For more than 15 years, I had a lawyer/friend who consistently referred new clients. For one reason or another, the leads never panned out.
Whenever my lawyer/friend referred a new client, he was apologetic with words to the effect of, “I’m so sorry for wasting your time with some of these leads.” My response was always the same, “No apology necessary. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve your clients…even if this never leads to a case that we accept.” And I meant it, because with every referral, your referral partner is honoring you.
A referral sends a message from your referral partner: there is no one better to help their client than you. But the message is even better: your referral partner trusts you and knows you will do what’s right for their client. This is something every lawyer should take seriously.
Why You Should Always take the Long View
The long view is the mindset that your law firm will live forever. Everything you do today will have consequences in the future. Every update to a referral partner is a seed that you are planting that will nurture the relationship and will likely pay dividends in the future. But even if you don’t earn a penny from your referral partner, they are paying the highest compliment with their referrals.
In a referral-based law firm, the highest and best use of your time is updating your referral partners about the status of a referred case. Why? Because with every update, you are nurturing and cultivating the referral relationship. You are sending a message: the referrals are important to you and you’ve spent considerable time evaluating the potential case. And with every update to a referral partner, you are virtually guaranteeing future referrals.
How the Long View Can Pay Off
Over the last 2 years, things started to change with cases referred by my lawyer/friend. 5 referrals from my lawyer/friend were accepted for litigation and over the last 2 years, 3 of those cases resulted in legal fees to our firm exceeding $700k. This would not have happened if we had not taken the long view.
On March 16, 2022, our law firm received a referral from a new referral partner (a referral partner is a lawyer who refers a client to our law firm) that resulted in our firm’s 500th referral partner. We previously set a goal of having 500 referral partners on October 17, 2013 (we had 124 referral partners at that time), and on March 16th, we achieved this goal. And now, we are refocusing our goal to 1,000 referral partners by October 17, 2024.
Why do we share this? When you take the long view, things might not work out for years, but with time and a healthy dose of patience, there’s a good chance you will be rewarded.
This is why every lawyer should take the long view.