professionals in the Bay Area. Founded in 1872, BASF is one of the largest and most dynamic metropolitan bar associations in the U.S., with a long and distinguished record of community action, public service and service to the legal profession.

Questions about media relations, BASF issues currently in the news, San Francisco Attorney magazine, marketing and communications:

Ann Murphy, Director of Communications & Public Relations
(415) 782-9000 x8792

For general communications inquiries:

Sayre Happich, Assistant Director of Communications & Public Relations
(415) 782-9000 x8104