Lawyer Referral

Judy Ann Dugger, Chair

The Virginia Lawyer Referral Service (VLRS), ‘Celebrating 40 Years’ of effective and high-quality customer service has received 11,971 calls from persons in need of assistance with possible legal matters in Virginia. Of those calls, the VLRS has provided 4,318 prescreened and prepaid referrals to its active panel members; resulting in $160,150.00 non-profited revenue for the bar.   

The Virginia State Bar (VSB) Special Committee on Lawyer Referral commends the 389 VLRS attorney panel members for their (past and present) service to the bar and their communities. The VLRS welcomed 50 first-time panel members. The Committee’s efforts was to bring awareness of the VLRS to the VSB members by promoting the value of its panel membership; the consumer service and the protection provided to its callers to ensure their legal needs were being met.  Those goals were met by:

1.   Sponsorship of two (3 CLE credited) webinars:  “Introduction & Mission of the Virginia State Bar (VSB) Virginia Lawyer Referral Service and Ethics for the Virginia Lawyer Referral Service (September 14th); Defense of Criminal Cases: Introduction and Estates, Trusts and Wills (September 28th)

Presenters: D. Adam McKelvey, Crandall & Katt; Charles Adams, Zwerdling, Oppleman & Adams; and Joley L. Steffens, Esq., ThompsonMcMullan. VSB members attending the webinars received 1-year VLRS panel membership.

2.   On-Site Panel Membership promotions:  VSB TechShow (Richmond), Solo and Small-Firm Practitioner Forum (Emporia & Winchester), VSB YLC Admission & Orientation Ceremony (Richmond), The Virginia Bar Association (VBA ) 46th Annual Conference on Labor  Relations and Employment Law & 127th Annual Meeting(Williamsburg); The Old Dominion Bar Association (ODBA) Annual Meeting (Woodbridge); and the VSB Annual Meeting (Virginia Beach).

3.   A featured article in the VSB Virginia Lawyer Magazine (April 2017), “What We Do Here: The Virginia Lawyer Referral Service”;  along with new print advertising inviting VSB members in the practice of Employment, Immigration, and Consumer laws with bi-lingual abilities to the service’s panel membership.  

4.   New panel membership applications with expanded areas of law practices and requiring more detailed law office information to ensure the panel members received the best possible referrals.

5.   Offered 1-year free panel to VSB members in the underserved cities and counties where there were no VLRS lawyer panel members listed, and to those VSB members who practice Employment & Workers Compensation laws.  

6.   Reviewed lawyer panel membership Disciplinary Administrative Hold for the protection of the consumers and panel members.

7.   Plans to develop an interactive online referral portal for the general public.

8.   Partnering with The Greater Richmond Bar Association (GRBA) to provide referrals to Virginia Veterans that contacted their office for legal services.

9.   Changes to the Virginia Lawyer Referral Service website to make it more consumer friendly (less wording) and more visually appealing to the reader.

10.   Statewide consumer advertising and promotion by distributing over seven-thousand VLRS Take-One Rack Cards to Virginia State Libraries (40), the Virginia General District, Juvenile & Domestic Relations, and Circuit Courts (107), and  the Virginia Public Defender Offices (26).   

The Special Committee on Lawyer Referral met on Thursday, October 27, 2016 and Thursday, April 27, 2017 from 12 – 1:30 pm.

Committee Members

Judy A. Dugger, chair;  Rachel E. Jones,  vice-chair;  Timothy A. Boyer, Eugene M. Elliott, Jr., John A. Kassabian, Neil S. Lowenstein,  D. Adam McKelvey,  Sarah M. Morton, D. David Parr, Jr.,  Todd A. Pilot,  Jeanette D. Rogers, and Christopher L. Spinelli. 

Updated: Oct 11, 2017