Lawyer to Lawyer: Marketing Attorney Services to Colleagues
by Ron S. Galperin
(County Bar Update, April 2003, Vol. 23, No. 4)

Lawyer to Lawyer: Marketing Attorney Services to Colleagues

By Ron S. Galperin at the request of the Law Practice Management Section Executive Committee. The Law Office of Ron S. Galperin specializes in real estate-related transactional and litigation matters, including sales, leasing, financing, and foreclosures. The firm and its attorneys also serve as corporate counsel to small- and medium-sized businesses and their principals. Galperin can be reached by email at ron@Galperinlaw.com. The opinions expressed are his own.

I used to be less than excited about participating in most bar association programs. After all, I thought to myself, what is the point in spending so much time with the “competition”? Wouldn’t my networking time be better spent with would-be clients at other events? Now I know better.

As a real estate attorney, I have always looked to existing clients, owners, buyers, and a variety of real estate professionals for new business. When I finally sat down to analyze the source of new clients, however, I discovered that a significant portion of new business was and is the result of referrals from other attorneys. Since my epiphany, participating in bar association programs isn’t just about communing with colleagues; it is also an important part of my marketing efforts.

Attorneys looking for new and better business (and who isn’t?) should consider an organized and directed approach to marketing to and working with other attorneys. Here are some suggestions:

Identify lawyers with other specialties who may benefit from your expertise. Medical malpractice attorneys, for example, may be an excellent source for referring their doctor clients to real estate attorneys. Entertainment and sports attorneys may be an excellent source of referrals to criminal lawyers. Get to know your colleagues, and let them get to know you.

Look for opportunities to speak and to present programs to other lawyers. Sharing your knowledge and expertise with lawyers is an almost certain way to achieve quality referrals.

Write articles for legal publications. Transform your knowledge about a specific area of the law into an article that is easy to read. Not only will readers encounter your article when it is published, you can also send out courtesy copies to colleagues, clients, and would-be clients. Articles can also bolster your resume and your Web site.

Become a good source of information to other attorneys. This may take the form of a newsletter or legal update aimed at other attorneys. You also should be immediately available not just to your clients but to your colleagues as well. And make it a pleasure for other attorneys to talk to you by being engaged and interested in their queries.

Remind your colleagues regularly about what you do, and find ways to tell your colleagues about your area of practice. “I recently dealt with the most interesting case . . .” or “Have you heard about the changes in . . . ?” These conversation starters are tools for sharing your knowledge. Just be sure you know when you have said enough.

Make yourself into a good source of referrals to others. If your clients, friends, family, or anyone else expresses the need for legal help outside of your expertise, make a referral and earn the appreciation of your referral and of your colleagues.

Express your thanks. When colleagues are nice enough to make a referral, make sure they know how appreciative you are. This may include sending a thank-you note, a holiday gift, or a cross-referral.

Keep your referral sources in the loop. Most attorneys will appreciate an update about their referral. It also may be a good idea to involve the referring attorney in the referred matter. This is especially true when attorneys refer one of their better clients.

Reward good referral sources. A reward may take the form of a referral fee — but only when appropriate, and disclosed and agreed upon by the client. Involving the referring attorney in the actual legal work is also a very good way to help referring attorneys benefit from their referrals.

Keep your referrals and your referral sources happy. The best way to get more and better business is to service your clients well.

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