Similar to any other professional service industry, lawyers and law firms need to be able to obtain clients. Client acquisition is significant in law because many individuals and businesses hire attorneys on a short-term basis or for one specific legal matter. As reported by Above the Law, referrals still remain the leading way that lawyers get new clients. A law firm that cannot effectively connect with potential clients through referrals is at serious risk of falling behind.
This raises an important question: How do you get more client referrals for your law firm? The broad answer is that you need a comprehensive, well-developed system in place to encourage and facilitate referrals. At ONE 400, we are leaders in digital marketing for law firms. Our team is committed to helping clients grow their practice. This article will give you an overview of tips you can use to get more referrals for your law firm.
Here are six pointers to help you increase your law firm referrals.
One of the best ways to get more referrals is by providing exceptional legal representation and personalized service to your clients and going above and beyond what is expected of you to ensure that your clients are delighted with your services matters. Whether working on a complex legal case or handling a simple matter, it is crucial to take the time to understand your client’s unique needs and provide them with the guidance and support they need. Building a solid reputation for professional success is a great way to get more referrals.
Reviews and testimonials from former clients help lawyers develop recognition in a particular practice area. It also strengthens the relationship between a client who has received satisfactory legal representation and the law firm that provided it. By letting clients know that you value their opinion, you increase the likelihood that they will make a referral to their friends, family members, and professional acquaintances.
Making it easy for a client to provide a referral is crucial to getting more law firm referrals. Removing even a little bit of friction from the process can make a real difference. For example, you may want to give your client a business card to take with them after you have finished representation. Let them know that they should feel welcome to provide your contact information to anyone who may need legal guidance and support.
A significant percentage of referrals come from former clients. Of course, that is not where all referrals to law firms originate. Many lawyers will refer potential clients to other attorneys. This can happen for various reasons—from a lawyer being too busy to take on a new client to a lawyer referring to a client outside of their practice area.
This is where building out a professional network can make a big difference. How many attorneys do you have relationships within your local market? A strong professional network can lead to more referrals. Attending legal conferences and events, participating in professional organizations, and reaching out to other lawyers in your community can help to develop a referral network.
Law firms generally cannot provide any form of financial compensation—or other tangible benefits—to a non-lawyer who provides a referral. While the specific rules vary from state to state, most jurisdictions have an ethical regulation in place that is identical or similar to American Bar Association (ABA) Rule 5.4 (a). The rule states that, with some limited exceptions, “a lawyer or law firm shall not share legal fees with a nonlawyer.” In effect, this rule generally prohibits law firms from providing any referral fees to non-lawyers.
That being said, most jurisdictions allow lawyers and law firms to set up referral programs for other attorneys. In other words, you could develop some form of referral program whereby you share some fees and/or provide an incentive-based payment to a lawyer or law firm that provided you with a referral. Any referral program your law firm creates must comply with your state’s professional, and ethical requirements.
Ensure that your previous clients and the attorneys within your professional network never regret providing you or your law firm as a referral. When someone refers a person or business to an attorney, they feel that they are putting their reputation at stake. If you fail to follow up on the referral—or do not treat it well—it could damage future referrals. It is essential to follow up even if the referral (potential client) is not a good fit for your law firm.
For example, imagine that you are a personal injury lawyer in Southern California. You receive a referral from someone who was hurt in a pedestrian crash. After a review, it is clear that this person does not have a viable claim. Be sure to treat them with respect. Even though the specific referral did not work out in this case, you would not want to lose out on the potential for future referrals from the source.
At ONE400, we are devoted to providing the highest level of client support to lawyers and law firms. Our team offers comprehensive law marketing services, including website design and development, search engine optimization (SEO), and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. If you have any questions about more client referrals, we are here to help. Contact us today to learn more. From our locations in New York City and Los Angeles, our team provides nationwide support to lawyers and law firms.