Inthority Tries to Solve Lawyers’ Ethical Dilemma

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Inthority.com launches an application that promises to revolutionize professional to professional client referrals for the betterment of firms, professionals, and clients. The application will track and reward professionals for recommending other professionals to help their clients. By rewarding users for sending referrals to the right people, professionals will be empowered to do so without concern for reciprocity. For managing partners, Inthority will offer exclusive, transaction-confirmed data analytics and visualizations on firm-wide referrals, yielding business insights otherwise unavailable.

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I’m already learning more about my law firm’s referral practices than I would have expected.

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Inthority.com has launched a solution to an ethical dilemma that has plagued lawyers and other professionals. Its founding team explains.

The Problem. The internet, virtual & flex offices, software tools, quasi-professional service disrupters, and agile workforces have re-shaped many traditional professional fields, including law, insurance, financial advisory services, and real estate. Software eats everything. The ramification is that professionals are becoming more and more specialized, as internet search has allowed clients to find them. However, clients’ needs are not as specialized and often spillover into other practice areas. Accordingly, successful professionals have a service niche but must make referrals to other professionals when their clients’ needs do not match their niche.

Inthority Co-Founder Justin Banford states: “Inbound referrals are the life blood of a professional practice.” A professional can boost their inbound referrals two ways: (1) by providing excellent service; and (2) developing a deep referral network of other professionals and existing clients. The former is a given. The latter is aided by providing excellent service, but it can also depend on the number and value of outbound referrals a professional can send out. A professional cannot optimize inbound referrals without optimizing outbound referrals.

The dark secret and persistent ethical dilemma that most professionals face is that, in optimizing outbound referrals, most professionals prefer recommending to their clients other professionals that send business back. Reciprocity is counter to best serving the clients.

The Solution. Prior to Inthority, professionals optimized for reciprocity. However, even reciprocity came with uncertainty and high latency. The receiver may never send a referral back. The solution is to provide a way to for professionals’ to capture value for sending a client referral that does not compromise that individual’s ethical interests in best helping their client. Consequently, to change behavior the sender of a referral should receive: (1) immediate value; and (2) such value should transcend the one to one relationship between sender and receiver. A medium of exchange is required. Cash could be considered, as in “I’ll send you a referral and you pay me a referral fee.” Cash would allow the receiver to recognize immediate value and is exchangeable, and is increasingly supported by more and more ethical boards. However, cash has its own problems; it requires negotiation, payment terms, and can lead to selling out clients.

Inthority has created IOUs to fill this void. An IOU is an exchangeable token that serves as a proxy for a professional’s referral activity. Each individual user has an IOU balance and for every client referral sent, the sender receives some of the receiver’s IOUs. The transaction is zero-sum, and IOUs are not created or destroyed. Further they are not redeemable and, once acquired, can only be offered to other users in exchange for an inbound referral. The amount of IOUs to be exchanged in every transaction is fixed per a propriety algorithm, with the effect being that the more IOUs a user has, the more likely they are to receive a referral.

The end result is that professionals will be free from ethical entanglements and rewarded for recommending the best people to help their clients. Legal referrals will never be viewed the same after receiving a lead within the professional referral network inside of Inthority.

Data Reporting. Unstructured data is the technical term for the spreadsheets and Outlook folders most professionals attempt to use to track referrals. For every referral transaction on Inthority, the system will know: (1) the sender and the sender’s profile information; (2) the receiver and the receiver’s profile information; (3) the type of referral (e.g., referral to lawyer for a bankruptcy case); and (4) the client being referred. The possibilities for understanding a firm’s, or an industry’s, referral practices are near limitless. For managing partners Inthority will provide transaction-confirmed data analytics and visualizations far beyond anything they have now.

“I asked my employees to start using it for external referrals a couple months ago, and I’m already learning more about my law firm’s referral practices than I would have expected. Most importantly, I now have more reliable evidence for the decisions I’m making to grow the firm. The data makes it plain to see.” Managing Partner, Dunlap, Bennet & Ludwig PLLC.

About Inthority
Inthority was co-founded by corporate attorney Justin Banford and Andrew Rakicsany, who has 20 years of enterprise software development and operations-oriented technology management experience through multiple ventures. For more information, visit their website https://www.inthority.com or contact them at info@inthority.com.

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Justin Banford
Inthority
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since: 12/2018
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