As a solo practitioner or startup firm, harnessing the power of your relationships can be a major factor in the success of your practice. Creating and nurturing an attorney referral network is an important process for the growth of your business because your legal peers already have built-in networks. While the process may be intimidating, it is worth your time and effort. The more clients you have, the more revenue you bring in, and the bigger your own network becomes.
How to Expand Your Attorney Referral Network to Increase Revenue
It is highly recommended that small firms or solo attorneys identify as a specialist. One person will have a hard time mastering different areas of the law, which may alienate their status within the referral community. When your peers have clients they can’t help themselves, it is because those clients have a specific problem. They will not refer their clients to a generalist. Play up your practice area and become the go-to person in your network.
Don’t just spend money marketing to your current clients, or new clients – use a percentage of your budget on existing attorney connections
This may mean email campaigns to legal professionals in your network, letting them know what you are working on and offering to help them in some way. It is also worthwhile to spend time each week staying in touch with past coworkers or legal peers because you need to be at the top of their mind when a case comes on their desk that they can’t handle. Have coffee with at least two peers per week, invite old colleagues to networking events, and drop emails regularly.
Participate in mentoring
It is an easy way to expand your network and build a beneficial relationship. Lunch once a month or regular email exchanges is a small price to pay for a relationship that could result in new business. Few young attorneys will find a better built in network than that of their mentor.
Create a mastermind group of attorneys who have a common interest, and meet on a regular basis
The ideal size can be anywhere from three to 20 lawyers who specialize in different areas. For example, you could start a group that is exclusively for solo or small firm attorneys who are looking for mutual support when it comes to running a successful practice.
Renting shared office space with other lawyers is a great way to expand your referral network. You’ll automatically have access to clients as they come in and out to see their own attorneys. And you never know when they will need a lawyer who specializes in your practice area.
As scary as it may sound, ask lawyers or firms you are comfortable with to collaborate. Some firms may not have the financial backing to pay for referrals, so choose a company that you can trust financially.
If you want to get them, you’ll have to give them. Next time you have the chance to share a client with a firm who’s better suited for their particular case, make a point of calling one of the partners to let them know you are sending work their way. They will feel obliged to reciprocate at some point down the line.