Most of the cases that each lawyer attends are products of the referents that make them family members, relatives or other lawyers. Many lawyers attend consultations, decide that they should not take the case and pass it on to other lawyers who understand can take it. However, there is a big difference between referring a case and dismissing a case.
The criteria to refer a case to another lawyer should not be the one that we do not want to attend the client, identify a possible problem when charging or that the case is too complex.
Maintaining good relationships with other lawyers should include, precisely, being considered when referring cases. The rule should be: “Do not refer the case that you would not like to be referred to you”. Here we mention a list of types of cases that lawyers should not mention:
A bad case or a case in which you identified problems
If you are referring to a case because there is an ethical conflict, that is fine. If you are referring to a case, because the lawyer does not “handle such cases”, that may also be fine. However, if the reason they give you the case is that “I have too much work” or “cannot deal with this type of case now”, this should be an alarm that you should not ignore.
A litigator who works alone, who depends precisely on the cases that come to him, would not pass a client who brings a case in his area of expertise, but for a major reason.
The problem of client
The best way to handle this is to learn to identify bad clients. The signs are endless. However, here are just two examples. Firstly, the referred that arrives from another lawyer, who refers to a client who cannot “pay” or “cannot pay much” but that the service he wants is an extremely complex one that requires him to devote hours both inside and outside the office.
The second is perhaps the most common, referred by another lawyer who “cannot work with the client” because it requires a lot of attention, or is too demanding, manipulative or does not follow the given legal advice. The lawyer then refers the case because he understands that other lawyer will be able to handle the client better. As we said earlier, the rule among lawyers for referrals should be: do not refer the client that you would not like to be referred to. Do not give your headache to another lawyer.
When in doubt, say hello
We must appreciate and receive referrals from other lawyers. We must not think that every case that is referred to is a bad one or one that the lawyer does not want to attend. However, if you have a case you want to refer to, and the case or client presents a peculiar picture, the best thing you can do is to be frank with the other lawyer and tell him the reason why you want to refer him or the concern that you have.
Good lawyers help other lawyers by sending good cases and good clients (as much as you can). Before “dumping” one of your clients or consultations think about the implications of this in the long run.