Published January 2022
Almost four thousand Idaho residents and many out of state residents, contact the Idaho State Bar (ISB) Lawyer Referral Service (LRS) each year looking for legal help. LRS attorneys provide these potential clients with access to the law and improve the public’s trust in attorneys. The LRS puts into action the ISB’s mission to promote high standards of professional conduct and to aid in the advancement of the administration of justice. The LRS provides this much needed public service by bridging the gap between the community and the experienced attorneys who are registered panel members in the LRS program.
Anyone can call the LRS or obtain a referral on our website. The LRS fields around 4,000 inquiries each year and as of November 2021 has provided 2,061 referrals to the 150 LRS attorneys. The LRS intake coordinator screens callers to address which area of law they need assistance in however, not every caller receives a referral to an LRS attorney – some receive referrals to community or governmental agencies. Callers may be directed to small claims court, the court assistance and public defender’s offices, or programs such as Idaho Legal Aid Services, Idaho Volunteer Lawyers Program, or various local legal clinics.
LRS attorneys do not handle pro bono cases through the LRS however, there is an arm of the program that launched in 2021 called the Modest Means program. The Modest Means program is designed to provide access to justice to individuals who may not qualify for assistance programs but still are unable to afford regular attorney fees. Potential clients are lightly screened and referred to attorneys in the Lawyer Referral Service that have designated they will accept Modest Means cases in particular areas of law and charge a lower hourly rate for these cases only. The Modest Means program is available to all LRS attorneys who are interested in giving back to their communities in this manner.
Most of the attorneys who participate in the LRS joined for two reasons: 1) they would like to develop new clients, and 2) they are interested in giving back to the community. The LRS could not provide this public service without the dedication of the participating attorneys. A relatively new attorney practicing in Idaho, Edward Dindinger, has this to say about the LRS: “Having started a new law firm in 2018, the Idaho State Bar Lawyer Referral Service has been an essential business generation tool for my partner and me. It also provides an important service to those in our state who are in need of legal advice, but don’t know where to turn.”
Attorneys on the LRS panel are just like you! They are hard-working, intelligent professionals who strive to develop their practice while using their legal skills to provide consumers with access to justice. Of the 150 panel members in 2021, many are solo practitioners or in small firms and others practice in medium to large firms. Some have been attorneys for 50 years, some for only two to three, and a few are newly admitted. All these attorneys are experienced and knowledgeable in the specific areas of law in which they register to receive referrals and have a passion for helping the people of Idaho. To participate in the LRS, attorneys submit their registration in the areas of law they wish to receive referrals. There are 136 different options under which to register. All attorneys in the LRS are in good standing with the Bar and must maintain this clear discipline record to remain on the LRS panel.
LRS attorneys provide a free initial consultation of up to a half-hour for LRS clients. Callers are told that while the initial consultation is free, all fee arrangements are determined between the attorney and the client. ISB members pay a registration fee to join the LRS. The LRS receives potential clients from the ABA, other state bar associations, local court assistance offices, governmental agencies, and community organizations. We are continually looking for ways to spread the word about the wonderful public service the LRS provides. Next time you receive an inquiry about an area of law you don’t practice, please know that the experienced LRS attorneys are well suited to serve the needs of your referral.
We invite you to join the LRS in 2022 and thank all the attorneys currently participating in the LRS panel – we couldn’t help the public without you. We are so grateful to these 150 attorneys and we would love to have you be part of the service as well. If you have questions about the LRS or would like more information about registration, please contact the ISB LRS Coordinator, Kyme Graziano at 208-334-4500 or email@example.com.