Posts Tagged ‘California State Bar’

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.

My Number One Tip On How To Find The Right Personal Injury Lawyer

Don’t be surprised…

When you have to hire a personal injury lawyer it is because something bad has happened. So don’t make a bad situation worse by hiring  the wrong kind of personal injury lawyer (yes there is more than one kind of “personal injury” lawyer, and I don’t mean a good one vs. a bad one). I worked as a personal injury lawyer for 25 years and I thought it would be appropriate to start this blog (and the the first of many legal tips) with the best tip I can give you on how to find the right personal injury lawyer.

Tip No. 1: Use a Certified Lawyer Referral Service.

Let me use an analogy. If you had a broken arm, would you want it to be set by an orthopedic surgeon or by your family doctor? No brainer! The orthopedic surgeon is a specialist in treating broken bones and your chance of making a great recovery is much higher if your ortho fixes it. The same is true with lawyers, and especially personal injury lawyers. If you have an auto accident case, you don’t want a personal injury lawyer who primarily handles elder abuse cases to take it. But guess what? Many personal injury lawyers are hurting for business and if a decent auto accident case comes through their door (not literally) the elder abuse or medical malpractice “personal injury” lawyer is going to take it.  THAT’S BAD FOR YOU. That’s why you want to use a Lawyer Referral Service (LRS) that is certified by the California State Bar.  A good LRS will help you find the right kind of personal injury lawyer for your specific type of personal injury case.

What is a Certified Lawyer Referral Service?

  • They are private companies.
  • They have a special referral certification from the California State Bar.
  • They are required to pre-screen their lawyers.
  • They require their lawyers to have legal malpractice insurance.
  • They must meet standards established by the California Supreme Court.
  • They can refer you to a lawyer specializing in the field of law you need.

Are all Certified Lawyer Referral Services the same?

No. There are approximately 130 Certified Lawyer Referral Services in California. You can find information about them on the web site of the California State Bar.

Let me use my doctor analogy again. If you needed to hire an orthopedic surgeon, you would want one from an orthopedic group that treated all types of orthopedic injuries, like broken arms, hip replacements, back surgery, etc. because the orthopedic group will have many orthopedic doctors with various specialities within the field of orthopedics. You wouldn’t want your ortho from a small hospital with one “jack-of-all-trades” orthopedist.

The same can be said for LRS’s.  You want to find a LRS that specializes in one field of law and has many specialists within that particular field of law.

Bottom line, before you hire a personal injury lawyer, DO YOUR RESEARCH!