Five Ways to Master the Art of Referrals: Answering Your Questions
Recognizing Pro Bono Work on #LoveYourLawyerDay
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.
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.
Super Lawyers Selectees Come in Many Forms
Since its inception in 2001, Love Your Lawyer Day has given attorneys and clients an opportunity to publicly appreciate the hard work and dedication of lawyers across the country.
Because Super Lawyers focuses on commending top-rated attorneys, the first Friday of November is a chance to look back at the great work accomplished by our selectees throughout the previous year. On this Love Your Lawyer Day, Super Lawyers wants to recognize their important pro bono work.
Patricia Lee (Hutchison & Steffen, PLLC, Las Vegas) in the 2018 Mountain State Super Lawyers Magazine:
Lee's pro bono work focuses on children's advocacy and domestic violence cases, shedding light on some of the darkest places.
"Since so many people helped me along the way, I think it would be very arrogant not to turn around and help others," Lee said. "Pro bono work is my way of doing that."
After getting her undergrad, Lee spent a year working at the California Science Center. She helped set up the Rosa Parks Community Computer and Learning Center in 1997, and actually got to meet Ms. Parks. "She really inspired me," Lee said. "So I applied to law school, thinking I could do some children's advocacy work."
Karla Vehrs (Ballard Spahr LLP, Minneapolis) in the 2018 Minnesota Super Lawyers Magazine:
A partner at Ballard Spahr, Vehrs helps businesses with litigation matters. She also serves as pro bono counsel to immigrants who have been victims of crimes, human rights abuses and human trafficking. She works to get them U visas (issued to victims of serious crime) and T visas (for victims of human trafficking).
The work gives Vehrs a valuable perspective. "This isn't the ordinary work that we do," she says. "The experiences that we get, and the opportunities to learn about them, and learn from them and help them, are life-changing."
Jason Steed (Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP, Dallas) in the 2018 Texas Rising Stars Magazine:
Steed dedicates a lot of his time to pro bono work. In fact, he puts in at least 200 hours annually on pro bono, and one year he hit the 500-hour mark.
His pro bono cases have ranged from same-sex marriage and divorce issues to immigration and criminal justice. He's represented prisoners battling for health care and ex-prisoners seeking to expunge criminal records.
"There are a lot of people out there who don't get big lawyers because they can't afford them. If there are cases where I feel I can help and they're interesting, I will try," said Steed. "You become a better person helping people who need help, but you also become a better lawyer getting experience you might not have otherwise gotten."
Super Lawyers wishes you a very special Love Your Lawyer Day. As you celebrate, make sure you head over to LawyerMarketing.com and enter the prize drawings as a token of appreciation for all you do!
The journey to become a Super Lawyers selectee has many paths. In the most recent issues of Super Lawyers Magazine, the passion, determination and persistence of the Super Lawyers selectees jumps off the page. Read each article to get a better look at the hard work necessary to make the Super Lawyers or Rising Stars list.
2018 New York Metro Super Lawyers Magazine
It turns out that many of the tired, poor and huddled masses yearning to breathe free went on to law school. They specialized in practice areas such as corporate finance, personal injury and, naturally, immigration. Some learned about U.S. law by watching TV.
"If I tell you, you're going to laugh, but it's true: Matlock and Perry Mason," says Elsa Ayoub, owner of the Law Offices of Elsa Ayoub, PLLC. "I was fascinated by the arguments in court-and then the excitement at the end when they win. Because they always win."
The eight attorneys featured in the 2018 New York Metro Super Lawyers Magazine came from places as diverse as Cuba, Serbia, China and the Philippines. Some arrived for college; others were escaping violence and oppression. Each fell in love with the United States in their own way.
Look at the full article to read how each attorney arrived in America, the culture shock associated with immigrating to a new land, how they got invested in the law, the ways they stay tied to their cultures and more.
2018 Oklahoma Super Lawyers Magazine
John Kenney is a recording artist, inventor and former engineer. And that's not even his day job.
A detail-oriented researcher who parlays his former life as an engineer into his legal practice, Kenney also has nine patents to his name and two albums on the market as a country singer. At his day job, he focuses on technical and scientific issues, including intellectual property, products liability and environmental matters. He has handled cases throughout the U.S. and in several foreign countries, and written briefs for appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court. Kenney is also a frequent speaker and strong supporter of STEM education, advising teachers at the University of Oklahoma's K20 Center for Education and Community Renewal.
He has served twice as a temporary judge with two other appointed lawyers on the Oklahoma Court of Appeals, an experience that taught him the value of collaboration. "I came to realize that maybe there is something to this collective wisdom that is important, that maybe I'm not quite as smart as I thought I was by myself," he says. "That has carried me a long way as I've gone through life."
Read the whole story to find out how Kenney got into the law, and why he knows how to speak to juries-and country music fans, too.
2018 New England Super Lawyers Magazine
Mala Rafik was one of two children raised in Dubai-"back then, just beach and desert," she says, "our own little isolated world"-to a Catholic mother from India and a Muslim father from Pakistan. Her parents had both left home after high school to get jobs and send money back to their large families. They were, says Rafik, "the hardest workers I've ever known."
Her parents also encouraged compassion and generosity.
"My parents had three things they constantly ingrained in my brother and me: Work hard, never forget how lucky you are, and always give back," she says. "That's the way my parents lived their lives. They were the most generous, compassionate people."
From kindergarten through eighth grade, Rafik attended what is now the American School of Dubai. "I was surrounded by kids from every country and culture you can imagine," she says. "It was an international world that fostered empathy and broad perspective."
In fourth grade, Rafik and her classmates had to write a short essay about where they saw themselves in 20 years. What Rafik wrote still hangs on her office wall: I want to be a lawyer who can help people out of difficult situations.
Fighting within the rigorous legal confines of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, which governs all long-term and short-term disability and health insurance plans provided by employers, Rafik has earned a reputation as one of New England's most respected health and disability insurance litigators and advocates.
To read more about Rafik and how she tips the scales toward plaintiffs in employee benefits litigation, access the entire article.
Get a look at all the issues of Super Lawyers Magazine in the digital editions.