Around 50 law firms in the north-west have signed up to a new scheme from Manchester practice JMW aimed at lawyer-to-lawyer referrals.
Lawshare offers firms in the network a 7-10% profit share for every case referred to JMW, with a further upfront referral fee of £400 on acceptance of each personal injury case and £250 on acceptance of each clinical negligence case.
The client remains with the referring firm – JMW contracts not to act for that client again without permission – and repeat work qualifies for the same profit share. JMW charges referred clients the same it does its own clients.
Stuart Cartwright, the partner heading up Lawshare, said JMW has already started to see results, with 40 new cases taken on. “It was very clear straight away that the scheme works,” he said.
He added: “It’s time for law firms to co-operate with each other and form allegiances. You need to make use of work that comes through the door that you can’t deal with – it’s currency. If you do pass it on, you want to pass it on to someone who will help you as well.”
Mr Cartwright acknowledged that Lawshare is similar to Connect2Law, the network set up by fellow Manchester firm Pannone a decade ago that aims to reach 3,000 member firms by the end of 2011.
JMW’s senior partner, Joy Kingsley, used to hold the same role at Pannone and Mr Cartwright said her knowledge of how Connect2Law works has proven useful in developing Lawshare, which was putting on a stronger footing a scheme the firm ran in the past, JMW Assist. Lawshare is focused on the north-west.
Other benefits to member firms include free CPD training, access to the ‘Lawsave’ cost control system for discounts on items such as office equipment and stationery, and a ‘client satisfaction check’ on every case. Further, JMW pledges to “refer clients to our members when requirements fall within your remit and not ours”.
Mr Cartwright said: “Where I can, I’m trying to make sure it’s not a one-way street. Even if it’s not referral of cases, there are other ways we can help.” He said he had recently assisted one firm recruit fee-earners, saving them agency fees.