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The Secrets to Building a Strong Referral Base

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Focus on creating relationships.

One of the best – and cheapest – ways to grow your law practice is by creating and cultivating a strong referral network.

This doesn’t just happen by magic. It takes intention, effort and planning.

Most importantly, it requires you to ask your referral sources “How can I help you?” rather than “Could you please send me some business?”

A strong and durable referral relationship is a win-win situation where both sides benefit – not just you and your firm. That means helping your referral partners achieve their goals too.

“For attorneys, a strong network has always been crucial to a successful practice,” says law firm consultant Rob Foil in this blogpost for Attorney at Work. “A network’s makeup may vary between practice areas — an IP attorney’s network will most likely look very different from a personal injury attorney’s – but the principle is the same: Once you begin to focus on helping the people in your network get what they want, you will find it easier to transform those LinkedIn connections into long-term relationships that deliver value to all.”

As a benefit of a Lawyers Professional Liability Insurance policy underwritten by Alta Professional Insurance Services, policyholders are automatically enrolled in the Alta Pro Lawyers Risk Purchasing Group (Alta Pro RPG). They have access to our exclusive policyholder-only services. The Alta Pro RPG website is intended to be a resource for independent agents, insured attorneys, insured paralegals/staff, and the general public.

Ask your referral sources how you can help them. “When was the last time you asked someone about their goals and how you can help?” says Foil. “If you don’t have this information, you will miss opportunities to add value to the relationship. Also, by simply asking this question, you have already set yourself apart from a person’s other connections.”

Be creative in showing appreciation for your referral sources. From Foil: “For example, if I have a contact who wants to be the number one widget salesperson in their company, I won’t limit my help to introducing them to people who buy widgets. I might also recommend a podcast they could find helpful. If I come across an app that could help them be more productive, I send them a link to the website. Think about the resources and experiences that can help your contacts get the results they are trying to achieve.”

Get to know your referrers as people. Learn about their hobbies and outside interests. Look for ways to show your gratitude that go beyond the professional relationship.

Host something. “Once we are back to normal, hosting a diverse group of contacts for lunch, dinner or any other social event is a great way to establish yourself as a ‘super-connector,’” writes Foil.

Keep your antenna up. Stay engaged with your referrers. Celebrate their wins with congratulatory gifts and cards. Be intentional about looking for opportunities to be of assistance to your referrals. Think win-win!

Alta Professional Insurance Services Agency, LLC, (Alta Pro) provides innovative, intelligent, professional insurance underwriting, claims, risk management, product development, and sales and marketing services to our clients using state of the art information technology. Alta Pro adheres to the highest standards of ethics and integrity to achieve superior results for our clients. Led by experienced program administrators who know their clients’ insureds and the carriers’ appetites, Alta Pro continues to expand our program offerings across the U.S. 


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In an age of consolidation where increasingly impersonal transactions have made customer service an oxymoron, we bring together independent agents, insurance companies, and other industry specific service providers to develop and deliver insurance products and risk management solutions that benefit our insurance customers.

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