There are now more and more "marketing traps" that people would be wise to avoid when choosing a lawyer. Potential clients sometimes believe that a lawyer or firm placed near the top of their internet search results is indicative of the quality of the lawyer’s work, reputation or experience. Sometimes it can be. Many times it is not. Some firms pay for prominent placement in search results or carefully tailor the content of their sites to increase their rankings (look for sites that seem to randomly list all major cities in Massachusetts or that repeatedly use "key words" in a way that makes the content almost worthless).
Potential clients need to pay close attention to claims made on the websites as well. Some firms and lawyers claiming to be leaders or experts in personal injury actually do not litigate cases - some resolve cases to avoid having a jury trial, some have other lawyers in their firm litigate their cases, and some simply act as referral “mills”, directing cases to other firms and collecting referral fees. Lawyers claiming to have represented thousands of clients may have represented the vast majority of those clients in class actions or multi-district litigation, without being the lead attorney or litigating any portion of those cases.
More than a few lawyers claim to be nationally recognized in seemingly legitimate publications or listings that the lawyer has actually paid to be included in. Some national law firms advertise their services in Boston, whether it be through TV ads or ads on buses. Their connections to and knowledge of our court system may be minimal at best. They might not even have an attorney physically located in Boston or Massachusetts.
Perhaps one of the most common ways that some personal injury lawyers and firms try to market themselves is by prominently displaying dollar amounts of results they have achieved for former clients . They provide little information as to when the lawyer achieved that result, which lawyer at the firm achieved it or the circumstances leading to the settlement. If a lawyer settles a case valued at $5,000,000 for $2,000,000 just to avoid a jury trial, is that something that the firm or lawyer should be using to attract potential clients?
In short, these marketing gimmicks can make it difficult for a person to find an actual personal injury attorney with the experience, skills and resources necessary to pursue the case. Any person with a potential personal injury claim would be wise in researching a lawyer’s reputation and experience far beyond the lawyer’s search engine ranking. In addition to word of mouth and positive feedback from former clients, a person searching for a lawyer should ask whether the firm and its lawyers actually litigate cases, the range of cases that the firm’s lawyers handle, whether the attorneys of firm have established precedent-setting law in Massachusetts’ Appellate Courts and what the lawyer’s ratings are on legal sites.
It is also important to research whether a firm's lawyers have received accolades and awards from or are members of industry associations such as Super Lawyers, the American College of Trial Lawyers or the American Board of Trial Advocates, all of which are merit-based organizations that do not require payment to be included. For complicated cases, an injured person also has to determine whether a firm or attorney has the resources and personnel necessary to see the case through to the end.
You and your family deserve the best representation you can find. SUGARMAN is proud of our history and experience in litigating the most complex personal injury cases and we are proud of the many accolades and awards that have been bestowed on us by our peers.