Attorneys need a steady stream of referrals and a shared law office space may be the way to go.
Referrals are everything in the practice of law. They typically make up at least 50% of annual income for a solo or small firm. This percentage definitely should make one going into law listen and understand it is imperative referrals are received. Referrals guarantee two things: easy money and the chance to build your reputation as a legal professional.
Because they are vetted!.
When an attorney refers a case, it is likely because he or she does not have familiarity with a particular practice area, thus needing the expertise from another lawyer. These relationships are typically cultivated over time and the pre-existing relationship acts as a bridge to obtain that referral.
Referrals should be thought of as a way to gain economic success with monetary incentive. Everyone has bills to pay, including lawyers, so these referrals should be of prime interest to you.
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!
In the legal world, everything has to do with reputation, therefore, when a referral is issued, both ends’ reputations are at stake. This reputation is relative to the relationship you have with clients, colleagues, and even adversaries.
It is imperative that you remember that the client is the most important person in the relationship.
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.
A lawyer’s style of practice is important to the client. If someone is a “take no prisoners” type of professional and all the client wants is low-key mediation, it may not be the right way to go.
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.