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Lawyer Referral and Information Service Wins ABA Award for its ADA Compliance and Education Program for Business


October 16, 2014 – San Francisco – The Bar Association of San Francisco’s (BASF)  Lawyer Referral and Information Service (LRIS) has been awarded the American Bar Association’s Cindy A. Raisch Award for its legal referral and education program to better inform San Francisco merchants about their obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act and acquaint them with resources for assistance with compliance.  The Service won the award, which is presented by the ABA Standing Committee on Lawyer Referral and Information Service, for having “developed and implemented a major program innovation that increases the public’s access to appropriate legal and non-legal services” and for exemplifying “a superior lawyer referral and information program worthy of emulation.”

Three years ago LRIS established the ADA Compliance and Education Program for Business when then City Supervisor Carmen Chu reached out to the LRIS to inquire how it could assist small business owners who had been sued for accessibility violations under the ADA.  Corridors of mom & pop business owners throughout San Francisco, who were mostly non-English speaking, didn’t understand why they were being sued, where they could find affordable legal help, and what financial assistance was available to support compliance with the ADA.

At that time, the LRIS implemented specialized CLE training and developed experience standards to qualify lawyers for its newly created ADA Compliance Panel, where business owners and commercial landlords are referred for both pre-litigation consulting and litigation representation, in multiple languages including Spanish, Chinese, and Tagalog.  In addition, the LRIS formulated an outreach education campaign in partnership with the City of San Francisco to help elevate awareness in the merchant community about the city, state and federal laws that govern accessibility.  LRIS attorneys continue to present to business owners and business attorneys who advise their clients on the ADA in partnership with the San Francisco Office of Small Business and Certified Accessibility Specialists (CASp).  LRIS also provides referrals to persons with disabilities under its Disability Rights Panel and has for more than 20 years.

As part of its ongoing commitment to the compliance program, LRIS has forged major partnerships to enrich the scope of the information and education provided to small businesses.  Education partners have included the Mayor’s Office on Disability; Disability Rights Advocates;  Pacific ADA Center; San Francisco Chamber of Commerce; Chuck Finney’s “Your Legal Rights” radio program; San Francisco Small Business Week; ADA expert attorneys Martin Orlick and Matthew Kenefick of Jeffer, Mangels, Butler & Mitchell; Monica Castillo of Sarrail, Castillo and Hall, LLP, and Jason Gong; and San Francisco Supervisors Katy Tang and David Chiu. These important relationships with government, legislative representatives, and community partners, including the persons with disabilities community, have helped achieve the balanced perspective that drives the education program and the essential information that’s good for business.

For more information on this award-winning program, please visit the LRIS ADA Compliance and Education Program page

To join the ADA Compliance Panel, please contact LRIS Director of Public Service Programs, Carole Conn, at (415) 782-8934 or

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