You’ve been there before—a matter comes across your desk and, for whatever reason, it’s not a “fit” for your personal injury law firm. At that moment, you’re forced with a decision: “Should I take this on?” After all, what’s the alternative: surpass the revenue and give it to one of your personal injury competitors, instead?
The answer is two-fold: 1) yes, you should and 2) you’re thinking about things wrong. Put it this way: say you order a burrito from your favorite Mexican spot and they accidentally deliver you two burritos. You could eat both, but you usually can’t even finish one—and let’s be honest, the only one that would suffer is you. Alternatively, you could give it to your neighbor (yes, the one that plays his music too loud and always parks in your spot).
Why would you do this? Well, in addition to being nice, it may benefit you at a later date. Maybe next time he has leftovers, he’ll bring you some; maybe you’ll strike up a conversation about music and he has free tix to see your favorite band; or maybe next time he parks in your spot, you can shoot him a text (instead of laying on your horn). The point is creating, fostering, and maintaining amicable relationships with your peers is not only nice…but also beneficial.
And the same goes for your peers in the personal injury space. Taking on a case that isn’t a fit for your firm, doesn’t hurt your competitors, it hurts you—because you won’t perform your best…leading to unhappy clients and a tarnished reputation in the community. On the other hand, referring your burritos—err, cases—to your personal injury peers will help you create an attorney network that will lead to more opportunities and more profits coming back your way.
So without further adieu, let’s get you hip to the referral game and take the work out of legal networking….
When should I refer a case out?
That’s easy. Basically, anytime you feel like you won’t be able to give a potential client a fair shot at success, you should refer their case out. It’s an easy enough concept; but if you’re still confused, here are some of the more common reasons personal injury attorneys turn to referrals:
Not your area of expertise:
The PI practice in the areas of law is full of complex cases, unique injuries, and a whole lot of sub-specialties—it’s impossible to be well-versed in all its nooks and crannies…but for every cranny you don’t know, there’s someone that knows a whole lot. If you feel like you’ll have to reinvent the wheel by taking on a case, the expert move is to refer it out.
Requires too many resources:
There are a lot of resources—e.g., time, energy, money—that go into taking on a new case, especially in the beginning. If you feel like taking on a new case will leave you understaffed, underfunded, or overworked, then it’s best you refer it out.
There’s a conflict of interest:
This one’s a no-brainer because it’s required by the ABA. Study up on the rules of your ethics…and if there’s any question that taking on a new case will affect your ability to represent other clients, you know what to do.
Just kidding! But truthfully, you don’t have to take on every client that walks through your door. If your heart isn’t into a particular cause of action, then refer it out to a firm that will give their best.
Ok, but you said there were benefits to referring a case out… Aside from not ruining your firm’s future by taking a case that’s not a fit, there are plenty of reasons to send your cases out. Foremost is building a strong attorney referral network.
That sounds ambiguous but the benefits are very real. Sharing cases with your peers is no different than sharing burritos with your neighbor—it starts a dialogue and fosters a (hopefully lasting) relationship. You can share your specialties, the kinds of opportunities you’re looking for, your present bandwidth for new cases, etc…that way, when a case comes across your peers’ desks that aren’t right for them—but may be right for you—they’ll think of you first. And since you’re doing the same for them, they’ll have an incentive!
Great so how do I build a strong attorney referral network?
Well, you could spend all your free time engaging in traditional means of networking, like attending industry events, joining professional organizations, and engaging in small talk—but you’d probably rather spend that time advocating for clients or with loved ones.
So what’s the plan?
Like everything else in life, personal injury law isn’t immune from the power of technology. CloudLex’s Referral Engine provides you with all the benefits (and more) of a strong attorney referral network, but with none of the inconvenience. Referral Engine allows you tobuild and maintain your profitable network from the convenience of anywhere. With Referral Engine you can:
- Send out referrals to (and take on referrals from) anyone, including our ever-expanding subscriber network of prominent PI attorneys
- Execute fee arrangements quickly, share case data securely, and track the progress of your referred matters whenever
- Make your legal peers aware of your professional wants and strengths and expand your personal injury network both locally and nationally
…and more! So here’s a referral:check out Referral Engine and the rest of our revolutionary cloud-based legal software and let us help you perfect your referral process, build your attorney network, and make your personal injury firm more profitable and efficient.