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Our blog is a great tool for our panel members to ensure that they have the most up to date information pertaining to LRIS. Any policy changes or news regarding the Atlanta Bar Association LRIS can be located here.

 

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Top tags: Atlanta Bar Association  lawyer referral  lris  2014-2015 fiscal year  law  2013-2014 fiscal year  2015-2016 Fiscal Year  American Bar Association  Atlanta  aviation law  Bar Association  black history month  civil rights  Civil Rights Act of 1964  clayton county  compensation  facebook  insurance  lawyer  legal  linkedin  medical malpractice  percentage fees  personal injury  probate estates  qualified lawyers  real estate  social media  twitter  wrongful death 

LRIS' Look Back

Posted By Emily Ghant (Johnson), Tuesday, January 12, 2016
By: Celia Sunne, LRIS Board Chair

I have been a member of the LRIS board for eight years and this year I am the chairperson.  In my years as a board member I have had the opportunity to talk to other attorneys about the LRIS.  We have many attorneys who are members of our panel and receive referrals but I don't think that many know just what we do and why we do it.
 
The Lawyer Referral movement took place shortly after WWII.  It was a nationwide movement to help military service men returning home and needing legal assistance in many areas of law.  Henry B. Troutman, Jr. was the chair of the first Atlanta Bar public service Lawyer Referral program in 1955.   We had about 100 lawyers on the panel and made 90 referrals per month.  It was formed out of the idea of providing a needed service to a sector of the public who needed help, specifically, our returning soldiers and other military personnel. 
 
Since 1955 it has grown into a program that employees 4 full-time and one part-time employee who handle 40,000 calls a year.  It has developed from a service that had a $13,000 surplus in 2002 to a surplus of over $500,000.  The LRIS panel attorneys earned over 3.3 million in fees last year. 
 
The LRIS director,  Carla Brown , was hired in 2002 to oversee the program and in her tenure she has developed the LRIS into a highly functioning organization that serves the public by providing attorneys to people in needed areas.   The LRIS has expanded its reach through innovative business ideas, such as the Modest Means Program, which helps low income clients who do not qualify for Legal Aid and by hiring a Spanish-speaking employee to assist and help members of the Hispanic community find a lawyer.  The advent of internet marketing such as the MARTA ad campaign has allowed the number of people we serve to grow.
 
In 2004 we implemented a percentage fee policy.  Participating attorneys would remit back to LRIS 15% of fees earned over $500.  We grew and with the tremendous success of the Atlanta Bar LRIS program we started to look at other ways we could serve the legal community.  In 2010 the LRIS Board approved a grant program for pro bono organizations.  Each year since 2009 the LRIS has given a large portion of its surplus to various pro bono legal organizations. 
 
In 2015 LRIS had its best year since the inception of the percentage fee program.  We passed our success on to pro bono organizations in accordance with our mission.  This year we were pleased to award thirteen deserving organizations, such as the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation, the Atlanta Legal Aid Society, the Truancy Intervention Program, Georgia Justice Project and others, a total of $200,000. 
 
From its initial inception in 1955 the LRIS has existed to serve.  In sixty years it has grown in its breadth and its success has allowed the program to serve in even greater ways.  We are now able to help people who need legal help and help organizations that help people who need legal help.   
 
We are looking forward to another 60 years of growth and service.

Tags:  2015-2016 Fiscal Year  Atlanta Bar Association  Bar Association  LRIS 

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Attorney Spotlight - Edward Downs Jr.

Posted By Emily Ghant (Johnson), Thursday, March 5, 2015

LRIS Attorney Spotlight

An Atlanta Bar Association and LRIS panel member, Edward R. Downs Jr., graduated from George Washington Law School in 1973. As a product of the Perry Mason generation, Attorney Downs became interested in law due to the civil rights legislation of 1964 and 1965 which opened new possibilities for Black America. He graduated cum laude in Economics and History from Morris Brown College. Later, at George Washington, he clerked for the Bureau of Competition of the Federal Trade Commission. After passing the DC Bar Exam, he practiced as a Trade Regulation lawyer in that agency.  In 1974 he opened a primarily civil practice in Savannah, Georgia.  Fifteen years later, he relocated to the Metro Atlanta area where he prosecuted felonies, misdemeanors, and code violations for the City of Atlanta.  In 1997, he founded Ed Downs & Associates, P.C. in Riverdale, Georgia. Since then, he joined the Atlanta Bar Association and Lawyer Referral and Information Service where he has served on seven LRIS panels including: Construction Law, Home Owners Association, Insurance Law, Probate Estates-Litigation, Real Estate-Litigation, Real Estate Purchase and Sales, and Taxation. For the past 12 years, Attorney Downs has served as a Pro Tem Juvenile Court Judge in Clayton County, succeeding 1 year as a Pro Tem Magistrate Court Judge.

