Get Unlimited Referrals from Lawyers
by Dr. Mark Studin DC, FASBE, DAAPM, DAAMLP
An orthopedic surgeon in a suburb of New York City gets 50+ referrals from lawyers a month. A neurosurgeon in southern Florida gets 40+ referrals from lawyers every month. A physical medicine specialist in Kentucky gets 50+ referrals from lawyers every month. Why can’t you?
You can. A chiropractor in New York averages 63 referrals from lawyers monthly, one in Florida gets 40+ every month and a doctor in upstate New York gets 30+ every month, working only 2½ days per week and has only been in practice for 8 years.
I have heard every excuse imaginable from doctors nationally, the top three being: 1) Lawyers will only work with you if you refer them patients. 2) All lawyers in my area are "on the take" and will only send you patients if you find ways to pay them off. 3) Lawyers want you to alter your reports to magnify or fabricate the problems, so they can win their cases. Although there are a fringe few in the legal profession who do this, it is nonsense. Do you really think that the majority of lawyers are willing to lose their license, and go to jail to win a case?
Open your eyes! It’s not about the payoffs, the referrals to them or misrepresenting your patient in your reports; IT’S ABOUT YOU! Do you think the medical specialists or those chiropractors getting a huge number of referrals play "games?" The answer is, "No!"
It is time we, as a profession, wake up and take a hard look at what we do. We send newsletters to lawyers about chiropractic care. We take them out to fancy steak dinners and give them tickets to ballgames. We buy them fancy gifts. Stop wasting your money, because it doesn’t work. There is no newsletter you can send that will make a lawyer want to work with you.
There is only one reason a lawyer will want to work with you; they want to win their case in an honest and ethical fashion and you, as the expert, give them the best chance of prevailing in court or settlement negotiations. I have lectured to over 35,000 lawyers nationally over the last 20 years and, in a poll during those presentations, that was the number one reason lawyers wanted to work with doctors.
In order for this to occur, the doctor must be able to render an accurate diagnosis and prognosis through triaging the patient on the basis of the clinical picture presented. This means the doctor has to be expert in 6 separate areas: 1) neuropathology 2) disc pathology 3) MRI interpretation 4) spine pathology 5) crash dynamics 6) triaging the injured/orthopedics.
Therefore, it’s time we, as individual doctors, realize this, and, if we want to enjoy all of the benefits that a personal injury practice offers, make the commitment to becoming expert in trauma-related care. There are numerous programs offered to members of the profession. There are courses on orthopedics, disc, neurology, crash, MRI and a whole menu of other programs available which are required to make a lawyer want to work with you. Your knowledge alone isn’t enough because the world of the lawyer is not based solely on rhetoric; lawyers live in the world of the printed word and require your credentials to be clearly outlined in a professional curriculum vitae (CV). Your CV must be in an admissible format and have those credentials to let the lawyer utilize you "on paper" in negotiations for settlement or to get evidence admitted in court. Your credentials are the key to success for the lawyer.
As a side note, if you need to see a sample CV to use as a template in creating yours, please go to www.TeachChiros.com
and click on "About Us." There are 3 samples located on the bottom.
Once you have the knowledge and the CV, the next step is to have a narrative that is admissible. I have critiqued 1000s of doctors’ narratives nationally, over the last few years, and doctors still think that an insurance report of the examination is the same document that can be sent to a lawyer. That couldn’t be further from the truth. A lawyer does not need to know the type of care you have rendered. They only want to know what is wrong with your patient. You must go to great lengths to ensure that those reports are in an admissible format and give the lawyers all the tools they need to be able to communicate the truth without ever compromising your integrity of rendering the facts.
The last step, and often the most difficult to many, is how to get the lawyer to know that you are the best clinically, that your CV is impeccable and your narrative is admissible, allowing them to prevail. Surprisingly enough, this is the easiest part. Once you have created an infrastructure within your office of admissibility and have a communications system to transmit information to lawyers without them having to run after you, the lawyers will want to work with you.
In fact, in hundreds of doctors’ offices nationally, lawyers are now running after the doctors. It is quite the paradigm shift. Ask those chiropractors I initially spoke about that are getting 30-63 new lawyer referrals per month. Those doctors have made the commitment of excellence and have taken the steps to let the legal community know they are the best at what they do.
Lawyers do not care about your newsletters, food or gifts. They want to win their cases in an honest and ethical manner and once they know you are the best clinically in caring for the injured, your CV is impeccable and your work is admissible, they will refer. Like the quote in the movie Field of Dreams, "Build it and they will come."