Archive for the ‘Legal Blunders & Scams’ Category

Don’t get ripped off!

I recently came across an interesting web site that I want to share with you. It’s called Ripoff Report .com.

A client called me the other day and wanted me to help her find a new (a good) lawyer.  I was impressed by all the research she had done, including a report she found about her lawyer on the Ripoff Report. Unfortunately for her, the information in the report confirmed her suspicion that she had the wrong lawyer. She wished she had done her research before she hired the lawyer.

I looked at the Ripoff Report web site and found the information in it to be very helpful, although at times it was a little bit cumbersome to navigate. If you find a report on what or who you are looking for, the information could be a life saver.

The Ripoff Report calls itself a worldwide consumer reporting web site which is written by consumers, for consumers, to document complaints about companies and individuals.  If you want to use it specifically to find information about a lawyer,  go to the “Advanced Search” (right below the search box) and limit your search to Los Angeles, or whatever city your lawyer is located in. Hopefully you won’t find the name of your lawyer in the Ripoff Report!

I thought I would bring this web site to your attention because it is a great resource to have to help you avoid the many scams that are out there (not to mention the creepy lawyers!) I bookmarked it. If you have your own personal injury lawyer “nightmare story”, please share it with me so I can help warn everyone else!

Watch out for “lawyer referral service” illusions…

When you look at this picture do you see two silhouette black faces or do you see a white vase?

Illusion

Life is full of illusions. And this is certainly true when it comes to lawyers and Lawyer Referral Services (LRS), some of which aren’t really “lawyer referral services” at all.  So if a service refers you to a lawyer, don’t they have to be a “referral service”? Apparently not, they can really just be an illusion.

The State Bar of California has a special certification for companies that engage in the business of “referring” people to lawyers to make sure that people who need a certain type of lawyer are protected from being referred to the wrong kind of lawyer.  These certified referral services have to comply with all sorts of rules and regulations that have been established by the Supreme Court to protect people who are looking for a lawyer. The point of the certification is to make sure that people who hire lawyers are protected.

There are however many companies that will “find” a lawyer for you (which is apparently different that referring you to a lawyer) and they are not licensed or regulated by the California State Bar.  I was looking recently searching the internet and I came across the company called Lawyers.com. It’s a very BIG company. You have probably seen some of their commercials on television. I have always thought they were a lawyer referral service. They’re NOT!

At the top of their web site it says: “FIND A LAWYER”. But then at the bottom of their web site it says that Lawyers.com is a “source for identifying” lawyers (what does that mean?) …and it says that “Lawyers.com is not a lawyer referral service..”  That doesn’t make sense to me. So they will help people “identify lawyers” but they don’t have enough faith in the lawyers to “refer you to them”?  I asked myself, are they “identifying” both good and bad lawyers for you! Who is going to tell us which are the good lawyers and which are the bad ones!  The whole thing smells if you ask me. Sounds like an illusion.

I checked the California State Bar web site and found out that indeed Lawyers.com is NOT a certified referral service and it does not have to comply with all the rules and regulations that have been established by the California Supreme Court for the protection of people looking for a referral to a lawyer. Sounds like a bad deal to me. Sounds like an illusion to me.

Bottom line. Before you hire a lawyer, do your research and know who you are really dealing with. It’s your best bet for success.