Make the Most From Your Law Firm Referral Sources

Make the Most From Your Law Firm and Personal Referral Sources

Referral networks work well when they are refreshed and up-to-date. When was the last time you checked in with your referral sources?

Most lawyers assume their referral sources know the services you and your firm provide– and refer matters to you whenever an opportunity arises.  Yet, both non-lawyers and lawyers, who’ve acted as sources of referrals, regularly tell me this is not the case.  Referral sources commonly lament that they lack fresh easily remembered information that makes referral opportunities easy to identify and capitalize upon.

Keep the following in mind to ensure your referral network remains vibrant:

  • Think of the things your referral sources will hear potential clients say that indicate you can be of service. For example, if you are a bankruptcy lawyer, tell your referral sources that if they hear  a business owner say something like: “One of our big clients is having trouble paying us” that the comment indicates a potential problem that’s best to get you involved in sooner rather than later.  That comment would be on of three “red alerts” you teach your referral sources to listen for on your behalf.
  • List your key referral sources over the past several years. Determine those with whom you have had less frequent contact recently.  Make a point to reconnect with them.  It doesn’t have to be lunch; coffee takes less time.  Universally, they wall be glad to hear from you.
  • By e-mail, letter or in conversation explain your recent deals and cases and the issues you have had to confront. Referral sources need fresh reasons to refer you.  They can’t rely on a case or deal you did years ago for as the convincing reason you are right for their situation. What you have done recently is what really matters.

Finally, when talking with your referral sources make sure you learn all of this about them so you can do your best to make referrals in return. After all, networking and the referrals are part of a social contract in which you agree to support the other person’s business interests, as well. [1]



  1. Bob Weiss is president of Alyn-Weiss and Associates, Inc., a Denver-based marketing consulting group which has worked with both corporate, transactional and defense firms and contingent fee practices nationwide for more than 20 years.

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