Trial Counsel for Law Firms

No Referral Fee Policy

Referral fees and law firm marketing have become more and more controversial as of late, especially in personal injury.

Referral fees have never been a significant part of my practice.  One time I received a referral fee of about $100 plus HST.  I have attempted to pay a small referral fee on about 5 or 6 occasions.  Of those referral fee attempts, about half of the lawyers called me to say thank you but they’d ripped up the cheque as they weren’t interested in the referral fee.  There is something admirable about that.

I know a few lawyers who have never paid nor received a referral fee.  There is something admirable about that as well and I wish I could say the same.

I have nothing against referral fees in principle.  Client development is tough work that requires a significant investment of time and money.  A referral fee may be fair compensation for a lawyer who invests in client development and refers cases.

I also have nothing against marketing legal services.  While there is something admirable about the lawyer who never markets and simply develops a practice through word of mouth, that model doesn’t work for everyone and it’s a competitive marketplace out there with arguably too many lawyers for the available legal work.

It seems the Law Society is poised to create more rules for referral fees and marketing.  The cost of developing and enforcing more rules will likely be at considerable expense.

Whatever rules the Law Society comes up with, I’ll continue building a client law firm network without referral fees.

Mick Hassell, Trial Counsel for Law Firms

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