Don’t Get Ripped Off by Being Another Yelper!
Hiring an attorney is stressful, and confusing. This is especially true when your entire world is coming to an end because you are contemplating a divorce. It is hard enough to deal with the fighting at home and how you are going to survive post-divorce. Trying to find the right person to help you through the process is confusing. The first thing most people do is ask a friend or relative for help. Then the doubt sinks in and you begin searching the internet for answers. The easy way out is to call the attorney with the best reviews. This may not help you find the best fit or the best attorney. Many times, reviews are phony or are based upon criteria that does not apply to you. Here are things you should consider when researching for an attorney online:
Most people go to the most obvious search engines such as Google, Yelp, Facebook, etc. They make their decision based on what they find there. Don’t be that person! These websites are controlled by lay people. People who do not know the law and are not qualified to rate attorneys provide feedback based upon how polite the attorney is, how much of a discount they give, and what their reception room looks like. Sometimes, lawyers are even rated on how rude or polite their receptionists are! These reviews do not help you determine whether you will achieve the best outcome in your case. You hire an attorney to get you results- not to be polite to you or because they have a well-decorated office.
If you are a person who researches online, there are professional websites that provide information based upon the attorney’s qualifications and experience. These ratings are maintained by professional organizations that are qualified to rate your potential attorney. They include such places as AVVO, Martindale-Hubbell, and Lawyers.com. Hiring an attorney is not like hiring a handyman or finding the restaurant with the best pictures.
Hiring an attorney is about vetting the attorney/firm to make sure they are the best fit. You want to hire the most knowledgeable attorney that you feel comfortable with. These search engines allow attorneys to provide free legal advice. Yeah, I said FREE. Attorneys get to post content and answer a lot of questions for FREE. Although the information is limited, it is better than nothing. It is a good start. This is a good way to vet the attorney. More importantly, these sites allow you to vet the attorney’s knowledge of the area of law and their contribution to the legal community. Lastly, you get to read valuable feedback and reviews of the attorneys and their performance in the legal community.
Take a look at the comparison between Yelp and Professional Websites
- Yelp is currently involved in lawsuits concerning their review practices https://www.yelp.com/topic/new-york-more-businesses-join-in-yelp-class-action-lawsuit
- Yelp’s main ratings consist of restaurants.
- Yelp inflates the ratings of businesses that pay for their advertising.
- Yelp black-lists businesses who do not pay for advertising
- Positive reviews are suppressed for business owners who do not advertise with Yelp, in the “reviews that are
not currently recommended,” section.
- Yelp takes down disputed reviews of paid customers, and leaves them up for businesses that do not advertise
PROFESSIONAL WEBSITES (AVVO, LAWYERS.COM, MARTINDALE-HUBBELL):
- Well-respected legal platforms designed specifically for attorneys
- Allow attorneys to post free legal advice to your benefit
- Vets their reviewers prior to posting their reviews
- Does not force attorneys to advertise with them in exchange for reviews
- Attorney profiles are free without any commitment
- Attorneys are screened for experience and knowledge
If you find yourself in the unfortunate position of needing an attorney, don’t make the decision as though you are finding a new fast food restaurant. This is a recipe for allowing yourself to get ripped off! If you want an outside opinion, use a reputable attorney rating site.