Marketing For Lawyers Must Include Proper Networking

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Networking for LawyersIf you are thinking about marketing for lawyers you’re probably thinking about networking.  Most people, especially lawyers, think of networking as a primary marketing strategy yet few lawyers network properly.

Do you know how to bring people together for mutual benefit? If you don’t, you need to learn, because this is the true objective of networking.

Most lawyers think of networking as going out, shaking hands with a few people, and then hoping that person hires you in the future.  That’s the wrong thought process and the wrong approach.

The right approach is to think about the person you are meeting and his needs.  Helping him achieve his goals will, most likely, lead to you achieving your goals.

Here are five things to keep in mind when marketing for lawyers by networking:

1). Give First Then Receive…Sometimes

Lawyers think of marketing as a quid pro quo relationship.  I meet you and send you a case and you should send one back to me as soon as possible.  That’s not setting fair expectations for yourself or for the other party.

When you meet someone through networking, you should do some research on him before sending a case his way.  At minimum, make certain he is capable of handling the issue you are sending him and make sure he has no ethical complaints in his past.

Refer business to another lawyer based upon the client’s need and the attorney’s competency.  Put your expectations for a return referral on the back burner.  Doing the right thing for the client will result in more referrals than shipping business to someone whom you know handles a high volume of calls for cases in your client’s area of need.

If a lawyer is a connection (friend, trusted colleague, and respected practitioner) of yours and he is the best person to handle a matter, yet he doesn’t refer cases back to you, send him the case and, in a separate conversation, ask why he does not trust you enough to reciprocate.

2). Less Contacts Deeper Relationships

Lawyers often believe networking is a numbers game.  They believe the more contacts you have the greater your chances of receiving referrals.  This is not true.

Deep relationships result in referrals.  One deep relationship is more valuable than ten casual relationships.

3). Introductions Are Not Referrals

If you introduce a client to a lawyer by email you are not helping either the lawyer or the client.  An email introduction is simply an invitation for the lawyer to make a cold call.  Don’t do it.

At minimum, get the two parties on the telephone and introduce them by conference call.  This will allow you to pass along your thoughts on each of them in a genuine way.

The best way to pass a referral is in person, face-to-face.  This is not always possible, but it is always appreciated.

4). Referrals Are Not Necessarily Recommendations

Even when you refer someone by taking both parties to lunch and watching them shake hands, you are not necessarily doing EVERYTHING you can to help them connect and do business.

If you want to make certain your referral partner has the best shot at landing the client you should also make a recommendation.  Do this by saying something like:

“I recommend Joe Lawyer (insert name).  He is the best (insert practice area) lawyer in town.  I use him myself.”

This is a big deal.  Do it if you believe it to be true.

5). Think About What Your Network Says About You

Every referral you pass says something about you in two ways:

First: The quality of the person you refer is a reflection of your judgment and personal character.  Refer a jerk and you are a jerk.  Refer a professional and you are a professional.

Second: How you handle the referral process is indicative of how you will receive referrals in the future.  If you make personal introductions to your referral sources, you will receive them in return.

Here’s the bottom line:  Networking is essential in marketing for lawyers but if you do not network properly it can work against you.  Focus on quality connections and valuable referrals and you will be able to unlock the true power of your ability to bring people together.