Lawyer referrals go online

The State Bar of Texas Lawyer Referral Information Service (LRIS) has launched a new online service to more efficiently connect lawyers and clients, 24 hours a day. The service is available via the LRIS website.

The State Bar LRIS covers areas of Texas not served by local referral services. These are generally non-metropolitan areas. Members of the public who use the service pay a $20 fee for an initial 30-minute consultation with an attorney. Attorneys pay an annual fee to be part of the LRIS plus a percentage of any fees generated.

Before the launch of this online service, referrals by the State Bar LRIS were done by phone and only during business hours, Monday through Friday. The online service is available anytime and allows the public to fill out an online form and instantly receive the name of an attorney who might handle their matter. The attorney also receives an email notification with the client's contact information. With the old system, attorneys received only a monthly report reflecting the previous month's activity.

LRIS director Denny Sheppard says her program has seen an uptick in the total number of referrals after less than two weeks of offering the online referral tool. LRIS continues to operate a toll free number where people can call and be matched with an attorney.

In November, State Bar LRIS plans to launch an online portal where LRIS attorneys can pay dues and referral fees.

For more on LRIS, visit www.texasbar.com/LRIS