Client development; referrals

On 23.06.10, In Legal Marketing, by Daniel Callahan

Success requires no explanations, failure permits no alibis.  Napoleon Hill.

Client development in a law practice is more than simply convincing a potential client to write a check for your retainer.   Client development begins the moment you decide to build your law firm if not sooner.  We are often looking or searching for the magic bullet that leads the masses to our doors with checks in hand.  Yet, if we fail to perform at the basic level of human relations we will not retain our clients nor will we garner referrals from those we currently serve.  Communication is essential in building a steady stream of referrals for your law firm.  This series will offer some “Do’s and Don’ts” when it comes to communication.

Accepting a case or retaining a family for your firm’s services is much more than convincing the potential client that your firm is the best choice for their needs.  Many over zealous young attorneys will promise the world to a client without thinking of the consequences.  For instance, many of these promising young litigants will give their cell phone numbers to a client and insinuate that they are available at the client’s beckon call.  Unless you are prepared to take calls at all and often inconvenient hours this is a “DON’T”!  Have a stated and clear communication policy with your clients.  They need to know that you are available to them, however it must have clear and reasonable boundaries.

What is a clear and reasonable boundary?     Have a stated policy on your letterhead that you give to your new client in their welcome to the firm packet.  Indicate to your client that you and your team recognize the importance of clear communication therefore you have a suggested format for concerns and dissemination of concerns, new and vital information pertinent to the case.