Lawyer Referral Strategies
Networking and referrals can be a big part of the success of your law firm or practice. Having an established lawyer referral network is a vital component to the growth of your practice as your peers and competitors already have built-in attorney referral networks that are working well for them.
Sure, it can be difficult to get started. However, it is worth it: your revenue and network grow with your client list.
This article will show you how to build your attorney referral network.
How to Build Your Attorney Referral Network
Identify yourself as a Specialist
If you are a small firm or sole attorney, you should identify as a specialist. That is because it is highly unlikely for you to be highly proficient in different areas of the law; and you would consequently be alienated within referral networks or lawyer referral services.
For example, when your colleagues have clients they can’t help because those clients have a distinct problem, they will not refer them to a general attorney. They will refer the clients to a specialist that can help them with their distinct problem. So hone in on your specialty and become well-known for that in your attorney referral network or lawyer referral service.
Cultivate Your Professional Relationships within Your Referral Network
You need to ensure that other referral attorneys in your network who know you don’t forget about you, and what you specialize in. If you don’t ensure this, you could lose potential clients as you go about looking for new business.
In fact, this is one of the biggest reasons why some firms level off: their previous clients forget about them while they’re getting more business. The conclusion of this scenario is quite tragic: money and (equally valuable) time is wasted.
You need to review where your business is coming from; how many people are sending you new business; and what would happen if any of those referral attorneys forgot about you. Well, your business could potentially go under. You need to have leverage over yourself and keep growing your network.
Identify your best lawyer referral service and ask yourself the following questions:
● What are the attorney referral services you currently use?
● Why are they good attorney referral services for you?
● What kind of clients do they cater to?
● What kind of clients do they have access to?
● Where did you meet them?
Use those questions as a guide to find your next attorney referral service.
JurisOffice Attorney Referral Network
Most of the lawyer referral services you use are most likely lawyer directories like JurisOffice, which has a complete listing of attorneys, law firms and practices in every field. The directory is searchable by name, legal issue or city. Each listing provides all the contact information a client would need to contact you.
JurisOffice operates as an attorney referral service that provides potential clients with a list of attorneys, lawyers and law firms near their area. The referral directory is organized by specialty to easily and quickly connect clients to attorneys and law firms in the relevant practice areas.
Add it to your list of attorney referral services, if you haven’t already done so.
Other Tips to Grow Your Referral Network
● Market to your current referral attorneys. You need to keep in touch with your current network of attorneys and let them know you’re still active and offer them help.
● You should also keep in touch with previous coworkers as they can refer work to you if they can’t handle a specific case. Make a note to grab coffee with at least two peers every week and extend invites to previous coworkers to attend networking events with you.
● Create a group of attorneys that have a common interest in getting referrals and meet regularly. Aim for anywhere between five to 20 attorneys who specialize in different areas of the law. For example, you can create a group that is specifically for solo attorneys or small firms who would like mutual support to elevate their practices.
● You can also share rental office space with other attorneys to increase your referral network. You’ll have access to potential clients daily who may get referred to you if they need an attorney that specializes in your area.
Lastly, you need to provide referrals as well. If you want to receive them, you have to give them. So the next time you have a client whose work you can’t handle, call one of your referral attorneys and alert them that you are sending a client their way. They will feel obligated to send you a client later.
Lawyer referral networks are one of the primary sources of clients for law practitioners in many countries around the world. In certain countries lawyers are not allowed to advertise as per local laws. In these countries, attorney referral networks are the main way for the legal industry to reach out to its clients. Lawyer referral means that you are referred by a particular person to a lawyer or a firm. The person referring you might be a lawyer himself or a lawyer referral service or any other entity. It works same way any other referral service. Your physician may direct you to a specialist, in case your condition requires certain expertise. In the same manner based on your needs, a specialist can guide you to a referral attorney.
Necessity of Lawyer Referral Services
Word of mouth is how lawyers have been marketing themselves for centuries. Even today, a litigant mostly hires a lawyer referred by a relative or a friend. In legal services trustworthiness and skills matter a lot, therefore a more personal approach to marketing is required. Traditional methods of mass marketing might not be very effective in the traditional legal industry. As stated earlier, traditional marketing or advertising might not be allowed for legal professionals in certain countries. In certain countries there might restrictions on the manner in which advertising can be done. Taking into consideration the regulatory mechanisms around the world, attorney referral networks are important to and necessary for lawyers and clients alike.
Types of a lawyer referral service
An attorney referral service can be structured in various forms. State Bar Associations have their own referral services which are managed by specialized staff. These services cater to restricted jurisdictions. There may be private agencies as well which can help litigants find the right lawyer based on client’s inputs. Since its age of digitization, people are increasingly searching the internet for most of their needs. Almost all businesses have online presence. So there is a new breed of referral services, which are internet based.
Online Referral Service
A modern referral service maintains a database of referral attorneys. The profile of a referral attorney may include information like qualifications, licenses, achievements, types of cases handled etc. The information displayed on an attorney’s profile will help you gauge whether the lawyer is right for your case or service requirements. You might want to have answers to certain questions before you hire a lawyer. Like which college did the attorney attended? Has he handled any case like yours? Which law does the attorney specialize in? How many years of experience does he have? How is his past record with other clients? How much fees does he charge? Is he licensed to practice?
In the past decade, you would require a lot of research, luck and money to get answers to all the above questions. You would be lucky to find a lawyer who fits all your requirements. This is where of word of mouth reaches its limitations. You have to rely on limited input from a third party. Your choices are limited. But the modern age has solved this information scarcity. There are several online databases available where you can chose from profiles of various attorneys and law firms. You can check out all the details about various lawyers, mostly for free or by paying a minimal fee. This helps litigants save time, money and stress in their search for legal services. It helps attorneys by connecting them to litigants throughout the world, who want to hire their services. Thus, expanding lawyers network without payment of any advertising or marketing fee.