Five Ways to Master the Art of Referrals: Answering Your Questions

Two weeks ago, Super Lawyers hosted a webcast on "Five Ways to Master the Art of Referrals." Attendees learned more about cultivating referrals, nurturing a referral network and sourcing top-notch cases to elevate a firm's practice.

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During the session, we received several great questions and couldn't get to all of them. So, here are a few of the ones we want to highlight and answers from Super Lawyers Publisher, Cindy Larson.

Question: What differences, if any, are there between cultivation of referrals for litigation practices and transactional practices?

Answer: Fundamentally, the cultivation of referrals for litigation and transactional practices involve the same steps and you want a network with attorneys in a wide range of practice areas. Build your network by joining bar association groups, attending both legal and non-legal events, and have your name out there in positive ways through high-profile volunteering. Don't be shy about asking for referrals, and when you get one, reciprocate whenever possible. And if your marketing budget allows for advertising, take advantage of the opportunity to keep your name in front of referral sources.

Q: How do you feel about mass emailing the lawyers in your state? How can you get a good email list of the lawyers in your state if your bar will not provide one?

A: Mass emails to attorneys you don't know doesn't seem sufficiently targeted. Start with your network and ask your network to make introductions for you.

Q: How do you determine which attorney to refer wills and estate matters to?

A: The Super Lawyers list is a good place to start when making a referral to a specific practice area. You can also see if your state has legal specialization in the wills/trusts estate areas of law. Larger law firms will typically charge a higher rate so take into consideration whether there will be rate sensitivity.

Q: As a younger attorney, how do you get past the part where everyone already has other firms that they refer cases to?

A: Network, network and more networking. Consider scheduling a brief meeting with more experienced attorneys to make sure they have met you. And you can use your youth as a positive since your hourly rate is likely less than a more experienced attorney.

Q: I want to add a practice area. What suggestions do you have for maximizing/using my good reputation in one practice area to break into another?

A: The kind of shift makes a difference, so this is difficult to answer without additional information. In general, make sure your story is solid about why you are changing or expanding practice areas. Then, network with attorneys experienced in that new practice area, both to create connections and because it will expand your knowledge on the subject.

Q: Any advice on the best ways to frame requests for testimonials/reviews from satisfied clients?

A: Ask clients directly and in person, if possible. Today, people are accustomed to providing reviews. The same is true of testimonials, but be mindful of the ethics rules in your state regarding the use of reviews and testimonials.

Thank you to everyone who joined the webcast and we hope these additional answers to your questions provide what's needed to jumpstart your referral strategy.

If you're looking to watch the on-demand webcast, you can access the recording here.