- Identify the right audience: Find attorneys that may have clients who need a service your firm provides and their firm does not. By reaching the right target, you have a greater opportunity to set up referral systems with these other attorneys that will benefit both of you.
- Inform your audience: Don’t just explain your practice area but instead tell other attorneys how your services can help their clients. They may need some assistance in finding an issue and understanding the process of your practice. Talk about your practice, and explain at their level how you can help each other. For example, a personal injury lawyer could talk about personal injury protection insurance, underinsured motorist coverage, or cruise ticket issues and a short statute of limitations.
- Network: Networking is a big part of any career, but it shouldn’t be a daunting idea. As an attorney, networking is just forming personal relationships with other attorneys. By gaining their trust they will feel comfortable enough to send client referrals your way. To build these relationships, set up lunch meetings with other attorneys, join a networking group (like the chamber of commerce), or network at meetings and events you are invited to attend.
- Make it beneficial for everyone: You must make your relationship with another attorney a two-way street. You certainly wouldn’t want to refer someone to work who doesn’t refer to you in return, so think about how you can help these lawyers and their clients. There are several ways you can help another firm or attorney out, the following are just some examples:
- Submit a guest post on an attorney’s blog
- Speak at another firm’s seminar, whether it’s to educate other attorneys or to inform the public
- Create a brochure or fact sheet to hand out to clients
- Offer free consultations
- Write a guest column in another firm’s newsletter
It may even be beneficial to mention in your bio or on your LinkedIn profile that you frequently work with other lawyers and enjoy doing so. For example, “Elizabeth frequently speaks to an audience on Social Security disability benefits and how to apply.”
Relationships with other attorneys and firms are key aspects of running a successful business. Clients will realize their lawyers can’t do everything, but they do expect them to know trustworthy and experienced people that will be able to help them. Just be aware of the liability that could come with referring clients. If you receive a referral, it’s very important to keep the referring attorney updated in the case, and always take great care of the client and their needs.