 

As a black male in the legal community, Attorney Downs feels that Black History Month is a good start, better than Black History Week that he experienced as a child; but the shortest month of the year is simply not enough time for Americans to truly appreciate the black impact on the development of America. While in Savannah representing the local NAACP, he broke new ground in his representation of the Savannah NAACP by challenging the broadcast license of WVAN television filed with the FCC in 1974/75.  The station employed one African American janitor and produced virtually no black programming. Though the challenge did not stop the re-granting of the license, it did bring about major changes in Georgia Public Television which reacted by hiring and training large numbers of African Americans in technical and on-air positions. 

 

Attorney Downs' advice to new lawyers is, "Every new attorney should practice in several areas before settling in. A new attorney may be partial to defense work, prosecuting, or transactional work, but until varied legal problems are dealt with, experience will remain narrow." The best advice that Attorney Downs received before entering law school was from Dr. King personally who advised him to learn about non-traditional legal areas beyond criminal law because of the opening of professional opportunities to all which was becoming quite apparent. Attorney Downs believes that the LRIS program is a great tool to gain experience in various areas of law.

Tags:  Atlanta Bar Association  black history month  civil rights  Civil Rights Act of 1964  clayton county  insurance  law  probate estates  real estate 

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Success for LRIS in 2014 in The Atlanta Lawyer Magazine

Posted By Emily Ghant (Johnson), Wednesday, January 14, 2015

If you missed the latest The Atlanta Lawyer Magazine publication, you may view it here. LRIS is mentioned on pages 30-31. 

  

We appreciate each of our panel members for making 2014 such a successful year. Thank you!

Download File (PDF)

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Attorney Spotlight - Richard C. Mitchell

Posted By Emily Ghant (Johnson), Thursday, January 8, 2015

In 1981, Richard C. Mitchell, an Atlanta Bar Association and LRIS panel member, graduated from Stanford Law School and immediately joined the legal community. Specializing in personal injury law, Attorney Mitchell did not have a specific career path in mind prior to taking a few legal related courses and working on Capitol Hill during college. However, practicing law to help people was one of his main priorities. Attorney Richard Mitchell joined the Atlanta Bar Association in 1982 while he was assigned to Personal Injury cases at Powell, Goldstein, Frazer & Murphy; he later joined the Lawyer Referral and Information Service in 1997 when he began his own firm, Mitchell & Shapiro LLP. Richard Mitchell currently serves on four LRIS panels including: Aviation Law, Medical Malpractice, Personal Injury, and Wrongful Death.

 

Attorney Mitchell recently settled a wrongful death case, referred to him by the Atlanta Bar Association Lawyer Referral and Information Service. This case involved a person who suffered tremendous blood loss and died a couple days later after a major surgery. The deceased family member's spouse contacted the Atlanta Bar Association's LRIS for assistance. LRIS referred this family in need to Attorney Richard C. Mitchell; within two years, the case was settled. The favorable settlement amount has made a huge difference in the formerly economically disadvantaged family.

 

Attorney Mitchell's advises new attorneys to "Find out what you really want to do in law. You have to be passionate about helping your clients and if you aren't you are clearly in the wrong area and do something different. Mentors are critical in this field, it is hard to break-in." Richard Mitchell agrees that joining LRIS as a young attorney is beneficial in gaining experience and cases.

Tags:  Atlanta Bar Association  aviation law  compensation  law  lawyer  legal  LRIS  medical malpractice  personal injury  qualified lawyers  wrongful death 

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Stats & Facts - 2nd quarter of 2014-2015 FY

Posted By Emily Ghant (Johnson), Wednesday, January 7, 2015

LRIS appreciates our panel members who serve our referred callers with unbiased, trustworthy and consumer-oriented assistance. We would like to thank all of our panel members who submitted percentage fees during the 1st quarter of our fiscal year and listed below are those who submitted over $1,000.  

