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In fulfilling his or her primary duty to the client, a lawyer must be ever conscious of the broader duty to the legal system.

A lawyer should act with candor, diligence and utmost respect. A lawyer should act with courtesy and cooperation, which are necessary for the efficient administration of our system of laws. A lawyer should act with personal dignity and professional integrity. Lawyers should treat each other, their clients, the opposing parties, the courts, and members of the public with courtesy and civility and conduct themselves in a professional manner at all times.

A client has no right to demand that counsel abuse the opposite party or indulge in offensive conduct. A lawyer shall always treat adverse witnesses and parties with fairness and due consideration. In adversary proceedings, clients are litigants and though ill feelings may exist between clients, such ill feelings should not influence a lawyer's conduct, attitude, or demeanor towards opposing lawyers.

A lawyer should not harass opposing counsel or counsel's clients. Lawyers should be punctual in communications with others and in honoring scheduled appearances. Neglect and tardiness are demeaning to fellow lawyers and to the legal system. If a fellow attorney makes a just request for cooperation, or seeks scheduling accommodation, a lawyer shall not arbitrarily or unreasonably withhold consent. Effective advocacy does not require antagonistic or obnoxious behavior. Lawyers should adhere to the higher standard of conduct which judges, fellow attorneys, clients, and the public may rightfully expect.

Panel members must agree to abide by rules of the LRS, including an agreement to return each referral form within 15 days from date received. If a referral form or a fee as required by paragraph 4 below, is outstanding 30 days after the date of the referral or receipt of the fee, the panel participant will be considered in an inactive status, and no further referrals will be made to that member until such time as all forms are current. The annual membership fee shall be $60.00 per individual attorney or $300.00 for an entire law firm (made up of 5 lawyers or more). Referred clients will be charged no more than $25.00 for the first one-half hour of interview. The LRS shall be paid 10 percent of the total fee charged and agreed upon, regardless of the hours put into the case. Excluded from the 10% fee charged is the first half-hour $25.00 interview fee, or in a case where the client is charged less than $100.00. A case directly referred by a panel member to another attorney constitutes a LRS case subject to the 10% payment. The LRS is intended to benefit the public. In order to better serve the public, panel members must carry professional liability insurance, $100,000 minimum, be licensed to practice law in Vermont, in good standing with the Vermont Supreme Court, and be a member of the Vermont Bar Association.

In an effort to facilitate accurate reporting and efficiency, and to eliminate any confusion in the reporting requirements for Lawyer Referral Service (LRS), certain changes in the status reports have been made. Open Reports will be sent to you on a monthly basis as the bi-weekly reports do not give the caller enough time to phone the attorney or the attorney enough time to respond accurately to the Vermont Bar Association (VBA).

When a caller indicates a need for legal assistance in an area for which there is a "specialty" panel, the caller will be informed that the attorney being referred is not a designated specialist, but has indicated a willingness to accept cases in that field of law. There shall be no fee charged to a client for a referral by the LRS. The caller will be advised to indicate to the attorney that s/he was referred by the LRS. A follow-up will periodically be made to callers seeking legal assistance (with the exception of domestic cases). This will provide information on client satisfaction with the service and the referred attorney.

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