Referrals are the lifeblood of many law practices, and they’re especially crucial for small firms. Getting referral business can be easier said than done, though. If your New Year’s resolution was to ramp up your referrals, there are some simple ways to do it.
Lawyering is by nature a social business, and this is especially true when it comes to getting referrals. Aaron George recommends that you attend as many networking events as your schedule will allow and get to know people who can help you – and who you can help. Very often the best way to get referral business is by giving them. When you send a new client the way of a colleague, it’s likely that he or she will reciprocate, or at least try to.
Another rich source for referrals can be your existing clients. It takes some finesse, but if a client is happy with the work you’ve done, they shouldn’t mind you asking if they know of anyone who could use similar help.
How About Lunch?
Writing for the American Bar Association a few years ago, Larry Bodine had this pithy advice: Never eat lunch alone. There are probably people you’re in regular contact with – not just other lawyers – who have the potential to steer business your way. These include fellow professionals such as accountants, real estate professionals and bankers. Make a point of taking them to lunch once or twice a year and find out if they have any likely candidates for you.
Bodine also advises staying in touch with your law school classmates (you never know who they know) and hitting up experienced litigators for conflict referrals. Some smaller litigation firms, especially in larger cities, build their whole practices on conflict work referred from bigger firms.
Also, most state bar associations have referral services that steer folks looking for legal help toward suitable attorneys. Make sure the bio and contact info you have with your state bar is up to date and thorough.
Finally, don’t ignore social media, counsels John P. David of David PR Group in Miami. When there’s a case or development in the news that relates to your practice, tweet about it. Use Facebook to demonstrate your expertise in the area. Also, comment and retweet when your colleagues do likewise. It’s an inexpensive, easy way to show the kind of authority that will get your phone ringing.