In an interesting contradiction, the number one
technique to generate more new files is also the
concept that makes attorneys the most uncom-
fortable. Throughout the years, numerous stud-
ies have shown that the most effective way for
attorneys to develop more business is through
referrals, specifically referrals from other attor-
neys. Typically, referrals come from three
sources: (1) other attorneys (2) strategic part-
ners and (3) current clients. Let’s begin by
exploring some of the beliefs that attorneys hold
that keep them from asking for referrals.
1. Other people should know I am a good
attorney and should give me new files or mat-
ters when they arise.
We would all like to believe that our contacts are
always thinking about us, but that is almost never
the case. Most people are constantly tuned into the
same radio station, WIIFM or “what’s in it for me”.
Think about how busy you are in your day-to-day
life and think about how often you think of referrals
for other people. If you want to receive referrals,
you will need to remind people that you are avail-
able and you must be able to ask for the business.
2. People will think I’m desperate if I ask for
Most of the attorneys we have met have a “self-lim-
iting recording” in which they believe their peers
and clients will think less of them if they “ask for
the business”. When attorneys ask for referrals,
they are often surprised by how much their peers
want to help them. When we ask our clients, “what
would happen if someone they knew and respected
asked them for referrals,” they always say that they
would do whatever they could to help a client or
contact. Why would things be different for you?
Our clients are always surprised at how easy it is to
ask for referrals when we teach them the most
effective way to do it.
3. I have nothing to offer in return.
Many times we find that attorneys don’t ask for
referrals because they are afraid that they have noth-
ing to offer in return. Attorneys from small to
medium size firms sometime