"He did a great job for me. You should hire him. J.S. from Florida"
"The paralegal I dealt with was so nice..."
"He got me so much money! If you have a legal problem, you should call him too!"

Do these 'testimonials' sound familiar?

They should.
It's because so many lawyers use them to market their law firm.
So many attorneys simply accept any comment they get and put it on their website and their marketing materials.

9 things you NEED to know about testimonials plastered all over an attorney's website and videos:

  1. Is this from a REAL person or is it just made up?
  2. Is this from a former client who had a REAL problem?
  3. Is this from an existing client?
  4. How does their story relate to your legal problem?
  5. Where is this person from?
  6. When was this testimonial given?
  7. Do they talk about how much the lawyer got them or simply talk about a good result?
  8. Why don't any lawyers talk about the cases they lost?
  9. How come there are NO testimonials from clients where the outcome was NOT good, but the client still liked the attorney?

First, what exactly is a 'testimonial'?
It's really someone 'testifying' or giving testimony about their experience with their attorney.
It's not just for attorneys.
It's for every product and service you buy today.

When you go online to Amazon and are considering making a purchase, you can read hundreds and thousands of reviews from people who actually bought the same product and read what they thought about the company and the product. Many people make their buying decisions based on what other people have said about a particular product.

It's often helpful to know whether the product was crap or a high quality item that performed as advertised.
Getting good reviews are crucial when a consumer is considering hiring you or buying your product.
But with attorneys, there is no one website that gives honest reviews about particular attorneys and the clients who hired them.

Sure there are review sites out there like Yelp and Google reviews and some clients take advantage of using them.
Some clients use Yelp as their way to post negative reviews of doctors, lawyers and other professionals knowing that people will read them and hopefully make their decisions to use or not use them based on their review.

When a lawyer uses a testimonial to promote his legal ability and experience, he will ONLY use a favorable review.
Makes sense right?
The common thinking is that if you're considering hiring this legal wizard, you obviously only want to go to someone who is experienced and has handled cases just like yours.

It would certainly help you decide whether to hire this lawyer if other clients had great things to say about their experiences with this attorney. The attorney knows this. He's going to post ONLY glowing, positive reviews on his website and in his marketing materials.

That's ok. 
It might even help you decide if this attorney is right for you.
But before making that big decision, you need to look at that testimonial carefully.

WHO is making that testimonial?
Does it list their full name?
Does the attorney list the town and state they live in?

Is there a way for you to reach out to this satisfied client to talk to them about their experience?
In most cases, the attorney does NOT include contact information for you to reach out to this client.
Ask yourself, 'why not'?

Some testimonials include only a first name.
No last name.
No address.
No town.
No state.

How do you know if this is real?
How do you know if this person really was a client?
What information does the lawyer give you about his satisfied client?

I understand that some clients are reluctant to share their name, address or details about their case.
But don't you want to know that information in order to decide if this person giving a testimonial is reliable and trustworthy?

You don't know this person.
You don't know anything about them at all.
Why should you believe anything they say if they don't disclose certain information that gives you a good sense this person is real and truly went through a similar problem.

How in the world can you tell if this is simply an actor who is hired to promote the lawyer in an ad, in an article or on a website?

The problem is that you don't know.
You don't know anything about this person giving the testimonial.
In order to satisfy your natural curiosity and overcome your natural skepticism, you want more details about who is giving this to you.


Let's face it. It's impossible for all these attorneys to ONLY get good results. It just is. That's a fact of practicing law.

One side wins.
The other side loses.
There may be many reasons why an attorney loses a case.

It may be a 'bad' case.
It may be there's no liability.
It may be there's no causation.

It may be that the damages just aren't there.
The attorney may have done the best job he could with the facts that he had, but for some reason, the jury just didn't buy your argument.

There are instances where the client is grateful for the chance to work with this lawyer.
There are instances where the client is happy they had their day in court.
Certainly there are times when the client loses but is still satisfied with the work his lawyer has done.

Why don't you see testimonials from lawyers about this scenario?

I'll tell you why...
It's because lawyers are TERRIFIED to post less than stellar reviews from clients.
Lawyers are AFRAID  to post reviews that don't show good results.

The FEAR is that if a potential new client thinks that he didn't do a good job or got a bad outcome, that means there's a likelihood he'll get the same result for them. He's going to scare off a potential new client.

Think about that logic.
If every attorney ONLY posts positive reviews about the great experience and great result the attorney achieved, then it gives the potential new client the impression that this lawyer ONLY gets great results. The person looking to hire an attorney may get the sense that this lawyer can do no wrong and he can pretty much guarantee that he can get a great result for them too.

That would be impossible.
No lawyer can ever guarantee a result.

I have yet to see a single lawyer post a review or a testimonial saying something like this...

"I went to attorney John because I'd heard great things about him. He had gotten great results for so many other people in my situation. Unfortunately after trial, the jury didn't see it our way. I hated the result but I still loved attorney John. He made me feel good about myself and my case. He helped me understand what I was going through and my legal options. He told me straight out what the likelihood of success was and I believed him every step of the way. I didn't like the result, but I liked the hard work, dedication and perseverance of this lawyer..."

Even though the client didn't get a great result, he still had nice things to say about the attorney.
Why don't you EVER see testimonials like this?
It's because lawyers are TERRIFIED to use something like this in their marketing and advertising.

They don't want to be seen as having lost a case.
They don't want to be seen as getting a bad result.
They're worried that it will SCARE off potential new clients.

If you're considering hiring an attorney to help you with your accident case, your medical malpractice case or wrongful death case, ask to speak to some of the attorney's clients who didn't get the results they were hoping for. See what the attorney says when you ask "Have you ever lost a case before?" "Why did you lose that case?" "Can I speak to the clients in cases that you lost?"

The answers to those questions will tell you a lot about the attorney you're considering hiring.

Before you decide to hire a medical malpractice attorney in New York, ask yourself what type of client you are and watch the quick video below...


Gerry Oginski
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NY Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury Trial Lawyer
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