The Consumer Assistance Program (CAP) of The Mississippi Bar was the first of its type in the nation. CAP was formed in the fall of 1994. Several other state bar organizations have copied the procedures and guidelines of CAP and there are now 18 similar programs across the nation.
CAP helps people with questions or problems with Mississippi attorneys. When someone calls or writes The Mississippi Bar to complain about a Mississippi lawyer, the Consumer Assistance Program responds to the inquiry and attempts to identify the problem. Many problems can be resolved by providing information, contacting the attorney, or suggesting ways in which to resolve the dispute. The general public is usually provided with a Request for Assistance form to contact the Consumer Assistance Program, but the form is not required as CAP responds to all telephone calls and written correspondence sent to The Mississippi Bar offices regarding complaints or inquiries. While CAP cannot resolve every problem, the program has handled thousands of inquiries since 1994. Reports show that nearly 70% of callers' problems are resolved without having to use the disciplinary process (filing a Bar complaint).
CAP also helps attorneys. CAP helps attorneys through its courtesy calls or letters when the program hears from concerned clients. CAP also gives information and suggestions about effectively resolving conflicts in an ethical and professional manner. Most problems with clients can be prevented by returning calls promptly, keeping clients informed about the status of their case, explaining billing practices, meeting deadlines, and managing a caseload efficiently.