Lady Justice

Beware of “Awards”

Recently I read an article concerning a warning issued by the Federal Trade Commission about relying upon legal awards found on lawyer’s websites as a basis for hiring the attorney. The reason for the warning? Because many of these “awards” are merely vanity awards or, really, marketing efforts on the part of the firm. When I saw that I had to say something because I see it all the time. I’m not saying that I see other attorney’s websites employing these methods (honestly, I have enough work just keeping up with our website so couldn’t say what any of my competitor’s sites say), I’m saying I regularly get emails from entities congratulating me on becoming one of the top 50 attorneys, or top 100 attorneys in the state, or some other “top” attorney designation, and they always offer a badge that I can put on our website the notifies visitors how important we are.

Most of the Time, It’s a Marketing Ploy

These emails always baffle me. Who would have made such a nomination? Then, when you look a little closer you can see that they want you to buy something (in some instances) or, more recently, I’ve seen some of them offer me their badges and recognition, supposedly for free, though I have never investigated further to find out where the catch is, if there is one.

Years ago I was approached by one of the legitimate publications about an entry in their magazine for top attorneys. It was flattering, but then when you get more closely involved, it becomes clear that while you are being highlighted, you are also engaged in a marketing campaign. That kind of turned me off because it just didn’t feel real.

Nothing Can Replace Meeting with an Attorney

So, just be aware, the hype isn’t always real. I’ve written 2 blogs previously on some of the things to look for in the attorney you hire and you can find that link here and here. In the end I don’t think there is any real replacement for meeting with and seeing how you get along with any potential attorney you hire. Ask them questions, but don’t focus upon how much your case is worth. No one can tell you that. Instead focus upon what the road ahead looks like. Do they try to help you understand the process before you (it’s a stressful and often frustrating journey so you need to be prepared), or are they just wanting you to sign on the signature line?