NCBA LRS Benefit So Sweet, a Member Just Had To Bring Us Chocolates

The Lawyer Referral Service is one of many benefits available to NCBA members.
Renew your membership before Oct. 31 to stay with the NCBA.

By M’Lea Peak
NCBA Lawyer Referral Service Program Coordinator

Not every attorney on his way to pay a $20,000 bill would have a spring in his step and smile on his face. But when Steve Paul stopped by the North Carolina Bar Center on a sunny afternoon last fall, not only was he smiling, he was also carrying an armload of Godiva chocolates for the NCBA Lawyer Referral Service staff.

Paul was dropping off a remittance fee check representing 10 percent of his share of a medical negligence case that originated with a referral from LRS. Standard operating procedure does not require attorneys to deliver their remittance fee checks in person – or for them to bring chocolates – but the LRS staff is happy to accommodate both practices.

Chapel Hill Attorney and NCBA Member Steve Paul

Last month, Paul’s office contacted the LRS staff to let us know they would be bringing us a check in the amount of $5,000, representing 10 percent of his part of a $150,000 settlement of a medical negligence claim.

Paul is sold on the ROI of LRS.

“As a small business owner and having my own small firm, I am always investigating my return on investment: Is a new computer system worth the purchase? Is a new copier to be leased or owned? And when will it pay for itself? How about a new phone system? And on and on, every month and year these decisions must be made and they are vital to the success of a small law firm.

“Here, I actually figured it out before joining: $150 per year in dues meant I needed to recover $150 in fees to make it worthwhile. And I thought, ‘I can do that.’ ” 

The NCBA Lawyer Referral Service program is available only to NCBA members. During the 2017-18 bar year, LRS subscribers reported $1,023,050 in revenues generated through LRS referrals, and 17,660 confirmed referrals made statewide through LRS.

Paul has been subscribing to LRS since we revamped our program in 2016. He pays the standard $150 LRS membership fee each year, which includes one full-spectrum practice panel with accompanying subpanels. In addition to the fee, LRS subscribers agree to remit back to LRS 10 percent of attorney’s fees collected on cases referred that generate $500 or more in attorney’s fees. This remittance excludes filing fees, deposition fees, expert witness fees, etc.

Since 2016, Paul has paid $525 to be a member of the Lawyer Referral Service (January-June 2016, $75; July 2016-June 2017, $150; July 2017-June 2018, $150; July 2018 – June 2019, $150: Total $525). He says the return on his investment has been $250,000.

He is a fan of not just the financial benefit but also the LRS service.

“What your office does for the attorneys is simply incredible. You do the marketing, you do the screening, you do the initial contact and talking with the potential client. Your staff also does the note-taking and sends an email with a synopsis of the claim to my office with all the client’s information. My goodness, what don’t you do?!  For me, this is worth so much in employees’ time and labor. For $150 per year – too easy a choice!”

To join LRS, click here:

Attorneys who have previously been LRS members and would like to renew their membership should click here: