I received a call the other day from a former client who was interested in referring me to a co-worker of hers that was involved in a car accident. The details of the accident that were provided made me think the potential existed for a good case. Earlier in my career I used to develop a certain level of excitement when a scenario such as this would occur because of my strong desire to zealously represent injured victims and hold the responsible parties accountable. My feelings have become more restrained because consumers have such a volume of choices
when it comes to finding legal representation and this is compounded by the inordinate amount of legal advertising
. According to Forbes,
in the top 75 U.S. television markets, 2,000 lawyers spend about $200 Million each year. A recent article by Reuters estimates that lawyers spend more than $50 Million per year on Google Keyword Advertising. A quarter of a billion dollars and this is only a fraction of the equation.
Most potential clients that come into my Clearwater office for a consultation leave with me as their attorney once I communicate what my strategy would be in their particular situation. In the scenario described above, the potential client had a number of questions and my former client knew something strange was happening based on her own
experience as my client. Her co-worker was wondering why she didn’t have access to a rental car yet; why she was paying for doctors’ visits out of her own pocket; how was she supposed to make a lost wages claim?
There is no Such Thing as a Second Opinion for Legal Matters
Pursuant to Florida Bar Rules, attorneys are not permitted to give legal advice to a client that has retained counsel so, I was not able to help in this situation. Attorney advertising is heavily regulated by the Florida bar in our state. In many states throughout the country, attorney advertising is often accompanied by a disclaimer, which by definition is intended to limit liability arising from any act or omission. In laymen’s terms, think of the “Beware of Dog” sign on a homeowner’s fence warning a random passerby. If you enter that property you are inheriting a certain risk which you have been made aware of and this may mitigate the liability of the property owner. Listed below are some typical disclaimers that can be found in states that may be written or spoken in Television, Print or Radio advertising. What you may notice is the “Beware of Dog” language used in each instance. Perhaps this is advice that should be considered when choosing a legal advocate:
- Alabama: No representation is made that the quality of the legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers.
- Florida: The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements. Before you decide, ask us to send you free written information about our qualifications and experience.
- Iowa: The determination of the need for legal services and the choice of a lawyer are extremely important decisions and should not be based solely upon advertisements or self-proclaimed expertise. This disclosure is required by rule of the Supreme Court of Iowa.
- Mississippi: The Mississippi Supreme Court advises that a decision on legal services is important and should not be based solely on advertisements.
- Wyoming: The Wyoming State Bar does not certify any lawyer as a specialist or expert. Anyone considering a lawyer should independently investigate the lawyer's credentials and ability, and not rely upon advertisements or self-proclaimed expertise.
My favorite advertising gimmick is one primarily limited to attorney website advertising. It has become rather common to see attorneys brag about recent verdicts and settlements even though prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. There are too many variables in each case to be able to make comparisons in a vacuum. Many factors exist that contribute to case valuation such as, property damage, age of the client, pre-existing Injuries, available lines of insurance coverage (both defendant and plaintiff), medical treatment (both current and future) and numerous other details. I would personally be skeptical of anyone who was willing to provide a value of a case before knowing all of the facts.
Deep down we all know that seeing a product in an advertisement does not guarantee superiority over a competing product. While we can debate whether or not Pepsi is better than Coca-Cola or if Ford is better than Chevrolet, it’s a fool’s argument as there is no way to substantiate which is better
; it’s simply a matter of preference. As it relates to more sophisticated products and services, an unsophisticated consumer may not even know if the product or service was superior. How do you know if you could have saved a few more dollars at the car dealership if you had negotiated differently? How do you know if the mechanic is rushing to judgment when he tells you that you need new tires today? How do you know if your attorney settles your case for maximum value or just takes that insurance company’s alleged best offer?
At Dolman Law Group we will always focus on quality service because my desire has always been for my clients to see me as their attorney for life. Should they ever suffer the misfortune of being a victim again, I want them to think of me as their advocate. Should a friend, family member or colleague suffer the same fate, I want my current and former clients to trust my Firm to jump into action. Many people presume a Firm built through six and seven figure annual marketing budgets has a business model that is conducive to volume instead of focus and quality on each case. When you receive dozens of inquiries per day, you next client is only a phone call away.
Dolman Law Group is a Tampa Bay Area Firm comprising of six licensed Florida attorneys. We represent victims that are unfortunately injured as a result of individual or corporate negligence. The experienced trial attorneys at Dolman Law Group remain accessible to their clients at all times. Each client receives the cell phone number and email address of their lawyer to properly maintain open lines of communication. We always provide a free consultation and case evaluation. Let our reputation and results speak for themselves. You don’t have to rely on advertising to find competent legal representation. Consider the recommendations of our clients on Avvo
(Avvo is the most popular legal Q&A forum and directory) and Google
. But then again, you shouldn’t take my word for it…
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765