I’m always harping on the value of referrals from current and former clients. But there is another source of referrals that is equally important: other attorneys.

Often, people come to an attorney with problems that are outside of their jurisdiction or specialty. You want your colleagues to give potential clients your name as often as possible. Here’s why:

4 Reasons You Need an Attorney Referral Network

  • The Money. First the obvious: marketing for new clients is pricey. In the past 8 years, attorneys have upped their ad spending by 68%. They now fork out $892 million to find new clients. A good referral from a colleague will stand out above the noise of all those ads. For free.
  • The Quality. A massive study through the Wharton School and Goethe University found that referred clients and customers are 25% more profitable and 18% more loyal than normal clients. They are more valuable in both the short and the long run.
  • The Standing. Why is it referrals don’t just give you more clients, they give you better clients? It’s due to a phenomenon called ‘reflected trust.’ Some of the trust that a client had in the attorney they originally went to automatically passes over to you with the referral — before you’ve even met. A referral gives you capital in the ‘trust economy.’

Also, giving and receiving referrals from your colleagues helps you strengthen your network with other attorneys. These relationships can themselves become helpful or profitable in time, when others come to you with a helpful idea or potential collaboration.

  • The Growth. The above reasons are why Forbes magazine lists expanding referrals as one of the four ways for lawyers to “dramatically boost their incomes.” And why legal business leaders encourage building larger ‘referral circles’ as the best way to generate more clients.

All of this means higher incomes, fewer headaches — and a better experience for both attorney and client.

Don’t just wait around for the magic of attorney networks to happen.

5 Ways to Supercharge Your Attorney Referrals

  • Research Your Ideal Referral Sources: Who are the people who are best-known in the community at large? Which attorneys practice law that is similar but in a slightly different area or jurisdiction? Get to know these people better, through industry events or one-on-one meetings. Search out mentors who can guide you along, as well as contemporaries who share your ideals.
  • Hunt Down Networks: Don’t be shy about joining online and in-person groups focused on attorney networking. If you’re a Filevine client, join the free Filevine Referral Network, which allows you to give and receive referrals from a wide range of other attorneys.
  • Channel Your Inner Extrovert: Talk to strangers. Greet others at events for attorneys and make them feel welcomed. One great way to earn the goodwill of new attorney acquaintances is to introduce them to other attorneys you already know. A gracious introduction makes people feel seen and appreciated, and they often repay the favor.
  • Join the Gift Economy: We’re accustomed to strict tit-for-tat transactions, but some of the most effective networkers are liberal with their favors. They help others without searching for something in return. It can build community-wide trust for that person.

And of course: give referrals to attorneys you respect. The best referral connections are mutual ones — where two professionals can generate business for each other by sending on clients that best fit the other’s specialties.

  • Ask for it: Let your legal networks know that you love working with referrals. Be specific about your ideal client, rather than saying the generic phrase “let me know if you know anybody . . . “ A generic request just slides off the mind. But a specific one kicks the brain into gear, pushing that attorney to think harder about the connections they may have that can help you.

Develop a one-sentence referral script — and memorize it. Be able to spout off what kind of clients you’re looking for and what you can offer them.

Ready to take your referrals to the next level? Sign up to join the Filevine Referral Network. It’s free for Filevine clients, and will connect you immediately with other client-focused attorneys.