The Calming Voice on the Other End of the Line

Emmy Pasternak, LRIS Outreach and Case Development Manager

The legal interviewers of the Lawyer Referral and Information Service (LRIS) are a team of professional individuals who bring an abundance of educational and life experience to their interactions with clients and attorneys. Far more than an “appointment scheduling service” or “legal hotline,” the services provided by the legal interviewers run the gamut from guidance to community resources to case assessor to sounding board for clients.

Lawyer Referral and Information Service intake staff

Lawyer Referral and Information Service intake staff

As a neutral third party, the legal interviewer provides a compassionate ear for the client and an informed case summary to an LRIS panel member attorney.

In English, Spanish, Farsi, French, Italian, Mandarin, Cantonese, Vietnamese, and Tagalog, the interviewers assist the public through telephone, email, and live chat requests that come not only from the Bay Area but from across the globe.

The legal interviewers conduct initial case analysis for every potential client’s legal matter and assess what avenue is most appropriate. They are a vital conduit between those seeking legal information and the multitude of legal, social service, and governmental agencies throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Working from a list of over 250 resources, the interviewers provide relevant and timely information to clients who are often unfamiliar with and intimidated by the legal system. Screening for and referral to pro bono service program, including BASF’s Justice & Diversity Center, begin with case and income eligibility screening through LRIS.

Interviewer-led bi-monthly meetings provide a forum for conversation about challenges, updates to resources available to clients, and trends in the legal marketplace that impact the nature of the approximately 4,000 phone and email requests that stream into LRIS every month.

LRIS and its team of legal interviewers are trusted, trained professionals, committed to serving the needs of the public by providing the highest quality customer service to the clients and to the attorney members.

If you are an attorney who encounters a client with a legal need outside your practice area, you can trust LRIS to quickly assist with finding the most appropriate referral.

And here is a fun fact about a former LRIS interviewer – he was on President Obama’s short list for the Supreme Court. You never know who could be answering that client call or referring a case to a panel member. It might just be a future judge, like the Hon. Paul Watford, you argue a case in front of.

For information on how to join LRIS, visit www.sfbar.org/lawyerreferrals/att.aspx. Read more about our program, download panel applications, and view attorney testimonials. You may also contact the LRIS Membership Coordinator, Yvonne Ng, at (415) 782-8951 or yng@sfbar.org for direct service. LRIS is a revenue generating program, the proceeds of which help to support BASF’s charitable programs.