VLRS Panel Members
Call (804) 775-0591 for a VLRS application.
Download VLRS application (PDF file).
What is 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 VLRS makes over 20 referrals a day or 4,000 a year and receives over 12,000 calls yearly.
Why should I become a member of the VLRS panel?
- The VLRS provides pre-screened referrals to its lawyer members to help them grow their client base.
- Referrals come from the general public as well as from other law firms that do not handle a specific type of case.
- Lawyers who become panel members typically stay on the VLRS panel. Eighty-five percent of panel members are 55 and older and have used the VLRS to build their practices for well over a decade.
- Panel members select their practice areas and geographic areas.
- VLRS referrals span various areas of law including traffic cases, family law, landlord/tenant disputes and employment law.
How does the service work?
- 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.
- 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 is 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.
- Once the referral has been made, it is the caller's duty to arrange for a convenient appointment with the attorney, though we ask panel members to schedule the appointment within three days of the referral, or as soon as practicable.
- The VLRS sends a confirmation slip by e-mail to the referred attorney acknowledging the referral and alerting the attorney that the referred caller will 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 here. Mail your application with a $95.00 annual membership fee to the Virginia State Bar, Bank of America Building, 1111 East Main Street, Suite 700, Richmond, Virginia 23219-0026. 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.*
*Information in the VSB Video Brief does not reflect changes after January 1, 2015.
What are the VLRS rules?
The rules of service of the VLRS are intended to offer consumer protection to the public in its obtainment of legal services.
1. Any active member in good standing with the Virginia State Bar (VSB) may qualify as a VLRS panel member.
2. Panel members will be grouped by judicial circuit and arranged by geographically convenient areas within such groups.
3. Panel members may choose up to 35 areas of the law to list as areas of competency.
4. Panel members agree to the following:
Pre-paid callers will be referred to panel members who then must provide the callers with 30-minutes of legal consultation. An appointment should be granted within three business days of the referral date, or as soon as practicable after a request is made. Immediately following the up to 30-minute initial consultation or within ten days of the referral notice date, e-mail the completed referral notice back to VLRS indicating the outcome of the consult. Any charges for further service will be as agreed upon between the lawyer and the referral.
Panel members will accept an initial interview for any referred caller in the areas of practice preference indicated on the application. Should any referral give rise to a conflict of interest, the lawyer panel member should direct the referred caller to contact VLRS to receive 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 referral rotation list. Panel members are not required to accept employment beyond the initial consultation.
Panel members must carry professional liability insurance as of the date of the application and for as long as the applicant is a VLRS member and be in good standing with the VSB Member Compliance Department.
Panel members must follow all VLRS rules and in no event hold the VSB 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.
5. Once accepted for panel membership, it is the responsibility of the attorney (panel member) to notify VLRS of the following:
Departure from your current firm or office
Panel selection changes
Any disciplinary action with the VSB
How do I withdraw from VLRS?
A panel member may withdraw his or her name from VLRS participation fiive days after submitting written notice to the VLRS. Membership fees are neither refundable nor transferable. At the time of written withdrawal, please also advise the VLRS in writing as to the consultation outcome of all outstanding pre-paid referral notices.
Suspension from VLRS
1. Failure to comply with the rules will result in a written notice of proposed suspension from the VLRS from the chair of the Virginia State Bar Lawyer Referral Committee, or his or her designee. Service is deemed effective when sent to the member’s e-mail address of record with the VSB, or mailed to the member’s address of record by certified mail, return receipt requested.
2. Upon notice of proposed suspension or service of suspension, the panel member may submit a written response within thirty days stating the reasons for noncompliance. 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 thirty 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 thirty 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 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 thirty 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 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 noncompliance with disciplinary provisions of 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: November 16, 2016