Many attorneys spend their days in transit, in meetings, and in court representing clients and their interests, leaving little time for answering questions from leads and prospective clients over the phone. To add to the frustration, sometimes a client isn't a good fit for their firm, and requires a referral to another attorney who can best fulfill the needs of their case.
Referral fees represent another source of income for a law firm outside of the normal fees that the attorney charges for serving a client. Sometimes, though, these “bad” leads can fall through the cracks, leading to a lost opportunity for additional income.
Cue Smith.ai: In addition to helping you capture and qualify your good leads, the virtual receptionists at Smith.ai can also monetize your bad leads — those callers who are not good clients for you, but from whom you can still earn referral fees.
How attorney referrals work
U.S. federal law requires an attorney to act in the best interest of their client when representing them, according to the American Bar Association. This sometimes requires an attorney to refer a client to another attorney better qualified to meet the specific needs of the client. Why not make something from this exchange?
The reason for a referral ranges from an attorney practicing law in another country or different area, to an attorney charging a higher fee than the client is willing or able to pay. A family law firm referring a criminal case to a criminal defense lawyer represents just one example of a typical referral.
When making a referral, how much should an attorney expect in the form of a referral fee? Most of the time, the amount of a referral fee depends on the state the attorney practices law in. For example, in California, attorney referral fees range from 10 to 50 percent of whatever fee the representing attorney receives. As a rule of thumb, in many personal injury cases across the U.S., referring attorneys typically receive one-third of the amount that the representing law firm receives. In other cases, the referring attorney receives a percentage of the flat fee or initial retainer received by the representing law firm.
How to use virtual receptionists to earn referral revenue
The virtual receptionists at Smith.ai help ensure you capture all of the referral fees you can. Smith.ai takes down the lists of all of your referrals along with your specific instructions for which clients to send to them. When a lead is ill-fitting to your law firm but a good fit for someone on your referral list, our receptionists will reference your referral list, and make recommendations based on who you’ve indicated represents the best fit, depending on your client’s needs. So, if you practice family law and a caller needs a criminal attorney, we'll refer them to the criminal attorney on your list. Best of all, Smith.ai places no limit on the number of attorneys you can have on your referral list, so you can maximize the monetization of these "bad" leads.
Smith.ai also makes referrals for other business types, including IT consultants, financial planners, and others that seek to service their clientele by referencing them to experts who can best help them in their unique situations. This even goes for members of business networking groups, such as Business Networking International (BNI), local merchant associations, and others.
By offering this valuable service, Smith.ai is able to not only capture, qualify, and intake your good leads, but also allowing you to monetize your “bad” leads though referral fees. Smith.ai also gives you the ability to easily build a better relationship with your current clientele while also allowing you to book new clients.
Start earning referral revenue with Smith.ai
If you're already a Smith.ai customer, just email your referral list and instructions to firstname.lastname@example.org. We can typically begin passing leads to your referrals within one business day.
If you're not yet a Smith.ai customer, get started with your a 30-day/10-call free trial. During onboarding, you can provide your referral list and instructions, and your receptionists will begin referring any leads who meet your referral criteria within one business day.
We're here to answer any questions you have about earning referral fees using virtual receptionists. You can contact Smith.ai Monday through Friday 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. PST by phone at (650) 727-6484 or by email at email@example.com.