legal referral woman drinking coffee

Want more referrals for your law firm? Here’s what to do.

Despite all of my other marketing efforts, I continue to receive the best leads from referrals.  

Whether the source is a current or former client, another attorney, or a close friend or family member, referrals that come from people who know me almost always result in a retainer.

While most solos know that word of mouth referrals and building a network is  essential, knowing how to get legal referrals can be a confusing.

Here are some things you can do to get more referrals for your law firm.  

Make Sure You Are Referral Worthy

Before asking for referrals make sure you are worthy. The worst thing you can do is receive a referral and not have systems in place to provide excellent service.

Get feedback from existing clients

The first step to getting more referrals is to review your current level of service. Get feedback from your current clients to ensure you are meeting their needs and expectations.  

You can accomplish this by sending a survey to your current clients to learn what you can do better. You can use a tool like SurveyMonkey or contact each client in person.

Once you learn your weak areas, implement a plan to improve and have a system in place for regularly receiving feedback.

Exceed expectations.

Now that you know what your clients expect from you, exceed expectations at every opportunity. Underpromise and over deliver to create raving fans for your business.

If you are exceeding expectations, your clients will gladly tell everyone about you. And if a referral source hears rave reviews from someone they sent to you, they’ll trust you enough to send more referrals.

Ask Your Clients For Referrals

Know exactly when to ask

The key to asking clients for referrals is knowing when to ask.

The best time to ask is when they are excited about you.

One way to create excitement is to blow them away at the consultation. If they like you enough to hire you on the spot, they will happily spread the word about you.

Many clients sign the retainer agreement before leaving my office so I take that opportunity to give them extra business cards to give out and let them know that any clients they refer to me will receive a free consult.

The Welcome Letter in my New Client Packet includes a note telling new clients that my business relies on word-of-mouth referrals and if they feel I provide an excellent level of service to please share my contact information with others who might be interested in my services.

Another great time is right after a win or when they compliment you. Respond with a thank you and ask if they know anyone else you could help.

And you should always end your representation with a request for feedback and a reminder to share your information with others.

Give Your Clients Other Ways To Recommend You

What if you have a client that loves you but does not know anyone who needs your services?

There are still ways these clients can recommend you.

You can ask these clients to be featured in a case study, ask for a testimonial, or ask for an online review.

You don’t have to wait until the end of a case to get these types of recommendations if the client is happy and enthusiastic about writing a review.

Make sure all current clients know about all the services you offer

Clients know less about what we do than we think, so it’s our job to education them.

I include an “Everything We Sell” sheet in my new client packet, and send info about lesser known services to my email list.

If your clients are aware of all of your services, there is a better chance that they know someone you can help.

For example, a client may not know anyone needing divorce services but may know many people interested in a prenuptial agreement. They can only refer those people if they know I do prenups.

Getting Referrals For Your Law Firm From Other Professionals

Find complementary professionals

A complimentary professional is another (non competing) professional who shares your target client. In my family law practice complementary professionals include therapists, accountants, real estate professionals, and small business attorneys.

Get more referrals from these sources by providing valuable content they can share with their network, such as helpful checklists, webinars, and blog posts.

I also find a great incitive is to offer referral from these sources a free consultation. It makes them look good and will encourage more referrals.

Connecting with the right professionals can lead to a steady stream of referrals. Just make sure that anyone you refer your clients to have the same standard of customer service as your firm.

Give referrals.

Become a people connector. Giving referrals is one of the best ways to get referrals in return.

General Tips For Getting More Referrals

Always be specific when asking for a referral.

Make sure your referral source knows exactly who your target client is so you don’t waste time with a lead you can’t help.

Provide support

Always give referral sources something to share. It can be business cards, a brochure, or a link to a specific page on your website.

Say Thank You

Saying thank you is the right thing to do and may lead to more referrals.

Always ask new clients how they heard about you, so you know who to thank.

Immediately send that referral source an email thanking them for the referral, and follow up with a handwritten thank you card.

Consider sending a small gift, life a giftcard to Starbucks, to someone who has sent you multiple clients.

How do you generate referrals for your firm? Like us on facebook to join the conversation.

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Joleena Louis

In addition to assisting New Yorkers with their family law issues, I also advise other entrepreneurial attorneys on starting their law practices. I have a weekly column on the Law Firm Suites blog called Things I Wish I Knew, a family law blog at and my solopreneur blog