Kramer Law and Union Plus

REVIEWING THE BASICS:
Common Questions And Answers About UPLS

What free legal services am I obligated to provide? Initial consultation, document review, and phone calls or letters to third parties.

The initial consultation may be by telephone or in your office, whichever you and the member prefer. "Initial consultation" means the first substantive discussion of a problem with a lawyer in your firm. An initial consultation normally includes a member's description of his problem or question, clarifying questions from you, and answer or description of alternative resources or courses of action, and a description of your services, procedures and fees. Merely confirming that you handle a particular type of case and then scheduling an appointment is not an initial consultation. There is a 30 minute limit on your free consultation obligation. There is no limit on the number of free consultations a member may have, provided each is about a separate personal legal matter.

Free third party letters and calls are limited to situations where, in your judgment, a simple letter or call is likely to resolve a matter. You may require a member to sign a fee agreement or pay a retainer before you make the call or write the letter if that is necessary to prevent you from making false representation or empty threats. If the call or letter successfully resolves the problem there is no fee.

What fees may I charge and to whom? Your fees for UPLS members are set in your contract with UPLS. They follow the fees you submitted with your original application and any changes you have submitted. The fees should reflect a 30% discount off your full retail rate for all non-contingent personal legal matters

You collect fees from your client. UPLS does not pay fees or guarantee payment by your client. Your UPLS contract requires a written fee agreement with every client paying a fee.

You are entitled to raise your fees after being on the attorney panel for one year, so long as the new fees still reflect a 30% discount off your normal rate. You must give us a month's notice of any fee increases.

Who is eligible for UPLS? Members of 70 national and international AFL-CIO unions that subscribe to UPLS, plus their spouses and dependents, plus members of their associate programs. About 40 million Americans! Unfortunately, not all eligible people know what international union their local is affiliated with. Some probing may be necessary by your receptionist. Nor will all members use the words "Union Plus Legal Service" when they first call.

How do I verify eligibility? You don't have to. Some local unions with open shops may ask you to request membership cards or to call them t verify membership, but otherwise a caller's statement is all you need.

What forms and paperwork are involved in serving UPLS members? Almost none. There are no reports to file with us. We do not want or need to know who your clients are or what you do for them unless a dispute arises and a member/client contacts us.

You do have to notify us when you move your office or adjust your fees or when your practice changes, so that our directly listings may be changed and our referrals remain appropriate. You are also responsible for furnishing each member caller or client with a UPLS evaluation form.

How do members learn about UPLS? Through their union. It is each union's responsibility to publicize UPLS to its members through whatever means it has available. You are not expected to buy ads, mail brochures or otherwise spend time or money on marketing. You contribute free services and discounts; the unions are supposed to do the marketing.

You are certainly free, however, to publicize UPLS and your participation in it if you wish. Sometimes a few phone calls or a short letter to local union leaders can be productive. UPLS will supply contact information on request from its partial list of local union leaders and directory of central labor councils.

Contact Us

323-964-7100
323-964-7107 fax
5858 Wilshire Blvd.
Suite 205
Los Angeles, CA. 90036

swk@kramerlaw.biz

Member of AARP Legal Services Network • Member of Union Plus Legal Services Network
Founder and President of Miracle Mile Chamber of Commerce
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