The two best sources of new business for lawyers are current clients and referral sources (also referred to as word-of-mouth). Having just finished an action plan last week for a relatively new, young lawyer who does not have his own client base, it became pretty obvious that the place for him to start in building a client base is with referrals.

That is why I found the post “It’s Never Too Early to Pursue Referrals” by Miriam Lawrence on Automatic Referrals very timely. She shares three thoughts that “new advisors” (in our case, lawyers) should keep in mind to build a base of clients. She draws from points raised by her Automatic Referrals’ colleague Bob David:

  1. Research supports the idea that “the most important factor in a new client choosing to do business” with you is not experience but “chemistry”;
  2. Although you may not have a “track record” you do, as does everyone, have a story worth telling, and
  3. Concentrate on your strengths – whether that be a particular niche, or ability to listen well (a skill many of us lawyers could use a lot more of), or whatever.

The important thing is that you have “strengths and knowledge to offer clients and their associates right now.”


So, a lack of a client base is no reason for anguish, just start developing business with a focus on referral sources – whether from existing contacts or new ones you develop through networking activities.