The vast majority of my clients come from referrals from other lawyers. When someone calls, I always ask “How did you hear about me?” They usually reply something along the lines of “Steve Karns told me to call you.” This way, I make sure that Steve remains on my Xmas card list. Some say that they found my website. Others were referred from other past clients. I just like to know in order to show appreciation to those who hold me in decent regard.

Lately, some bizarre things have happened. For instance, I got a call from a nice kid who wanted some military legal issues rectified.

He said, “A lawyer in Paducah, Kentucky said I should call you. He said he refers a lot of cases to you.”

“Paducah? Yeah, sure. What was his name again?” I inquired, searching my mind’s rolodex for acquaintances in Paducah.

“Umm, I can’t remember. I just know he’s a big Paducah attorney.”


“OK, well, no problem. So, you were saying about your punishment for…”

The conversation continued, and everything was fine. I couldn’t help but wonder, though, who from Paducah referred the case. I don’t know anyone in Paducah. To my knowledge, none of my buddies relocated to Paducah. I certainly don’t remember having cases referred repeatedly by somebody there. Sure, I’ve driven through a couple of times, but I don’t even remember stopping. The client forgot the name, so I may never know.

Believe me, I’m not upset, but it would be nice to to say thanks.

Even more bizarre is another source of a few clients. The conversations start similarly. Then, I get to the “How’d you hear about me…” question.

“Oh, I got your info from a 1-800 number referral service.”

“A referral service?” I reply.

“Yeah, they said you do a great job with these types of cases.”

“OK, well, what was the number?” I inquire.

“Oh, darn, ummmm, let’s see, gosh, I thought I had it right here. I think I lost it.”

They never have the number, and, they are not scamming me since several became clients–great clients.

I’ve never signed-up for a referral service. I don’t know anything about a 1-800 number. The extent of my advertising is the creation of my website (which I did myself). What the heck is going on here? How do they know I do a great job? How do they know I do anything? How do they know me?

Or, am I just bad and nationwide?