1. PURPOSE

The purpose of the Lawyer Referral Service (LRS) is to provide a means whereby any person who can afford a reasonable fee for legal advice and does not have an attorney, may be referred to a member of the bar willing to give a brief consultation, and where necessary, additional services, the compensation for which will be based upon an agreement between the attorney and the client consistent with Section 9 of these rules.


2. THE COMMITTEE

The LRS Committee of the Prince George's County Bar Association shall be charged with the operation of the Service and shall make such rules, subject to the approval of the Executive Committee of the Prince George's County Bar Association, for the conduct and operation of the same, including membership on the panel, as may from time to time be deemed proper.


3. THE SERVICE


The Service shall be operated by the Legal Advice Line ("LAL") , under the general supervision of the Committee. A prospective client shall he interviewed in the first instance by LAL to determine the nature of the legal problem involved. If legal services are required, the prospective client shall be referred by the Service to a member of the Bar who has agreed to participate in the Service, hereafter called a "Panel Attorney".


4. ELIGIBILITY AND APPROVAL OF PANEL ATTORNEYS

Any member in good standing of the Prince George's County Bar Association, now engaged in the active practice of law, may apply for registration as a Panel Attorney by submitting a signed application, to be provided by the Service, to the Prince George's County Bar Association office. The LRS Committee of the Prince George's County Bar Association reserves the right to reject any application for registration on the Panel of the Service, or to remove at any time, the name of any Panel Attorney from the Panel or from any classification. The Director shall promptly notify each person whose application is accepted, rejected or whose name is removed from the Panel or from any classification. if dissatisfied with the action of the LRS Committee, any person affected by this provision shall have the right to appeal to the Executive Committee of the Prince George's County Bar Association upon written application made to the Secretary within thirty (30) days from the date of the LRS Committee action about which such person is complaining.


5. REGISTRATION OF PANEL ATTORNEY


No attorney shall in any event be registered with the Service unless the attorney shall warrant that he/she is a member in good standing of the State Bar of Maryland, now engaged in the active practice of law, and unless the attorney agrees, that:
(a) The information contained in the application may be furnished to applicants for legal services in the operation of the Service by the Association.
(b) The attorney's name may be classified by categories in the LRS as the Committee shall direct.
(c) The attorney's name may be removed from any or all classifications of the Service at any time in the discretion of the LRS Committee.
(d) So long as the attorney shall continue to be registered with the LRS, he/she shall pay to the Association each year the annual registration fee.
(e) The attorney will abide by all rules of the Service which may be promulgated by the Association.
(f) Any Panel Attorney so desiring shall be permitted to withdraw from the LRS panel upon written notice.
(g) The attorney will in no event hold or claim to hold the Association, or the Service, or any officer, trustee, member or employee thereof to any liability whatever in connection with the operation of the Service or the use of information contained in the application.
(h) The attorney will maintain malpractice insurance covering his/her liability for any alleged negligence in representing clients referred by the Service.


6. FEE FOR MEMBERSHTP ON THE PANEL


Application for registration on the Panel shall be accompanied by the first annual registration fee, which, if made after April 1, shall be one half, the fiscal year beginning on January 1 and ending December 1. The amount of the registration fee will be stated on the application. The annual registration fee shall entitle a registrant to select unlimited sub-panels under a maximum of six categories, exclusive of special panels designated by asterisk (**) . For each category selected in excess of six the registrant shall pay an additional $10.00 registration fee per year. Each Panel Attorney will be invoiced annually. A ten day Final Notice will be sent if dues are not paid by due date. After that, attorneys will be dropped from the panel with no further notice. The Association is under no obligation to refund all or part of any registration fee.


7. EXCLUSION OF PARTICULAR FIELDS

Any Panel Attorney may designate in the application the type of cases that he/she will or will not accept, but shall not be permitted to specify an unwillingness to accept referrals according to the value of the property or the amount of the claim involved. The designations may be amended at any time upon five days' written notice to the Director. When a Panel Attorney's name appears next in the rotation and the next case is one not designated by the application on file, the attorney shall be passed over in making that referral and will remain next in rotation.


8. ACCEPTANCE OF ALL REFERRALS

Except as provided in the foregoing section, a Panel Attorney shall not be permitted a preference for any particular type of work. The attorney agrees to accept any case referred in any category the application on file so designates. Any Panel Attorney refusing a case without having previously specified an unwillingness to handle cases of that type as above provided, shall lose his/her position in rotation as if referral had been completed.


9. LEGAL FEES


A written application by an attorney to be placed on the Panel shall constitute the attorney's agreement to render professional service to each client referred by the Service upon the following basis:
(a) To promptly schedule an initial conference with referred client at no charge, which need be no more than one-half hour. This consultation is for advice only, and does not include the preparation of letters or any legal papers.
(b) When a client is retained, the panel attorney shall remit a fee of $30.00 to the Lawyer Referral Service.
(c) For cases taken on a contingency fee basis, the panel attorney shall promptly contribute to the Prince George's County Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service office 10% of the total legal fees earned on the case, along with a copy of the settlement statement signed by the client.
(d) Compensation for further services will be fixed by agreement with the client and in keeping with the spirit of the Service. In arriving at the amount of the fee, the attorney shall be guided by the code of Professional Responsibility.
(e) If any dispute over fees should arise for services performed between the Panel Attorney and any client referred by the Service, and the client so requests, such dispute will be submitted to the Prince George's County Bar Association's Fee Disputes & Conciliation Committee for binding arbitration.


10. REFERRAL PROCEDURE

Upon contacting the Referral Service the client will be interviewed by a member of the LAL staff to determine the nature of the legal service required and shall telephone the office of the Panel Attorney whose name appears next in rotation and has agreed to handle that type of case. If the attorney is unavailable for an interview with the client within a reasonable amount of time, LAL staff shall call the next attorney in rotation and so on until a prompt appointment can be made. The client will then be connected to the attorney's office via conference line, if possible, for the purpose of confirming the appointment. Once particulars have been relayed by LAL staff to the attorney's office and to the client the referral will be considered completed. LAL staff shall see to it that client is added to the attorney's list of referral clients for future billing. Should a client decline to make an appointment, cancel, or fail to show for a scheduled appointment a report, by telephone, should be made to the LAL immediately. Reduced Fee and other Special Panels will be handled in the same manner, however, they will he listed separately and will not affect the Panel Attorney's position in rotation.