You are looking for an attorney to help solve your legal problem here in New York.
Maybe you were involved in a car accident. Maybe a doctor caused you injury. Maybe someone in your family died because of someone else's negligence and carelessness.
You don't know an attorney.
Nor do you know someone who could recommend a good medical malpractice or personal injury attorney in NY.
You turn your attention to the Internet and begin doing a search for lawyers in New York who handle your specific type of problem.
Before you begin looking at individual lawyer websites, you heard that there were numerous lawyer review sites that apparently review lawyers.
Some of them even given numerical reviews.
In one of the lawyer review sites they have numerical values for each attorney. An attorney with a 10 is the best rating he can achieve on this site. As you go through the New York attorneys, you notice that many of them have perfect 10 scores.
The problem you seem to be having is how do you distinguish all those lawyers who have a perfect 10 score?
They all seem to have experience handling accident cases and medical malpractice cases.
There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason why one lawyer is listed ahead of another on this directory.
You notice that there are always some featured attorneys at the very top of the page and also on the side of the page. You should know that those attorneys pay extra to be placed there. They do that in the hope that you will see them repeatedly on page after page and choose to reach out to them instead of any other lawyer you see in the directory.
You are still frustrated because you find that even the attorneys who have achieved a perfect score, have no way of distinguishing themselves from any other attorney in the directory.
They all basically say the same thing. They all talk about their credentials or how long they have been in practice.
How do you, the consumer, know whether an attorney who has been in practice 22 years is better than an attorney who's been in practice 20 years? How do you know that a lawyer who has been in practice 25 years is not the better attorney for you?
The really ironic thing is that some of these review sites assign numerical reviews to attorneys even though the lawyer has not claimed their particular listing.
I have personally seen excellent trial attorneys have terrible scores on some of these review sites simply because they never bothered to claim them and add content to their listing.
Also, there are some lawyer review sites where attorneys leave endorsements or testimonials of other lawyers. You need to look carefully at those endorsements or testimonials to see whether they are simply generic or whether the attorney has truly worked with a lawyer before and is getting a detailed testimonial.
If a lawyer has left a testimonial, did he do it because he can truly vouch for the work that the attorney has done, or is it because they're friends and know each other from a seminar or from some online group?
Another thing to look at critically is the attorney's results.
Let's say there are 20 lawyers with perfect review scores and they all have achieved remarkable settlements and verdicts in their career. How do you distinguish one lawyer from another on these attorney directory review sites?
Do any of these attorneys teach you and educate you about how the legal system works in New York for your particular problem?
Do any of these lawyers provide you with educational videos that help you understand how your specific legal problem works?
Do they provide you with free educational books to teach you about how your type of case works?
Do these lawyers on the directory sites provide you with free reports and hundreds of educational articles and blog posts about how these cases work?
Your obligation as an injured victim who is searching for an attorney to help you solve your legal problem is to become an informed consumer. Your goal is to understand how your specific type of case works before you ever pick up the phone to call an attorney and before you ever walk into an attorney's office.
Only then can you have a true understanding of which lawyer is best for you to help you solve your specific injury case.
Is social proof useful?
Absolutely. Social proof can be very useful.
However, again, look critically at the testimonials that you find on these attorney review sites. In all likelihood, you will only find favorable reviews from clients who've experienced a good result. That's always a good thing to find when looking for an attorney. But you should also look to see what's missing.
What has been left out?
Are there any unhappy clients who have taken the time to leave a scathing review of the attorney and the experience they had?
When reaching out to talk to an attorney, after you have done your due diligence and learn how your type of case works, you might ask the attorney whether any of his former clients have been dissatisfied or unhappy with their experience. The answer could be revealing.
Remember, even if an injured victim is unhappy with his experience or unhappy with his ultimate outcome, some of these people may choose not to post a negative review of an attorney online.
They might fear retribution or a lawsuit for libel or slander.
Free speech is a great thing, but we have heard awful things in the news involving consumers who were dissatisfied with a product and posted a negative online review. Lo and behold, the company turns around and sues them for defamation and actually wins because it was in their terms of service not to post a negative online review.
The bottom line is that when you are searching for an attorney and are relying on attorney review sites to help you decide which lawyer is right for you, you must look critically and ask these questions to determine if this is how you want to choose your attorney.
It might be a good starting point, but it clearly should not be the end point by which you make your ultimate decision.
You definitely want to take a look at the attorney's website and see what type of videos they have on YouTube. All of this information will help you formulate a plan of action and give you ideas about what you need to do next as you decide whether to go forward with a possible lawsuit.
To learn what question to ask when deciding which attorney is right for you, I invite you watch the video below...