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By Ken Hardison


We know how powerful love can be in shaping who we are, what we do and how we choose to spend our time and our resources. Whether it’s love for our family, friends, hobbies, interests, possessions, or our business….

Love is a tremendous driving force.

So here is my question for you:   How are you harnessing this powerful emotion in your law firm?

Over the years I’ve seen many lawyers make a big mistake; They fall in love with their law firm, rather than their clients.

But when you become too hyper focused on your law firm “business,” you run the real risk of making your clients a back seat consideration.

When your clients become your No. 1 priority- when you make them your valentine all year long, your law firm becomes tailored to their interest.

Happy clients create a great law firm.

Happy clients give 5- star google reviews.

Happy clients become raving fans, who their friends and family to your firm.

Happy clients become mini marketers for your law firm.

Firms that focus on their business, rather than their clients, are commodities. They are a dime a dozen, and they squander their opportunity to sign more cases through referrals from prior and existing clients.

To stand out from the competition, you need to be unique; By focusing on your clients and showing them “love” – by listening to them, requiring your staff and every attorney in your firm to treat each client as they would their own grandmother, and always taking the extra steps to helping your clients solve their specific problems in a bold way, you differentiate your firm from all the rest. With this mindset, you set your firm apart from the competition.

Thought leader and Executive Coach Jay Abraham calls this principle the “theory of preeminence.”  Simply stated, the theory of preeminence means that everything you do should be for the betterment of your client. When all your actions are motivated in this way, and you consistently provide this level of exceptional value to your clients, they can’t help but tell others about their experience with your firm – with genuine enthusiasm and excitement.

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And the beauty of Client Referrals is that they cost you virtually nothing.

This begs the question: Are you creating daily and weekly systems designed to show your clients your truly care about them?

Are you actively treating them as your firm’s Valentine- not just this month but every month?

If you aren’t actively engaged in systematically building this golden marketing strategy, you are missing cases that could and should be yours.  

Referral Rule: The Magic 60%:  The Referral rule is a Rule that I learned many years ago and that illustrates just why setting up Referral systems can dramatically increase your sign-ups.

Studies show that Twenty percent of your client base will refer your business if you do nothing.

Anther twenty percent will never refer cases to your law firm, no matter what you do.

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The remaining sixty percent will refer business to you IF you create a Referral system that educates them on how to refer cases to you. This sixty percent are happy to refer cases to you (assuming you are providing excellent customer service, of course) but simply lack to know how to do so!

The Referral Rule:

*20% Always Refer

*20% Never Refer

*60 % Refer with Education/Encouragement 

The key to reaching this 60% and boosting your Referral rate is to create and foster relationships.

Relationships are everything—Your past clients shouldn’t be just a one-night stand for you and your law firm.

Instead, your past clients need to be in a more long-lasting and loving relationship with your law firm.

You want this critical 60% to think of you and your firm as their trusted legal advisor. You want to be THE FIRM they think of automatically whenever they, their friends or their loved ones need a lawyer.

Step 1: Be a Referrable Law Firm, which provides Excellent Client Service to Every Client all the Time.

In order to reach this important 60 percent segment of your past client base, you first want to make sure that your firm is referable.  What do I mean by referable?

Ask yourself these questions:

If one of your own family members were involved in a tragic accident and lost a limb, would you hire your firm to represent them?

Is your client service so spectacular that people are always talking about you?

This is the litmus test for whether or not your firm is referable.

Step 2: Be a Law Firm with a Culture that Understand the Direct Relationship Between Excellent Client Service and Getting More Client Referrals:

To increase referrals, you must establish and maintain a firm-wide referral mindset. This means that from the mailroom clerk to the senior partners, everyone is always mindful of establishing and building client relationships.

Maintaining excellent client service should be a cornerstone of your law firm’s culture.

Everyone in your law firm needs to understand the relationship between excellent client service, and subsequent client referrals. These concepts go hand in hand. You must have one to get more of the other.

Make sure everyone in your law firm recognizes the power and importance of referrals to your firm’s successful bottom line. They must understand that referrals are the most cost-effective way to acquire new clients. They must understand the lifetime value of a client.

Each client that walks through your firm’s doors is not only bringing the potential of their own repeat business, but also all the potential clients they can refer to you over their lifetime.

Each client has the potential to be mini marketers for your law firm, thereby helping you to grow your law firm exponentially.

It should be a profound ripple effect with a phenomenal ROI.

Thus, it is vitally important that you strive to instill in all your employees, staff, and attorneys an attitude of Under Promising and Over Delivering. (I wrote a book about this very subject a number of years ago, if you want to delve deeper, go to and click on the PILMMA store.)

Step 3: Be a Law Firm that Passes The Grandmother Test: Your staff, your lawyers and all of your employees should speak to and interact with your clients in the same way that they would their own grandmother.

If they would not say or do something to their grandmother, then they should not say or do it to your clients. I have used this analogy over and over with my own employees through the years to bring home the way I wanted my clients treated. Believe it or not, this simple comparison can really clarify this point for your employees and ensure that your clients are receiving the spectacular client service necessary to build relationships and also skyrocket referrals.

Step 5: Be a Law Firm that Understands You Must Give to Receive: I have always said that the way you treat your employees is the way your employees will treat your clients. You cannot realistically expect your employees to go the extra mile in appreciating your clients- in treating them like their Valentine- when they themselves don’t feel appreciated.

You cannot expect your employees to give what they themselves aren’t receiving.

So, take a look at what you are doing within your firm to ensure that your employees are happy and feeling appreciated.

Implement an action plan as needed to ensure that your employees are “feeling the love” so that they, in turn, want to share that warm feeling with your clients.

Treat your employees well and they will be more likely to treat your clients well.

Step 4: Be a Law Firm that Values Transparency and Follow-through:  In order to be THE law firm your clients and past clients “know, like and trust,” you must also make sure that you are open and honest in your client communications.

Be realistic in creating expectations regarding outcomes.

Keep your clients fully informed throughout the life of their case, through frequent and systematic communication. Use technology and automation to help you – like texting, client portals, Videos that explain the various stages of their case, and so forth.

If you are treating your clients with dignity and respect and being straight forward with them, they will still refer others to you even if you weren’t able to win their case or get the settlement amount they’d hoped for.

Step 5: Be A Law Firm that Nurtures an Ongoing Relationship with all Your Past Clients.

Long-term relationships need continued contact. So, make sure you send out Birthday Cards, Holiday Cards, handwritten thank you notes when they refer cases to you, firm swag, a law firm Newsletter, and such to all your past clients regularly, throughout the year.

You need to make it your business to show your past clients that you still care about them after the representation is over if you want them to refer others to your law firm.

So, this Valentines Day, fall in love with your clients, rather than your law firm, and commit to showing them that you care about them all during your firm’s representation and in all the years to come. Do this and you will sign more cases, see more profits, and build a better business!