Finding the Right Attorney Can Be Challenging
Attorneys, like everyone else, like to get good reviews. Why? Because we, like everyone else, are conditioned to think that good reviews boost business and bad reviews hurt business.
But do people really read reviews? Or do they simply look at the magical “simple average” at the top of the search results, which gives each reviewer’s opinion equal weight?
I would submit that when it comes to searching for an attorney if you are considering reviews (and you should), challenge yourself to read many reviews posted about a law firm or attorney. After all, if you hire a particular attorney, you will spend years with them and want to select the right one.
But here is the thing, not all reviews are created equal. Consider the famous line from a well-known English book reviewer Sydney Smith (1771–1845):
“I never read a book before reviewing it.”
Relying on a book review by a reviewer who has never bothered to read the book being written about could lead to a mistake in either missing a great book with a poor review or getting suckered into buying a terrible book with a stellar review.
But finding the right lawyer is so much more important than finding the right book to read. Hiring the right lawyer can lead to a great result and extreme satisfaction in your decision. Hiring the wrong lawyer can be worse than your worst nightmare.
But as I just said, not all reviews are created equal. Yet, Google counts all reviews equally, and Google gives every review the same weight.
To be honest, receiving negative reviews is frustrating. We rarely, if ever, get one from a client. Our clients give us fair and honest reviews. All positive, if not glowing. And, if one occasionally throws a criticism in, we take it in stride and strive to do better. We strive every day to educate our clients. We produce a large number of videos, podcasts, and books. We could not do any of this without the backing of our clients. All of whom we sincerely appreciate.
But, on occasion couple of non-clients have taken to posting a single-star review or two about us. When we investigate these posts, we find the accounts are fake or anonymous. We see that the same accounts have posted reviews with nearly identical language about other attorneys on or about the same day.
And what’s perplexing about the Google review system is that Google does not vet reviews. If you’ve ever left a review, Google prompts you to add a name to the profile. Google doesn’t check to see if your name is real or if you’ve ever conducted business with whomever you are reviewing. Google just allows you to post nearly anything.
Our non-client reviews have a common theme. They claim to have called us and that we did not take their cases. That’s why I label them non-clients. Keep in mind that we keep detailed records of all calls or contacts from potential clients (including IP addresses and phone numbers). So, we know if a poster is using their real name and whether it would match up with a real person who contacted us.
There is a second common theme: they claim they wanted to sue a doctor and then claim we declined to represent them because of a conflict of interest representing the doctor they wanted to sue.
Here is one: “…these lawyers have the doctors as clients & too bad for the injured parties. …”
Here is another: “you put out a great series of books about helping the injured, but when the injured call you, you can’t take the case due to a conflict of interest. So yes[,] you do represent doctors ….”
What are we to make of these posts? Let’s assume that they are not fake. Let’s assume they are people who want to stay anonymous but did indeed contact us and are mad because we declined to take their case, citing a conflict of interest.
Think of that for a second: 1) they really wanted to hire us, and 2) they really wanted to hire us despite learning that we had a conflict of interest.
These reviews are not hostile, and Google should be counting them as 5-star reviews, and you should equate them to 5-star too. … One reviewer goes so far as to say, “you put out a great series of books.”
We understand that it can be frustrating to learn that an attorney you researched and decided to call and want to hire cannot represent you due to a conflict. But, conflicts of interest can and do arise.
Though we do not represent defendant doctors, conflicts can and do arise. There are ethical guidelines that flat out prohibit an attorney with a conflict of interest from representing an individual.
A “conflict” in suing a doctor can be for numerous reasons, most often because current clients receive treatment from the medical professional that a caller wants us to sue.
When a medical professional (the target of a caller’s ire) serves as an expert to support an existing client’s medical condition, it creates a conflict. Attorneys are not free to ignore a “conflict.” Here is the legal requirement:
Attorney Rule 1.7: [A] lawyer shall not represent a client if the representation involves a concurrent conflict of interest. A concurrent conflict of interest exists if:
(1) the representation of one client will be directly adverse to another client; or
(2) there is a significant risk that the representation of one or more clients will be materially limited by the lawyer’s responsibilities to another client, a former client or a third person or by a personal interest of the lawyer.
This rule is to protect existing and potential clients. Imagine if you hired an attorney who disregarded a conflict and decided to take a case against a material witness who needed to testify on your behalf at trial. As a result, you lose at trial. How would you feel about the attorney who took your case to trial, ignored the conflict, and hid it from you?
The Law Offices of David W. Holub is a personal injury law firm located in Merrillville, Indiana, focused on providing efficient and effective client-centered representation. Our mission is to provide top quality legal representation, which includes an uncompromising pursuit of our client’s legal interests, while being accessible and attentive to our clients during times of personal challenge.
The firm concentrates in personal injury cases of all types, medical malpractice, and wrongful death litigation. We work tirelessly to serve each client aggressively and with empathy, to communicate regularly and clearly, and to obtain prompt and favorable results, while adhering to the highest standards of excellence and integrity. Our team considers it a high honor to be called upon to serve our clients whom we often come to regard as our friends. Call our number (219)736-9700 for assistance today.
*If you would like to learn more about personal injury law, we encourage you to listen to our Personal Injury Primer Podcast where we break down the law into simple terms, provide legal tips, and discuss topics related to personal injury law. And read “Fighting for Truth: A Trial Lawyer’s Insight into What It Takes to Win” an entertaining and enlightening book pulling readers into the courtroom giving them a glimpse of the legal process and what it takes to win at trial.