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Question: What has been my most valuable source of client referrals?
Answer: My law school classmates.
I have very fond memories of law school. Do you? It wasn’t quite as fun as undergrad but many of the things that made college fun also applied to law school…sort of a care free time in life, spending time around a peer group of a similar age/interests, and it was intellectually stimulating. That’s my dominant law school memory. But I do also recall it being a pretty small ‘fishbowl’ like existence. Even at huge, state universities law schools aren’t too large. There were roughly 110 people in my graduating class, far less than even my high school. And there always seemed to be some gossip and just nasty treatment of people occurring. Personally I never saw the value in mistreating or being unkind to others simply as a life ethos…there’s a right and wrong way to treat people. Yet it was definitely part of the law school life for whatever reason.
But if you’re in law school, don’t be a jerk! It might be costly later on.
Is there a more naturally captive and potentially profitable source of business for you than the 100-200 persons whom you graduated law school with, know you well, likely practice law in the same state as you, are in position to refer business to you, but also include enough practice area and geographic diversity so that there’s business to go around and opportunities for reciprocity??
If you’re currently in law school…develop great friendships and supportive relationships now. It will payoff later.
If you’re out of school you need to engage this group immediately before too much time has past, plus it’s easy to do. Surely you have a class picture or graduation program with a list of your graduating class and most alumni associations have a pretty good alumni directory on the Internet these days. If you’re thinking about starting a practice your law school classmates should definitely be on that initial announcement mailing list. I’d suggest for most of us this is a small enough group that a spreadsheet with each classmate, contact information, and their practice areas should be maintained. And then treat these persons like any VIP referral sources…get them on your newsletter mailing list, wine and dine, simply all the personal touches that show them you care.