The Missouri Bar Lawyer Referral Service

IMPORTANT NOTICE: According to the Supreme Court Rule 4-9.1, Lawyer Referral and Information Services, (e) A qualified service must be open to all lawyers licensed to practice in this state who: (1) maintain an office within the geographical area served.

If your office or firm is geographically located in St. Louis City or St. Louis County, or Springfield, MO or in Greene County, you are NOT eligible to become a member of The Missouri Bar Lawyer Referral Service. Those areas are served by The St. Louis Metro Bar Lawyer Referral Service and The Springfield Metro Bar Lawyer Referral Service.

Your Next Client Could Be an LRS Referral

As a member of The Missouri Bar Lawyer Referral Service, you'll enjoy receiving potential clients who already have been screened by Missouri Bar staff. Screening ensures that those people who have problems that can't be solved within the legal system are steered toward other resources. Not only will you receive potential clients in need of legal help, but you can be assured that anyone referred to you will have the type of legal problem that you have indicated as fitting within your practice areas.

You won't be wasting your time or your paralegal's listening to people who need help but who don't need legal help. Join The Missouri Bar Lawyer Referral Service and you can look forward to being part of an efficient service that benefits the public and Missouri Bar members.

Who Calls The Missouri Bar Lawyer Referral Service?

Many people have had no experience with lawyers and the courts. Even if they have, they may be uncomfortable calling different lawyers to find one who can solve their legal problem. When stressed by a legal problem, many people don't have the patience to spend time searching for just the right lawyer. People like these are among the hundreds who call the bar's Lawyer Referral Service each week. They may have read one of the Lawyer Referral Service's ads in their local Yellow Pages or a friend or attorney may have told them about this resource. They also find us online or at our website.

Other lawyers frequently refer clients to the bar's Lawyer Referral Service. After an initial interview, an attorney may determine that a potential client's needs can't be met by their practice. Or an existing client may have a new problem in an area in which the attorney isn't prepared to add to their practice. Additionally, the bar's Lawyer Referral Service gets requests for help from out-of-state callers who have been referred by bar associations throughout the U.S. and who need a Missouri lawyer to handle their problem.

The Missouri Bar Lawyer Referral Service links clients to lawyers throughout Missouri, except for St. Louis City and St. Louis County, and Springfield (Greene County). In those areas, people needing attorneys rely on the local bar association lawyer referral service. 

How The Missouri Bar Lawyer Referral Service Works

  1. After being screened, prospective clients are given the name of one member attorney who practices in their community and whose practice areas coincide with the caller's legal need. Attorney names are rotated from the top of the list to the bottom, insuring that all lawyers in a community who have similar practice areas receive calls on a rotating basis.
  2. Member attorneys agree to provide an up to 30-minute consultation to the prospective client for free.
  3. The client is charged a $50 fee for the referral, payable to the bar's Referral Service. (The fee helps cover some of the costs associated with providing this service). We ask that the lawyer collect the $50 fee at the time of the consultation, then forward it, along with any other recently collected referral fees to The Missouri Bar. Clients who call the referral service can now pay the $50 fee by using a debit or credit card.
  4. Additionally, if the fee generated from the referral is $200 or more, the bar charges the attorney ten percent of the total fee collected.
  5. There is no fee to join the service.  Group membership is not available.  Membership is open to individual attorneys only.

What Are You Agreeing to When You Complete The Application Form?

  1. To provide a free initial consultation to the client – up to 30 minutes.
  2. To collect and forward to the bar the $50 referral fee from the client.
  3. To submit to the bar 10 percent of total fees of $200 or more.
  4. To carry professional liability insurance of not less than $100,000/300,000 and maintain the policy throughout the period of participation in the service.
  5. To schedule appointments for referred clients in a timely manner.
  6. To "abide by the rules of the service and in no event hold, or claim to hold, the association or any of its officers, members or employees liable in connection with the operation of, or use of the information contained in the application in connection with the activities of the service."
  7. If I am associated with a law firm, I agree that I am authorized by my law firm to seek membership in The Missouri Bar Lawyer Referral Service (“the Service”) and to bind my law firm to the rules of the Service. I and my law firm agree to be bound by the rules of the Service, including the requirement that any fees earned by my firm for a client referred to me or my law firm by the Service must be shared with the Service under those rules. Should my law firm association change, I will promptly notify the Service which attorney or law firm will continue to represent any clients referred to me or my law firm by the Service. Such a change will not alter my duty to share in any fees earned from the referred client.

