Welcome. We appreciate referrals and recognize how important a referral is to you as the referring attorney. Your clients are your lifeblood. When you refer a case to us, you want to know that your clients are in good hands. We understand that. Therefore, your client’s interests – and your relationship with your client — are the cornerstone of our relationship with you as the referring attorney. Because of this philosophy, we have been privileged to represent many family members of referring attorneys, and their family friends and closely held clients.
Over the years, we have fielded many questions from referring attorneys. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions.
I don’t know if my client has a personal injury or medical malpractice case, or not. Should I screen it before I send it to your firm?
No. You don’t need to screen the case. We do that.
What documents do you need to evaluate the case from me as the referring attorney?
We will review whatever documents you have, but we will secure the necessary medical, investigative and other records necessary to evaluate and prosecute the case from your client.
How does the referral process work?
We follow these five steps on every referral case.
Step 1 — We get a call or an email from an existing or potential referring attorney about a new matter. We immediately return that phone call and speak with the referring attorney to learn about the case. We then set up a joint meeting or phone call with the referring attorney and our firm and the client. If the referring attorney directs us to contact the client directly, we do so on the same day. After the initial joint contact with the client, we will meet with the client, evaluate the case, send confirming letters to you as the referring attorney protecting your referral interest, and then work up the case for a final determination on whether to accept or decline the case.
Step 2 – If we accept the case, then we prepare and have the client and you as the referring attorney execute a retainer agreement acknowledging and incorporating the referral. (See below for the details of confirming and establishing the referral relationship).
Step 3 — We commence representation and start moving the case forward. Depending on the type of case, and the case facts, we may sue it immediately, we may need additional expert workup, or we may want to follow continuing medical treatment until the injured client achieves maximum medical improvement. Either way we move the case quickly on a well-defined case management plan.
Step 4 – We communicate, early and often. (See below where we talk about what you as a referral can expert once the retainer is signed).
Step 5 — The case successfully resolves by settlement or verdict. You as the referring attorney are part of this process, and receive a full and timely breakdown of the settlement distribution with your referral fee. (See below for further details on this)
How do we establish and confirm the referral relationship with you as the referring attorney?
Well we are glad you asked. This is one of the most common and important questions we field. Some years back, we wrote an article for the New York State Bar Association Journal, which set forth the requirements in this area. Click here to read that article. If you don’t have enough time to dive into the weeds, don’t worry. Our retainers have you covered with these requirements. We will not move forward on a case until we have protected our referring attorneys, and our mutual clients, with a fully executed copy of the retainer incorporating the referral.
As a referral attorney, what can I expect once the retainer is signed?
We are your new best friend. We will email you frequent updates, and copy you on everything case related – if that is what you want. This includes the summons and complaint, discovery requests and answers, depositions, expert responses, settlement demands, court orders and decisions, and ongoing communications with our mutual client. Email PDF is a wonderful thing. You will have a front row seat to the case at every stage. Most of our referral attorneys tell us to cut back the information stream after the first few months. Some don’t. It doesn’t matter to us. We see our referring attorneys as partners in securing the best possible outcome for the client. Therefore, in addition to this information stream, unless instructed otherwise, you as the referring attorney will receive status reports every thirty days, which if we are doing our job right, will be superfluous.
What happens when the case resolves by verdict or settlement?
Once a case resolves, we prepare the necessary settlement documents. This includes a settlement statement and breakdown of costs, showing the fees for you as the referring attorney and our firm, the reimbursable litigation costs, lien payments, and the net settlement to the client. We send this to the client and you as the referring attorney for review and execution. Some settlements include government or workers compensation liens, structured settlement agreements or trusts, Medicare Set Asides (MSA’s) or other more complex items. In such cases, we invite you to our discussions with the client on these items. Once the settlement papers are executed, we send them to the defendant’s attorney for payment of the settlement amount within 21 days of tender pursuant to CPLR 5003-a. Once we receive the settlement checks, we place them in our firm escrow account. After the funds clear, we disburse the net settlement fee to the client and deliver your referral fee to you as the referring attorney – with our gratitude and appreciation.
Articles of interest for our referral attorneys (free downloads):