PROCEDURE FOR REVIEWING QUALIFICATIONS
FOR PANEL MEMBERSHIP
This policy establishes a procedure that enables LRS to satisfy the Minimum Standards, Rules 3.822(B)(1) and 3.824(A) by:
1. Determining the qualifications for membership on any LRS panel; and
2 Reviewing a member’s qualifications to remain on any LRS panel.
1. LRS. “LRS” is the Lawyer Referral Service of Santa Cruz County.
2. Minimum Standards. The “Minimum Standards” are the State Bar of California’s minimum standards for lawyer referral services (Rules of the State Bar, Title 3, Division 5, Chapter 3, Article 2).
3. Board. The “Board” is the Board of Directors of the Santa Cruz County Bar Association, which is LRS’s Governing Body under the Minimum Standards, Rule 3.822.
4. LRS Committee. The “LRS Committee” is the committee to which the Board has delegated oversight of LRS.
3. RESPONSIBILITY OF LRS COMMITTEE
The LRS Committee is responsible for the following:
1. Reviewing and making recommendations about the rules and requirements for membership on any LRS panel;
2. Evaluating applicants and panel members for acceptance on or continued eligibility for an experience panel; and
3. Investigating complaints about LRS members that the Board has referred to it and recommending any appropriate discipline for those members.
4. PROCEDURE FOR DETERMINING SUBJECT MATTER PANEL QUALIFICATIONS
The LRS Committee shall promulgate membership requirements for LRS panels. The requirements shall depend upon the panel’s legal subject matter. The LRS Committee shall consult with attorneys or judges with expertise in each panel’s subject matter to determine membership requirements. The requirements may include proof that the applicant:
1. Has a practice emphasizing this area of law;
2. Has successfully handled a certain number of proceedings in this area of law;
3. Is well respected in the community for work in this area of law; or
4. Has other satisfactory evidence of qualification for membership.
5. APPLICATION REVIEW PROCESS FOR PANEL MEMBERSHIP
1. Committee Responsibilities. The LRS Committee shall review all applications for panel membership to determine whether each applicant is qualified for any subject matter LRS panel(s).
2. New Application Required Each Year. All applicants submit new applications annually. The LRS Committee will review the eligibility of new applicants to LRS and the Governing Committee will evaluate the quality of services provided by continuing members.
3. Initial Review. The LRS Director or staff designated by the Director shall initially review each application to determine prima facie compliance with LRS’ general eligibility rules. The director will forward each complying application to the LRS Committee.
4. Time for Acting on Applications. The LRS Committee should make its decisions on applications within a reasonable time.
5. General Requirements of Evaluators. Members of the LRS Committee who review the application should be familiar with each area of law in the subject matter panels applied for.
6. Additional Information. The LRS Committee may require any additional information to determine compliance with panel qualification requirements or to adequately evaluate the quality of services the applicant has provided while an LRS member. This additional information may include oral or written statements to substantiate the applicant’s qualifications. The LRS Committee may also require letter(s) of recommendation from other attorneys and from judges familiar with the applicant’s ability to handle cases in a particular area of law and with the applicant’s special knowledge and skill, and intellectual, emotional, and physical ability to manage a law practice.
7. Verification of Statement of Experience. The LRS Committee may require a listing of cases and matters handled by the applicant. The LRS Committee may verify this information with the courts and agencies listed by the applicant. The LRS Committee may request that the applicant provide documentary verification of experience.
6. DENIAL, SUSPENSION, OR REMOVAL FROM PANEL
1. LRS Committee Action. The LRS Committee may require additional information from the applicant concerning his or her qualifications at any time during the application review process and during membership. If the LRS Committee determines that an applicant should be denied acceptance as a panel member due to lack of qualification or should be suspended or removed as a panel member for any reason, the LRS Committee shall notify the Board. It may request that the Board deny acceptance or initiate a disciplinary proceeding. (Refer to Attachment C – Denial, Suspension or Removal from the Service.)
2. Board Action. The Board may reject an application to LRS or to any panel and may suspend or remove a panel member. It shall give notice of any such rejection, suspension, or removal to the applicant or panel member within a reasonable time.