Virginia Lawyer Referral Service

An agency of the Supreme Court of Virginia

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Virginia State Bar

Virginia Lawyer Referral Service

VLRS Panel Members

Additional Info

downloadable application for lawyers (104KB pdf)

What is the Virginia Lawyer Referral Service?

The Virginia Lawyer Referral Service (VLRS) was founded in 1977 to assist the public with referrals to practicing members of the Virginia State Bar. The service currently makes over 50 referrals a day, or over 12,000 a year.
How does the service work?

1. A person wishing to consult with an attorney calls the VLRS toll-free number, 1-800-552-7977. The caller is screened, and if there appears to be a legal problem, the caller is referred (given the name, address and telephone number) to an attorney in his or her geographic area who also practices in the needed area of law. Attorneys are selected for referrals by computer in strict rotation.

2. The VLRS staff informs the caller that he or she is expected to pre-pay $35 for up to a one-half hour consultation. The consultation fee collected is used to offset the administrative and operational costs of the Virginia Lawyer Referral Service. The fee should be paid at the time of the referral and arrangements for any additional legal services should be made between the attorney and the caller after the initial consultation.

3. Once the referral has been made, it is the caller's duty to arrange for a convenient appointment with the attorney.

4. The VLRS sends a confirmation slip by fax, mail or e-mail to the attorney acknowledging the referral and alerting the attorney that the client should be calling for a consultation.
How do I join the service?

Furnish all of the information requested on the application/information form. Applications may be obtained by calling VLRS at 804-775-0591 or online. Mail your application with a $75.00 annual membership fee to the Virginia State Bar, Eighth and Main Building, 707 East Main Street, Suite 1500, Richmond, Virginia 23219-2800. The month you pay your membership fee constitutes your anniversary date. Learn more about VLRS panel membership by reading Frequently Asked Questions. from VLRS Members.
 

Watch the video! For more information about VLRS, view the Virginia State Bar Video Brief.
 

What are the rules of the service?

1.    Any active member in good standing with the Virginia State Bar may qualify as a VLRS panel member.
2.    Applicants for panel referral membership will be grouped by judicial circuit and arranged by geographically convenient areas within such groups.
3.    In submitting an application for membership on the panel, the applicant may indicate those types of legal work that he or she is competent to handle.
4.    In filing an application for membership, the applicant agrees to
the following:
    a.     The initial consultation, up to one-half hour, which has been pre-paid, will be granted for a fee of $35.00 to any client referred to the panel member. Any charge for further service will be as agreed upon between attorney and client. All clients referred by the service will be granted an appointment as soon as practicable after a request is made.
    b.     To accept any referral for initial interview in those areas of practice preference indicated on the application.  Should any referral give rise to a conflict of interest, the client is responsible for contacting the service and receiving a new referral. A panel member rejecting two consecutive initial referrals for reasons other than those set forth here will be moved to the bottom of the list. Panel members are not required to accept employment beyond the initial consultation.
    c.     To currently carry and continue to carry professional
liability insurance.
    d.     To follow all of the rules of the service and in no event hold the State Bar or any of its officers, members, or employees liable in connection with the operation of, or use of, the information contained in the application.
    Note: Administrative Hold—If a panel member charged with misconduct has been referred to a District Committee, the Disciplinary Board, or any circuit court, or agrees to or is placed under disciplinary terms, the service will not make referrals to that panel member until a) completion of the disciplinary proceedings without limitations having been placed on the panel member’s license to practice law or terms having been imposed, or b) following removal of such limitations and/or successful compliance with the terms imposed. Membership fees are non-refundable regardless of whether the panel member is under administrative hold or suspension.
 

How do I withdraw from the service?

A panel member may at any time withdraw his or her name from participation in the service upon five days of written notice to the Lawyer Referral Service addressed to the Virginia State Bar. Membership fees are non-refundable.
 

What constitutes suspension from the service?

1.    Failure to comply with the rules will result in a written notice of proposed suspension being issued by the chair of the Virginia State Bar Lawyer Referral Committee, or his or her designee and served upon the panel member. Service shall be effectuated upon delivery, dispatched by commercial delivery service, transmitting by facsimile or mailing by certified mail, return receipt requested.
2.    Upon service of suspension, the panel member may submit in writing the reasons for noncompliance or respond within 30 days of the notice of proposed suspension. The mailing of a notice of suspension to the panel member at his or her last address of record with the Virginia State Bar constitutes adequate service for the purposes of these rules.
3.    Failure to respond in writing within the 30 days of the date of the mailing of the notice of suspension to the panel member will result in a final action of suspension that will run until such time as the panel member furnishes evidence of compliance with the rules and regulations of the service.
4.    Upon receipt of a response to the notice of proposed suspension by the panel member, the VSB-VLRS Committee or its designee will review and recommend to the committee the following actions:
    a.    Final action of suspension;
    b.    Withdrawal of the notice of proposed suspension; or
    c.    Conditional participation on the panel.
    Any such action will be by majority vote of the committee at any regularly scheduled meeting or by telephone poll or other communication deemed appropriate.
5.    Any such action may be appealed within 30 days of the service of the notice of the committee’s action by written notice of appeal to the Chair of the VSB-VLRS Committee giving reasons and facts for appeal of the committee’s action. Upon receipt of the notice of appeal, the Chair of the VSB-VLRS Committee or his or her designees will convene a three-member panel of current Bar Council members to review the committee’s action and the written notice of appeal within 30 days of its receipt.
6.    If the review panel finds the committee’s action to be supported by substantial evidence, it will notify the panel member of its decision in writing. If the review panel finds the committee’s action to be unsupported by substantial evidence, or otherwise finds evidence of compliance with rules and regulations cited for alleged noncompliance or violation, the review panel will notify the panel member, withdraw the committee’s decision, and reinstate the panel member.
7.    The filing or pendency of any notice for appeal by the panel member does not stay the VSB-VLRS Committee’s action.
8.    Complaints from members of the public or attorneys regarding conduct allegedly constituting violations of noncompliance with disciplinary provisions with the Code of Professional Responsibility will be referred for such other action as is necessary according to the disciplinary procedures defined by the Code of Virginia and the Rules of Professional Conduct.

Updated: August 27, 2014