Real lawyer or marketer? Know the difference

Like doctors or accountants, attorneys are licensed professionals. Lawyers have a professional responsibility to look out for the best interests of their clients.

Yet, the law is not the same profession it once was; it is also increasingly a business. There is certainly nothing wrong with a lawyer getting his or her name out there to connect the right clients to the right legal resources. However, some legal service providers are losing focus on their professional roles and instead seeking to generate profits through aggressive marketing.

Legal service hotlines tend to refer out cases

You have no doubt read the catchy slogans, seen the late-night television ads or heard the honey-smooth voice of a radio announcer plying the services of a supposedly prominent injury law firm. The ads seek to quickly catch the attention of accident victims and get them to call an easy-to-remember number. Examples of those utilizing this business model are 1-800-ASKGARY or Call Sam.

But did you know that many of the large scale legal service businesses advertising in this manner serve more as referral mills than professional law firms? For a portion of the eventual fee, these legal marketers farm out cases - potentially profitable, to be sure, but far from a guarantee of quality legal services for the client.

The idea behind high volume and high pressure marketing in the legal field is to get you to call immediately before you have had a chance to research other options, like lawyers who will handle your case personally and skillfully rather then send the work to an unknown practitioner whose reputation you may not have had the chance to carefully review.

Make the smart move and get in touch with a real lawyer, not a marketer

When you have been injured in an accident, or if a family member has been injured, it is a highly stressful situation. It can be understandably tempting to call the first number you hear or remember that purports to offer legal services to accident victims - you just want help shouldering the burdens that have been thrust upon you by an unexpected injury. But, you would be doing yourself a disservice by taking what may be the quickest, but is certainly not the best, route.

Lawyers who do not refer out a majority of cases, who have established a strong reputation for professionalism and who focus more on excellence in the courtroom than marketing are likely to give you a far higher degree of service. You stand to gain more compensation for your injury when you are represented by an experienced legal advocate. Ask yourself, "Do I want a lawyer fighting for me in the courtroom, or a marketer?"

For most potential clients, the answer should be obvious. If you need legal help after an accident, do not just reach out to the first legal services company that sticks a catchy jingle in your head - do your research and get in touch with a law firm that has a longstanding reputation of professionalism and excellence.