Starting out on our own can be challenging. Building your contacts, referral sources, and eventual client base will take time. As a solo practitioner, you always have to be willing to adapt to any given situation and be willing to re-brand yourself given the changes in the law, in your firm and in your personal life. The SDCBA's Lawyer Referral Information Service (LRIS) is a wonderful resource for both new and experienced attorneys who are out on their own. LRIS offers a panel where attorneys can apply to receive cases based on their respective areas of law in which they practice.
The staff at LRIS are extremely helpful, kind and work hard to support the legal profession. At times, there may exist a disconnect between the legal field and the community. LRIS creatively and successfully finds ways to bridge that gap. LRIS organizes community events at several different locations, including but not limited to local libraries. By doing so, LRIS opens the channels of communication between lawyers, the community, and sometimes the media as well. This provides lawyers with many different avenues for building their firms, reputation and positive exposure to the community.
Two key aspects inherent to a lawyer’s professional profile are reputation and credibility. LRIS can help bolster both of these. By being part of LRIS’ panel, the lawyer can gain more experience by being retained for different legal matters. Even if the potential client ultimately selects other counsel, the lawyer will gain experience consulting on a matter and develop client-interaction skills. This in turn bolsters the lawyer’s credibility to learn how to deal with different fact patterns so when that good case comes along, the lawyer will be confident, competent and ready to best advocate on behalf of the client. By being involved with LRIS and volunteering with outreach community programs, the lawyer’s reputation continues to steadily build in a positive manner. The lawyer receives more exposure and in turn, opens the door to forge new contacts which could become referral sources in the future.
Building your credibility, reputation, and eventual client base will take time. LRIS is there to help you along the way. However, as a law professor once told us, “the answer you get depends on the question you ask.” So, it is necessary for you to do the legwork and determine where you want to take your firm. At the end of the day, we are in the business of providing a service to the community. Create a game plan, write down your short-term and long-term goals, and work towards accomplishing them. Remember to be flexible and willing to adapt to any given situation, and most of all – have fun.
Interested in Joining LRIS?Updated criteria for the following practice area panels makes it easier to join:
- Bankruptcy Personal
- Bankruptcy Business
- Debtor Representation
- Enforcement of Judgements
- Family Law
- Medical Malpractice
- Personal Injury – Plaintiff
- Personal Injury – Defense
- Real Estate Litigation
- Real Estate Transactions
- Small Claims
Learn more at www.sdcba.org/howtojoin.