April 25, 2017

A BNI Success Story: A Lawyer Who Knows it isn’t About Him

Tom L. McLaughlin knows what it takes to get the most out of a BNI membership.

how to succeed at BNI if you are a lawyer


In any network, or referral system, the best thing you can do, if you want to optimize your own results, is put the results of others first.

A Lawyer Who Knows How to Make Others Look Good

In am not a member of BNI. Every once in a while, I substitute for one of my clients, and attend one of the local BNI chapter events. Over the course of about a year, I have attended around 7 meetings. In that time, I have seen some really good things happen. One of the “things” was to watch attorney Tom L MacLaughlin do his thing.

Tom Takes Action

I noticed that Tom always seems to get a large number of referrals 

from the other folks in the BNI chapter. Then one day, another member stood up and told a story about Tom. From that story, I was able to ascertain that when Tom is meeting with his clients, he listens not only for his own benefit, but also the benefit of his fellow BNI chapter members. Whenever he hears something that suggests that his client has a need, he calls someone from the BNI group on the spot. 

The member who was telling the story is an insurance man. He said, if Tom is speaking to his client, and he hears them reveal a possible need for something the insurance man provides, he picks up the phone and dials in the insurance man right away.

Tom, by taking charge, and taking action is:

  • Showing his client he cares about helping them solve problems unrelated to the law
  • Showing his BNI peers that he cares about helping them grow their business

Because he doesn’t just hand his client a card, or share the insurance man’s contact information, he is able to get something done immediately. Try to imagine how this makes both the client and the insurance man feel.

Tom is Not All About Tom

Just the other day, I attended a session. Tom stood up to give his “commercial”. It is customary for BNI members, at the meetings, to go around the room and give a little taste of who they are. On this day, Tom stood up and said that his practice is a good practice, but not because of who he is. His success, he said, is due to the fact that he has the “best para legal in the country” working for him.

Really? What a powerful statement made by Tom. This is a pretty revealing sign of what it is like to work for Tom, and most likely, to be Tom’s client. If he makes people feel this good as a matter of course, you can bet that the people who work for him committed to the success of Tom’s practice, and are asuredly committed to the success of Tom’s clients.

The message, in my opinion, is that Tom has success in his legal practice, as well as with his work at BNI, because Tom is not egocentric. Tom is a giver, and in return, people give back. He get’s a ton of referrals because on principle, Tom is not all about Tom.


Most people I come across always seem to suggest that they tried BNI, and had no success. I suspect it could be due to a number of reasons, as BNI is not a natural fit for every type of business. However, if you have the right type of business, and you want results from BNI, follow Tom’s lead. Give more than you take, make it about others, and less about yourself, and TAKE ACTION.


Most of your BNI referrals are going to check out your internet presence before giving you a call. 





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