Trustee Blog

Thanking Attorneys for Referrals

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Newsletter #19.

Last week we talked about asking your clients for referrals of new clients. This week we discuss how to treat an attorney who sends you a new client.

Send a “thank you” to the referring attorney.

When a prospective client calls our office, we try to find out who referred the prospective client to us. We jot down the referring person’s name and then send a “thank you” note to that person. This note is an appreciation for thinking of our law office. The note sets us apart from most law offices that do not thank other attorneys.

One attorney that does take the time to say “thank you” is attorney Diane Mancinelli from Tustin, CA. I have referred a few clients to her in the past and she has always sent me a thank you note after she met with the client. The note is a nice thing to do and common courtesy.

Some lawyers may say that the “thank you” is contrary to the ethics rules. This gesture however does not violate California Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 2-200(B)

California Rule of Professional Conduct 2-200 Financial Arrangements Among Lawyers

Except as permitted in paragraph (A) of this rule or rule 2-300, a member shall not compensate, give, or promise anything of value to any lawyer for the purpose of recommending or securing employment of the member or the member’s law firm by a client, or as a reward for having made a recommendation resulting in employment of the member or the member’s law firm by a client.

A member’s offering of or giving a gift or gratuity to any lawyer who has made a recommendation resulting in the employment of the member or the member’s law firm shall not of itself violate this rule, provided that the gift or gratuity was not offered in consideration of any promise, agreement, or understanding that such a gift or gratuity would be forthcoming or that referrals would be made or encouraged in the future.

The ethics rules therefore do not bar giving a gift or a “Thank You” to another attorney as long as there is no promise to send gifts in the future contingent on more business referrals.

Practice Pointer:

When an attorney or someone else sends you a client, send the referring person a “thank you” note or at least an email or telephone call. It is common courtesy and a good practice to Build your Bankruptcy Business.


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