Solo/Small Firm January 2022

Win Referrals in 2022!


Written by Martha M. Newman

What would it mean to your law practice if you had a network of referral sources you could rely on to send you profitable cases throughout the year? If your answer is higher revenues, less stress, fewer dollars spent on marketing, and predictable cash flow, you are right. Let’s talk about how to build that network.

First, Set Marketing Goals.
Determine your revenue targets for the new year. How many referrals do you need to make your numbers? What kinds of cases are the most likely to yield referrals?

Identify Current Referral Sources.
Make a list. Evaluate which referral sources— clients, lawyers, other professionals—have been the most productive and what kinds of cases you typically receive from them. Then choose which sources to prioritize for periodic outreach.

Decide Who Your Best Prospects for Referrals Are.
Look at past cases referred to you that had successful outcomes and current cases that are going well. The best way to get new clients is through referrals from those satisfied clients.

Next, review your contacts in Outlook, LinkedIn, Facebook, and other places where you have saved the names of your connections. Pull the names of people you think would be likely to send you referrals were you to ask.

Investigate Ways to Meet New Referral Sources.
Research where to find new referral prospects whom you want to cultivate. Identify lawyers locally who would make good referral sources and figure out how to get introduced to them through mutual connections or through social media. Network at bar section events attended by lawyers who are not your competitors and at professional organizations whose members serve your ideal clients.

Create a Referral Marketing Plan.
Record referral prospects you will target each week—ways to meet them and steps you will take to interact with them and cultivate relationships with them. Enter your referral planning and marketing activities on your calendar to create accountability. Of course, be sure to follow the applicable disciplinary rules related to referrals.

Be Bold and Ask for Referrals.
My lawyer clients are often reticent to ask for referrals for fear of appearing needy, imposing on another person’s time, or taking advantage of client relationships. All lawyers want referrals themselves. All professionals in business rely on referrals. They will respect you, not resent you, for asking.

Track Your Referral Marketing Efforts.
Along with your staff, establish a system to keep track of incoming, outgoing, and cross referrals. Use that information to reciprocate when possible.

Track the referral person, the types of cases sent to you, and the name of the client who was referred to you. Consider purchasing lawyer referral software packages or contact relationship manager, or CRM, tools to assist you.

Stay Top of Mind With Referral Sources.
Instead of producing generic email newsletters that magnetize the delete button, use drip email campaigns through platforms like Mailchimp or Clio Grow to send short, valuable bits of legal content monthly to current and prospective referral sources.

Schedule reminders to communicate with established referral sources at least once each year (other than Christmas) and thank them for the business they are sending you.

Manage Your Online Reputation.
Referral sources want to see positive reviews online before sending you business. As part of onboarding new clients, let them know you will be seeking reviews at the conclusion of your representation if the clients are satisfied with the quality of your work.

Create a Google review link for your law firm and provide the link to your clients. Use the link in your email signature and on your website. Search the web for free link generators.

Mine the Vein of Gold.
Building a network of referral sources is akin to mining for gold. The work you expend finding those referral sources, cultivating them, and nurturing them will bring you prosperity throughout your long legal career. TBJ

Headshot of Martha NewmanMARTHA M. NEWMAN is a former oil and gas litigator and owner of Top Lawyer Coach. She specializes in lawyer coaching and consulting in the areas of law firm management, business development, leadership, time management, presentation skills, career advancement, and job interviewing. Newman has been awarded the Professional Certified Coach, or PCC, credential by the International Coach Federation in recognition of her coaching excellence. For more information, go to

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