How to Use the plan
A. CONTACT THE ATTORNEY
- Panel Attorney
If you need help, contact one of the Panel Attorneys who provide Plan benefits. The names, addresses, and telephone numbers of the law offices currently providing benefits may be obtained from the Plan Administrator’s office by calling (800) 222-3024 within California or (800) 222-3025 outside California. When you have selected a Panel Attorney, contact him or her by telephone and make an appointment.
- Designated Attorney (Non-Panel)
If a Panel Attorney is not available to provide you with legal services, contact the Plan Administrator’s Office for the procedure to obtain the services of a Designated Attorney. A Designated Attorney must sign an agreement with the Trust Fund before accepting a case.
The Panel or Designated Attorney will advise you of your legal rights and remedies. The Panel or Designated Attorney will also tell you what you can and cannot do under the law and may recommend a course of action to you.
B. CLAIMS AND PAYMENT AUTHORIZATION
A Claim for Legal Benefits form will be given to you by your attorney. This form must be completed by you or your eligible dependent and returned to the Plan Administrator by your attorney before benefits can be paid. You or your eligible dependent should never be required to pay a retainer. Attorneys must contact the Trust Fund Office for a claim number before providing legal services to a participant or eligible dependent. PLEASE BE ADVISED THAT SERVICES PROVIDED BEFORE A CLAIM NUMBER IS ISSUED WILL NOT BE PAID, unless services are first provided on a weekend or legal holiday and a claim number is issued on the next business day.
C. WAIVER OF ATTORNEY-CLIENT PRIVILEGE
Federal law requires that all employee benefit plans keep careful records and accounts, and places a great amount of responsibility upon the Trustees for the financial integrity of the Plan. This responsibility, mandated by law and by the terms of the Plan, requires Panel and Designated Attorneys to submit periodic reports to the Plan Administrator relating to the nature and extent of participants’ use of the Plan.
Since even this small amount of general information may be included in the information protected by the attorney-client privilege as defined by a particular State Bar, Panel and Designated Attorneys will ask you or your eligible dependent to sign a waiver of confidentiality to the extent necessary to comply with applicable federal law and the terms of the Plan.