- Percentage Fees: 09/01/2014 - 11/30/2014 -

 

$4000+

Mark A. Campbell, Tiffany Cleveland, Clark H. McGehee, Richard C. Mitchell. Laurie Robbins, and Gilbert Taylor

 

$2000

Tammy Holcomb and Howard Rothbloom 

 

$1000

Todd Boyce, Amanda Farahany, Kathleen Flynn, Ned E. Flynn, Peter Gross, George S. Johnson, Elizabeth Marum, David Merbaum, Louise Smith, William J. Smith, Jerry L. Stepp, and David Stevens.

Tags:  2014-2015 fiscal year  Atlanta Bar Association  lris  percentage fees 

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Join Us on Social Media

Posted By Emily Ghant (Johnson), Wednesday, October 22, 2014
It is important for all of our panel members to connect and interact with Lawyer Referral and the community by using our social media outlets. Please connect with us! 

Follow Us on Twitter "@ATLBARLRIS"

Like us on Facebook "/atlbarlris"

Join our group on LinkedIn "Atlanta Bar Assoication Lawyer Referral & Information Service"

Find us on Google+ "Atlanta Bar Association Lawyer Referral" 

Tags:  Atlanta Bar Association  facebook  lawyer referral  linkedin  social media  twitter 

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Stats & Facts - 1st quarter of 2014-2015 FY

Posted By Emily Ghant (Johnson), Wednesday, October 22, 2014
LRIS appreciates our panel members who serve our referred callers with unbiased, trustworthy and consumer-oriented assistance. We would like to thank all of our panel members who submitted percentage fees during the 1st quarter of our fiscal year and listed below are those who submitted over $1,000. 

- Percentage Fees: 06/01/2014 - 08/31/2014 -

 

$4000+

Michael Neff                           

Clark H. McGehee      

S. Carlton Rouse

Sharon Rowen

Shoran Williams

Richard C. Mitchell

 

$2000

Pamela Atkins

Paulette Adams Bradham

David M. Lilenfeld

Jeremy E. White

Jerry L. Stepp

Nicholas P. Smith

John C. McCaffery

 

$1000

William J. Smith

Gary M. Kazin

Lisa S. Schrage

Robert G. Rubin

Tags:  2014-2015 fiscal year  Atlanta Bar Association  lawyer referral 

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Stats & Facts - 4th quarter of 2013-2014 FY

Posted By Emily Ghant (Johnson), Friday, August 8, 2014

LRIS appreciates our panel members who serve our referred callers with unbiased, trustworthy and consumer-oriented assistance. We would like to thank all of our panel members who submitted percentage fees during the 4th quarter of our fiscal year and listed below are those who submitted over $1,000.

Percentage Fees: 03/01 - 05/31

$4000+ - Jeanne Bynum Hipes, Jordan Johnson, Ryan A. Johnson and Richard C. Mitchell

$2000 - Gregory R. Fidlon

$1000 - Virginia Austin, Christina E. Campbell, Andrew Evans, Amanda A. Farahany, Bret Moore, Randy New, Lynda S. Parker, Tom Schaefer and Jeremy E. White

Tags:  2013-2014 fiscal year  Atlanta Bar Association  lawyer referral 

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A Message from Robert J. Fleming

Posted By Emily Ghant (Johnson), Friday, August 8, 2014

This past year has been an eventful and rewarding one for the Atlanta Bar Lawyer Referral and Information Service ("LRIS"). The year got off to a great start when we successfully hosted the National American Bar Association Conference, along with a wonderful southern-style dinner at Pitty Pat's Porch. Other notable achievements are that LRIS will end the fiscal year on sound financial footing and with a budget surplus; the successful implementation of our program to reach out to the bar sections and educate them on the wonderful services LRIS provides; the awarding of over $40,000 in charitable grants; and a concerted effort to grow our social media presence by encouraging panel members to join our LinkedIn group and interface with us via other social media.

On a personal note, I have really enjoyed this past year serving on the LRIS board. As Chairman, I was able to work more closely with Carla Brown and her dedicated staff. They are what makes LRIS special. I wish the Honorable Wesley B. Tailor the best of luck as he takes over as the next Chairman of the LRIS board. The board has been greatly enhanced by Judge Tailor's clarity of thought and commitment to service. I have no doubt that he will lead us to continued successes.

Thank you to all who I have served with this past year. It has been a wonderful experience.

Robert J. Fleming

Tags:  American Bar Association  Atlanta  Atlanta Bar Association  lawyer referral  LRIS 

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