Attorneys, Blogs and Social Media

On Monday, I wrote about the plaintiffs’ lawyers’ flawed economic model.

Now, an ABA Journal survey tells us that social media does not help clients find lawyers and blogs don’t work either. Okay, our law firm is heading back to the Yellow Pages. No, wait, the ABA Journal says the Yellow Pages are beyond awful now (only 8% would use the Yellow Pages).guyinsuit

So how do you get cases? Apparently, “trusted sources” are the most popular way for consumers to find an attorney. Forty-six percent surveyed would ask a friend, family member or colleague for an attorney referral; 34 percent say they would contact someone they know or whom they have used before.

This strategy works great in picking a good movie or restaurant. It is the worst possible way to pick a lawyer for a serious personal injury case.

Why? Everyone loves to refer out “their guy who is a lawyer.” But how well does the referrer understand who the best attorney for maximizing the value of the case for settlement and at trial? They know someone who got them a great divorce settlement, helped them beat the rap on a DWI, or reduced their attorneys’ fees. But few lawyers are qualified to handle serious and complex accident and malpractice cases much less someone whose sole qualification is someone liked the work the attorney did on some case. You don’t ask a good pediatrician to perform gallbladder surgery. The general public understands that. But our job often viewed as a one-size-fits all. It is not.

How then should victims find the best lawyer for a serious personal injury case? Do some research and find out who are the best personal injury attorneys. Then ask lawyers who you should call if they couldn’t hire themselves. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Then call the person you know or your buddy knows and give him the list and ask him who he would pick.

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  • I know we, as lawyers, are all supposed to say that “word of mouth” and “referrals” are the best ways to find lawyers but to tell the truth some of the worst lawyers that I’ve worked with on my own matters were through referrals from lawyers I trusted.

    I’ve been burned by, and seen my clients burned by, bankruptcy lawyers, appellate lawyers, and criminal defense lawyers who were “highly recommended” by people I respected. In many cases, I was referred to someone, just to have the referring attorney ask me how the person was because they didn’t know!

    It’s sad but it’s true: in many circumstances, a referring lawyer has no idea about the quality of the receiving attorney. In some cases, they’re referring as part of some underlying deal concealed to the client. It can be a dirty business that we’re in…

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