As more and more lawyers choose to advertise their services on television, social media, and other forms of media, one of the most common advertisements potential clients notice is what’s known as a lawyer referral service. A growing trend within the legal industry, they often contain an easy-to-remember phone number, such as 411-PAIN, which when dialed will connect the caller to an attorney who can answer questions pertaining to the type of case they have, such as auto accidents or other personal injury cases. However, because some of these ads state clients could receive thousands of dollars by using specific attorneys, the claims are sometimes questioned. Therefore, many industry experts are delving into the topic of do lawyer referral services work for their clients.
How Fast Should You Act?
According to industry experts who have analyzed these services, one of the key aspects to making them effective with clients is convincing those involved in auto accidents or other related situations to make the call as quickly as possible. For clients who do call, the hope is that the referral service has done extensive research on the attorneys with whom they are affiliated, and can thus provide clients with highly-skilled and experienced attorneys. But while this may happen sometimes, most industry experts state that at best it may be a 50/50 split.
When it comes to how attorneys become affiliated with various referral networks, it can be an interesting process. Ideally, the referral service will do extensive research on various lawyers, then offer those who are judged to be excellent in their field a chance to join their network. However, in reality, most lawyers affiliated with referral services simply pay a monthly fee to receive case referrals, making the referral service itself the middleman between client and lawyer. According to most legal industry experts, these for-profit services may serve a useful purpose for some clients, but basically accomplish little more than a person could do on their own by conducting an online search of lawyers whose expertise pertains to their situation.
Little if Any Experience
While a client may be matched with an attorney who does possess the knowledge and experience needed to properly handle their case, others may have the opposite experience. Since all calls to the referral service go to a call center, the person answering the call is simply acting as an operator. As a result, they likely have little if any experience knowing how to match a client with the best possible attorney. Therefore, the operator in all likelihood has no specialized legal knowledge, yet is in effect making the decision as to which lawyer will be in charge of a case that is sure to have tremendous financial and legal implications on the client and their family.
Conflict of Interest
As stated earlier, clients who call these services may be fortunate enough to be matched up with an attorney who can assist them with their case. But in many situations, those who have examined these services tend to find a conflict of interest. This occurs when lawyers who are part of a legal referral network refer clients to doctors who are part of a network with ties to the legal network, which can present the possibility a client will not receive the best treatment. Therefore, when asking do lawyer referral services work, the overall answer by most legal experts is no.
Do Lawyer Referral Services Work? Decide for Yourself
Ultimately, you must decide for yourself if a lawyer referral service will give you the legal expertise you need for your case. Just like any other business decision, buyer beware.
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