Referrals can sometimes be a complicated matter for attorneys. When to refer, who to refer to, and what to expect from making a referral. We’ve all seen examples (or been recipients) of “bad” referrals. However, when done in the right spirit, referrals can be a great way to build credibility with your clients and expand your trusted network. Especially for individuals or smaller practices, referrals can be an important tool in your overall business strategy regardless of compensation details.
Let us count the ways:
You build your network. If you’re making a referral, you’ll want to use trusted colleagues, i.e. attorneys whose work has been proven and validated. The best way to make a referral is to establish a connection either through performing your own due diligence or through recommendations of other attorneys. Referring to an attorney outside of your practice area often leads to a long-standing professional relationship.
You help the client. When you find yourself thinking twice about taking a case, consider whether a referral might be the better answer for a client. Whether it’s a matter of practice area, the nature of the case, or other factors, helping the client find an attorney who might be better suited to represent them is often better than simply adding them to your own caseload.
You attract referrals. Once you refer to other attorneys, you become top of mind when they have their own referrals, especially if they’re familiar with your practice areas and ideal clients.
Another attorney may see what you don’t. Sometimes another set of eyes is all that’s needed. There are many examples of referred cases where another attorney saw the merits of the case and obtained a favorable settlement for the client.
You enhance your own credibility. When referring, your reputation is on the line. When you are focused on the client and meeting his/her needs, referrals to qualified attorneys who are a better fit reflect well on you – both to the client and the attorney to whom you’ve referred.
Referrals don’t just benefit the attorney receiving them, but also yield significant returns to the referring attorney in the form of a stronger network, happier clients, and the ability to focus on the cases that fit you best.