Most attorneys feel that the only way to earn revenue is through client fees. They are unaware that they can increase their earnings through lawyer referral fees. Even professionals who are aware of the concept have doubts about the practice. Some even feel that the activity is not legally correct. In case, referral earnings were unethical, platforms like global legal networks would not have existed. Generating some income by suggesting another professional to a client is not incorrect. However, it is guided by some rules and regulations as is any activity related to the legal profession. Here we are discussing how you can make some extra money through referral fees by using virtual receptionists. Let’s dive into the topic to understand it in a better manner.
What Is Lawyer Referral Fee?
It is common for attorneys to refer clients to their peers. This is done for a variety of reasons. In some cases, the specific skill sets of the other professional are required by the client. For instance, a startup lawyer directs a software firm owner to an IP protection attorney . The law in many jurisdictions asks lawyers to work in the best interest of their clients and referring one to a more suitable professional definitely falls in the best-interest category. In the example mentioned here, the attorney sending the client to another lawyer can demand referral fees from the latter. Many professionals have a legal arrangement to pay such dues to each other.
What Are Virtual Receptionists?
A virtual receptionist performs all the duties of a regular receptionist but is not physically present at your office. There are many firms which provide the service for specified fees. Once you hire them they will appoint receptionists to take your calls and messages. You can even provide the custom welcome message with which a caller should be greeted. Virtual receptionists can convey and collect information on your behalf. You can also entrust them with scheduling appointments. The service is especially helpful for solo practitioners and small firm owners. They can enjoy the benefit of a receptionist without spending too much money.
How Can Virtual Receptionists Help In Earning Revenue?
Virtual receptionists can be handy tools for earning revenue in the form of lawyer referral fees. It is difficult for attorneys to personally attend to every call to their office. It is the receptionist which is the first point of actual contact for most people trying to get in touch with your firm. Imagine a scenario where a person calls your personal injury firm looking for help in a DUI case. Now you do not handle such cases but you know another professional who does. Since you did not take the call, chances are you miss out on the opportunity to refer the person to the DUI attorney. Let’s say you had provided the virtual receptionist with a referral list which contained the name of different lawyers along with the types of cases they can handle. Now, the receptionist will connect the caller with the DUI lawyer who in turn will pay you the referral fees when she is hired.
What Are the Important Points To Keep In Mind?
There are some important points which must be kept in mind before you instruct your receptionist to take the necessary steps in this matter. Let’s take a look at them.
1. Know The Fees That Are Allowed In Your Jurisdiction
Bar councils in various jurisdictions explicitly state about the kind of fees that lawyers can charge their clients. There are rules which specify that attorneys cannot share earnings through cases with people who are not legal practitioners. However, there are clear rules for referral fees which say that the money can be split according to the services provided by each professional as long as the client agrees to the arrangement. Make sure you know about the rules in this regard which are applied in your jurisdiction.
2. Only Refer To Dependable Professionals
The professionals that you are referring your clients to must possess impeccable reputation. Make sure that you are confident about the skills and character of a person before getting into a referral arrangement with him/ her. In some jurisdictions, the bar council rules clearly state that you must suggest a competent practitioner. This means that a blunder committed by the suggested professional can leave you exposed to the danger of being sued for malpractice.
3. Always Keep Your Side Of The Bargain
When you are part of a legal network or one-to-one referral arrangements, then there will be times when others will refer clients to you. Make sure that during such situations you keep up your side of the bargain and pay the specified amount. Always include the fees percentage in the agreement and pay the amount on time so that others also honor the deal.
Lawyer referral fees are a good source of additional income for small law firm owners. Using virtual receptionists for the purpose allows them to employ the tactic in an efficient manner. However, attorneys must be aware of the relevant laws before entering into such agreements.
legalexperts • 2019 Sep 06