Choose a Lawyer with Great Caution
Ever since lawyers have been allowed to advertise, finding a good lawyer amidst all of the hype and promises has been difficult. I have written articles entitled “How to Find a Good Personal Injury Lawyer” and “Throw Away Mail from Lawyers” to warn people about television advertising and the mail they receive from lawyers after an accident and how to go about finding a good lawyer.
Don’t misunderstand; many good lawyers, including our law firm, advertise. Attorney Ben Glass wrote an article entitled “The Shocking Truth about Lawyer Advertising” which you can see at http://www.vamedmal.com/lawyer-advertising.cfm.
Some advertising schemes test the boundaries. Two Milwaukee area firms used the name "Hupy" on an internet search engine sponsored site. When unsuspecting web surfers clicked on the name Hupy in one link, they were directed to another law firm's home page. Read more about this deceptiove practice here: http//www.hupy.com/blog/new-scheme-targeting-search-engine-users-exposed.cfm.
I will discuss some of the things I have seen both recently and in the past, though I don’t know if they will have continued into the future up to the time you read this.
First, lawyers who have had little or no experience trying personal injury cases can send you letters after you have been involved in an accident soliciting your business. Before hiring a lawyer, ask how much experience he or she has had trying personal injury cases.
Second, there are lawyers who have had serious legal problems brought agasint them yet remain active in their firms. One lawyer went to federal prison for defrauding hundreds of his personal injury clients and was released several years ago. Despite now having a prison record, he got his license back several years ago after a one year suspension. Another lawyer, at the time of this writing, faces possible license revocation proceedings after a five-and-a-half-year investigation. Regardless of these events, as of May, 2012, his firm is still sending direct mail advertising to unsuspecting accident victims and advertising on television. Before hiring a lawyer, research their past to see if they can truly be as trusted as they claim.
Lawyer advertising is getting so out of hand that lawyers are now selling franchises to use fancy names and teach other lawyers how to target injured riders. This is an example: A lawyer in a western state sells a franchise to a lawyer with an office in a Midwestern state to use a fancy name in yet a third state. The lawyer who sold the franchise, in an interview, said that you don't have to know a Honda from a Harley-Davidson to buy a franchise and lawyers in the Midwestern state are doing quite well and bought a motocycle and got a license for credibility purposes.
One lawyer in Wisconsin sends accident victims a two-page letter explaining all the reason you should hire that lawyer. Buried in the fourth paragrpah on the second page is a statement that indicates if you call the lawyer's phone number you are consenting to have your case also worked on from the begining by another, but unnamed, law firm. Where does it end?
Lastly, one of the worst things I’ve seen are lawyers who demand exclusive advertising rights with rights organizations. Really? A lawyer working with a rights organization and demanding suppression of free speech, of information and of the free enterprise system, itself? If that wasn’t bad enough, one of these lawyers has been known to send clients to a lawyer with a third-rate rating in Martindale Hubbell. Before hiring a lawyer, you may see referral services, even from other states, and then wonder how good the lawyer is that you’ve been referred to.
Be careful out there – both on the road and when hiring a lawyer.