Referrals are a necessary part of any attorney’s career and shared law office space helps you do that more easily than you would think.
In the practice of law, referrals are pretty much everything for solo attorneys and small firms. Referrals often make up 50% of total income for the solo or small firm so it is imperative that they be received. Referrals should not be something to be dismissed, even if it is a small percentage because they guarantee one thing: easy money.
Because they are vetted!.
An attorney that refers a case to another attorney likely does so because they are not familiar with the particular practice area. The client already has a pre-existing relationship that they are entrusting the referred attorney to handle.
Think of referrals as a guaranteed way to gain monetary incentive that gets you further to economic success. This allows one to proclaim “I pay my own bills” with confidence.
Working in a shared law office space allows one to generate referral potential just by walking around and introducing one’s self to his or her neighbors. Even working from home requires some type of attorney interaction. It just takes a little more effort.
One of the most important axioms in any referral relationship is to make sure the receiving attorney is a good fit for the client!
Like it or not, a referral puts your reputation as an attorney on the line with your client and your legal peers. This goes both ways as the receiving attorney and referring attorney work to develop this referral relationship.
It is imperative that you remember that the client is the most important person in the relationship.
Know the recipient’s reputation in the community.
Find out how they relate to clients. Are they no-nonsense, tell-it-like it is counselors or do they take more of an empathetic consultative approach with clients?
Know their lawyering style.
For example, don’t send a client to a divorce attorney who has a reputation for being a “killer” when all they want is a low key mediation.
Know something about the receiver’s rates and billing style.
This is probably one of the most important factors for a client when choosing an attorney to represent them. Money matters and if the client has a budget in mind, certain attorneys that charge high fees may not be a good fit no matter how brilliant they are in practice.
If a client doesn’t know what they prefer, make them choose.
If the client is unsure about their needs or preferences, provide the client with information about the recipient’s style and let the client choose. Armed with enough information to make an informed decision, if the referral ends up not being a good fit, you will bear less responsibility for making an improper recommendation.