Referring cases or matters to another firm shouldn’t mean putting your client relationship at risk. Getting a client is tough enough, and trusting another firm to handle a matter adds a layer of complexity that can be a challenge to manage. Common fears shared by many attorneys regarding referrals include:
- The matter may be mishandled;
- The referring attorney will attempt to steal my client;
- I’ll be left out of the loop and won’t know what’s going on with the case or my client.
With these and other possible risks, why bother? The benefits of referrals, if done within a trusted network of attorneys you know, far outweigh the risks. Establishing a network of trusted attorneys at other firms who “get it” – those who are equal parts excellent attorney and client manager – will only serve to strengthen your client relationships. Here are the top three benefits of having a great referral network:
- You, in effect, expand the services you provide to your client. The competent, trusted attorneys in your referral network can sometimes make the difference between keeping and losing a client to a full-service competitor. Are you a commercial litigator? Develop relationships with IP, immigration, employment, and corporate attorneys to start. Developing relationships with firms in niche areas will allow you, in effect, to expand the services you offer to your client.
- More relationships = more possible opportunities. The firms with whom you have reciprocal trust and flow of work will think of you first when they have a need.
- Improved client service. There’s no shortage of law firms or attorneys, and it is never a good idea to send your client off to find one in an area you don’t know. Through time and experience, you will develop first-hand knowledge of the services provided by other firms, and your clients will benefit.
Being an all-in-one problem solver for your client is a matter of great client service. A good referral network is a tool that can help you to deliver the best possible range of solutions.