Rules of The Lawyer Referral Service

Any applicant may be denied registration and any registered lawyer may be withdrawn from registration if he/she has:

  1. Willfully failed to pay any fee or render any report required by the service or otherwise abide by its rules.
  2. Signed any application or other certification or report to the service which shall be found to be untrue in any material respect.
  3. The Lawyer Referral Service Committee, by majority vote, will have the authority to examine a prospective panel member's application to determine a panel member's eligibility, continued eligibility, and to adjust panel membership when necessary.
    The Lawyer Referral Service Committee, by majority vote, shall have the authority to deny, or suspend, or terminate a panel member, in case of emergencies, or at any time for good cause, to protect the public and The Missouri Bar.
    The Lawyer Referral Service Committee, by majority vote, shall determine if a prospective or current panel member's LRS membership should be denied, or suspended, or terminated, and the following process should occur:
    1. Reasons for denial, or suspension, or termination, shall be conveyed to the member in writing.
    2. Any attorney who has been denied membership, or suspended, or terminated, shall be offered the opportunity to make a written response to The Lawyer Referral Service Committee for review.
    3. Upon review, The Lawyer Referral Service Committee members, by majority vote, shall determine if the matter requires any further action or no further action.
    4. The Lawyer Referral Service Committee members, by majority vote, shall advise the panel member in writing, of its decision.
    5. The Lawyer Referral Service Committee members, by majority vote, may forward information regarding the basis for denial, or suspension, or termination, to The Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel in writing.
     
  4. A member, in filing his/her application as provided, agrees that:
    1. He/she will grant an initial consultation, without charge, provided the initial consultation does not exceed one-half hour. The member shall collect the administrative charge of $50 remitted to the service for operational expenses. If the initial consultation is by telephone, the attorney will notify the service so the service can collect the $50 administrative fee.
    2. If after the initial consultation, the attorney decides that he/she will not take the case, the client will be returned to the LRS for further referral. An attorney who decides not to take a case may not refer the client to another attorney without express permission from the LRS.
    3. Any charge for further service will be agreed upon with the client and with the attorney in keeping with the stated objectives of the service.
     
  5. The member carries, and will continue to carry, professional liability insurance of not less than $100,000/$300,000 throughout participation.
  6. The member will grant potential clients who are referred an appointment as soon as practicable after a request is made.
  7. The member will in no event hold, or claim to hold, the association or any of its officers, members or employees liable in connection with the operation of, or use of, the information contained in the application in connection with the activities of the service.
  8. The member will remit to the Missouri Lawyer Referral Service a referral fee of 10 percent of fees collected on lawyer referral service cases generating fees of $200.00 or more. The member will not increase the fee to compensate for the 10% referral fee the member must remit to the Missouri Lawyer Referral Service.
  9. The member agrees that the LRS staff person who receives a request for referral which the attorney accepts is acting as his/her employee or agent and shall be bound by the attorney-client privileged communication role regarding any information which is communicated to such person during the process of referral.
  10. The member represents to the referral service that he/she is licensed to practice in Missouri and will abide by all the rules and regulations of The Missouri Bar Lawyer Referral Service.

How to Join

First, read through the Rules of the Lawyer Referral Service above. Then if you agree with the terms, fill out the online application. Or you may download and complete the form and return it to: Missouri Lawyer Referral Service, PO Box 119, Jefferson City, MO. 65102.

If you have any questions about the Missouri Bar Lawyer Referral Service, call (573) 636-3635.