There is something to be said about the Internet. It has the capability to connect people globally and expand the definition of “community.” And the larger your network, the greater your opportunity to influence a broader audience or seek out support.
Lawyers in particular understand the value of networking and broadening their communities. Good lawyers get work and retain clients by using the tools at hand better than anyone else. A lawyer’s reputation is just one of these tools and it’s worth mentioning, to lawyers, the value of investing in your reputation:
A lawyer’s most important investment is the investment they make in themselves. An investment that makes certain that the public, referral sources, bloggers, conference coordinators, and the media see the lawyer as a thought leader in their field – see the lawyer as a reliable and trusted authority in the lawyer’s area of expertise.
There has never been a better time to use the Internet as a way to leverage this investment. This is where LawRex.com comes in to play. I recently found out about LawRex through Twitter and became immediately intrigued. I then discovered that what started as a bet between the founders of LawRex, siblings Joe and Isis Bous, became an online solution aimed to change the way lawyers do business.
The bet was made over the question of whether there existed an online solution for their solo practitioner friend to find and generate referrals. Afterall, isn’t it often the case that “almost everyone knows a lawyer, but no one ever seems to know the one they need.” As a result, LawRex officially launched on August 24, 2009, as a lawyer-to-lawyer referral and client management system that allows lawyers to trade the leads they can’t use for ones they can online. LawRex is a new tool for lawyers, and an increasingly important one at that.
And if you’re a business owner, LawRex can be a benefit to you as well. Likely, all business owners have sought out legal assistance in either starting-up their business or maintaining its success. Provided that these lawyers are a member of LawRex, you’re likely to receive competent help in the future – whether it is from your specific lawyer or another lawyer, accessed through LawRex, who has the specific experience to better assist you.
So what is it?
LawRex is a new approach to generating referrals and securing referred cases from other attorneys. Because the best referrals originate from lawyers, LawRex provides the means and incentive for lawyers to refer cases to other attorneys and get referrals in return. And if you’d like to keep your cases but may need some help handling the work, LawRex offers the ability to locate co-counsel or freelancers to assist with your caseload. Not only can lawyers generate new clients through LawRex, but depending on the ethics rules in their jurisdiction, they can also generate referral income from the system by posting and negotiating referral fee and fee splitting arrangements.
Without LawRex, referrals are often passed within closed circles, and often between lawyers a part of large law firms. Because the majority of lawyers do not work for large firms, but are often just as qualified, LawRex offers these lawyers the opportunity to expand their network and take part in referral trades.
How does it work?
Particularly in this economic climate, securing quality cases for as little cost as possible is more imperative than ever. Within its membership network, LawRex uses a point-based system (Karma Points) to facilitate the exchange of referrals between member lawyers. Contributing lawyers request a minimum number of Karma Points when they submit a referral, while the petitioning lawyers offer the number of Karma Points they’re willing to forgo to take the case. And, of course, members can review the details of a potential case prior to showing interest in it, ask questions, or simply petition for the referral.
We all know that not all referrals are created equally. Thus, LawRex also created a referral rating system whereby the petitioning lawyers who receive a referral can rate its quality. This rating is listed as part of each contributing lawyer’s profile and included in future referrals. As you can imagine, profile ratings are important to members when it comes time to select a petitioner or deciding if the referral is worth the petition. The higher your rating, the more trustworthy your future postings will be perceived, and therefore the more valuable your referrals will be. In their words, “nourish the system and it will return the favor.” The more quality referrals you post to LawRex, the more Karma Points you’ll have to petition for other referred cases.
Members and membership.
LawRex is intended to be an industry utility. It’s also a utility that lawyers can use without spending any money. Membership is free, but there are additional membership levels that, for a fee, allow further access to the LawRex system. Though, further access does not guarantee extra referrals out of the gate. The idea surrounding LawRex is that lawyer members actually use the system, not buy their way into it. And being that it is a user generated system, it becomes better and more valuable with use.
Determining what kind of member you are is an additional question. From a solo practitioner, to an associate at a large firm, to a bar association, LawRex is a single forum membership network where attorneys can quickly and easily exchange potential case leads and find qualified co-counsel or freelance assistance. What’s not to love?
As an added bonus, lawyers who become members between September and November 2009 are automatically upgraded to LawRex’s associate level for three months. And members who refer to LawRex five qualified lawyers, who become members themselves, will be upgraded to a senior partnership membership for three months. Only licensed lawyers in good standing are allowed to become members, primarily because they’re likely to generate better leads and will have vetted each case referral. The thought is that lawyer referred cases are likely to be from clients willing to pay for a lawyer’s time, rather than be from someone simply requesting free advice.
Regardless of where you are in your legal career or what type of legal professional you may be, LawRex is a great resource. Extend your network and improve your reputation – LawRex is a tool to assist the investment in yourself.