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Solo In Chicago

...empowering the Second City's entrepreneurial legal community

Friday, September 14, 2007

Referrals from other lawyers...

Other lawyers are potentially great referral sources but I think a lot of people (myself included) don't always pursue these effectively. Initially when I went solo I sent out a large mailing to other small firm attorneys in the area essentially announcing the firm, seeking referrals and volunteering for any court coverage that they may need. There was little to no return from this.

What is an effective method for seeking referrals from other lawyers? As a general rule, I think the development of relationships is important...a mere mailing won't do it. Make friendships. Some helpful guidelines:

1. Attorneys outside your geographic region. Both locally and nationally. My best lawyer referral sources are lawyers in Will and Du Page counties who don't want to handle Cook county cases. But you need to meet these people. In the Loop I think a lot of lawyers are into their little "downtown Chicago" world too much. They do their events in their firm or maybe CBA but that's it. Join the ABA or ISBA and get involved on section councils...these are great ways to meet lawyers from outside the Chicago area.

2. Attorneys outside your practice area. Depending on your practice area I think this can be critical. I think this must be a great source of business for the person with a very "narrow" niche practice. I don't think this is as great of a referral source for a more general practice such as myself. I do get some business in this area from lawyers who "refuse to do family law."

3. Non-native speaking attorneys. This is a strange one that has happened more than once. What this has been for me has been getting litigation referrals from non-English or not great English speakers for litigation. Perhaps there's some hesitancy to deal with the verbal advocacy that in-court representation involves.


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