We are constantly talking about ways to generate quality business. I stress the word quality because it means a couple of things to our firm. First, it means clients that appreciate our operation, such as our flat fee alternative billing model and use of a transparent extranet system. Second, quality refers to clients that appreciate our niche focus on particular areas of law, such as internet law and complex litigation. Finally, quality means the type of client that will want to come back and use our services when, and if, it requires legal help again.
As such, we have been talking lately about the benefits of attorney referral of clients. The fact of the matter is that, like doctors, attorneys are becoming less and less general practitioners. To the contrary, attorneys are focusing their expertise and knowledge on specific areas of law, for example, immigration, intellectual property, internet, adoption, tax, and other areas. Therefore, if client service is a law firm’s number one goal, then a law firm would be remiss to fail to refer a particular client, whether existing or prospective, to a lawyer and law firm that is better equipped to handle the particular matter.
So, the question becomes, have you properly created a referral network? I’m not talking about a referral network that somehow compensates you for providing referrals or requires that you pay a fee for a referral. Rather, I’m referring to a situation where you receive a call from a client, once again prospective or existing, regarding a matter for which you simply lack the skill, time, or resources to handle. Are you in a position to pick up the phone and contact another attorney you trust who has those special abilities?
We have several attorneys to whom we refer specific types of matters. Likewise, we receive referrals from other attorneys. However, it is our goal, and it should be all attorneys’ goals, to not only identify individual attorneys and law firms for their referral network, but more importantly, hone the skill level and abilities of those attorneys and law firms within that network so as to ensure the best client service for whatever type of matter may come about.