A shared law office space just might be what attorneys need to keep their referral stream flowing.
Referrals are what can make or break an attorney’s career and are the basis of continuing practice. If you think about it, referrals comprise at least half the income for solos and small firms every year. Those going into law need to understand the importance of a referral and that it should be treated with great care. Remember that a referral provides certainty of two things: easy money and an opportunity to enhance your reputation.
Because they are vetted!
Not all areas of law are complementary to each other, therefore, when an attorney comes across a case that he or she lacks familiarity, it constitutes a referral for another attorney with the right expertise. A referral is never just a random occurrence and the relationship between the attorneys is something that exists beforehand.
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.
A shared law office space is special because it can be utilized as a tool to build referral potential in the easiest way possible. All you have to do is walk around the office and introduce yourself to the neighboring lawyers!
Even if you work primarily from home, you still need interaction even if it takes more effort.
One of the most important axioms in any referral relationship is to make sure the receiving attorney is good for the client!
Reputation is everything in the practice of law. Issuing a referral is serious business because not only is your reputation on the line. Referrals can have an effect in the long run if both lawyers do not treat it with care.
It is imperative that you remember that the client is always the most important person in the relationship.
Research the attorney before issuing a referral.
Find out how they relate to clients. Are they a 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.
Gain insight to the receiver’s rates and billing style.
Rates and billing style can be a deal breaker no matter how brilliant the attorney is in practice. Clients want to know that their financial needs are being met and that they can handle the costs or frequency of costs. Regardless of the job being done, money matters and it can make a good relationship go sour.
If a client doesn’t know what they want, 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.