You may think lawyer directories are the obvious place to go when you’re in the process of finding a lawyer after a car accident, but that’s just not true. Before you start searching through pages of names, you should learn a few dirty little secrets about these directories.
Most Lawyer Directories List Any Lawyer for a Price
These directories know that people looking for a lawyer are looking for quick access to an attorney. An accident victim typically wants to just plug in a city and “injury attorney” into a directory website and get a list of the closest lawyers in their area.
These people are doing themselves a great disservice, because most directories aren’t made up of the best lawyers in the area. A lot of the directories out there are paid-inclusion directories, ones where all an attorney has to do to get listed is pay the directory a fee. The more he or she pays, the better the listing is in terms of content displayed and placement on the list.
Some lists even create very basic profiles for a law firm, then contact the attorneys to tell them they’re listed and could improve their listing by paying to unlock or enhance their profile. It’s a scam for us as attorneys, but an even bigger scam for you as a client.
What a Lawyer Directory Listing Really Means
In most, but not all, cases if a lawyer is listed on a lawyer directory all it means is they had a few hundred (sometimes thousand) dollars to spend on this form of “advertising.” You heard me right. Most lawyer directories are advertising in disguise.
Look at the criteria for inclusion on most directories and you’ll find that the only ‘credentials’ one needs is proof they are licensed to practice law and a valid credit card.
This isn’t to say that all lawyers listed on these Internet directories are poor attorneys, nor is it saying that they all paid to be there. I’m probably listed on several of these with a basic profile. I get contacted all the time to enhance my listing or become a featured attorney on such-and-such directory and I decline them all.
There ARE Good Lawyer Directories Out There
I am proud to say I am listed on certain directories.
I didn’t pay to be listed on the website for the National Board of Legal Specialty Certification, nor did I pay for my inclusion on the Best Lawyers in America publication, these are listings that have to be earned through:
- good conduct;
- case settlements;
- peer opinion;
- trial history.
I also suggest searching on noted legal reference sites such as AVVO, where attorneys are peer-evaluated for their rating and able to showcase their credentials (the ones that matter). A good attorney with an AVVO listing will not only have a high rating but also list information about his or her published works, listings of speaking engagements, and articles authored in a particular area of law.
If you check out my AVVO profile you’ll see these signs and if you’re finding a lawyer after a car accident you’ll want to be looking for a similarly robust profile. This shows that the lawyer is invested in more than just making a quick buck settling your claim for whatever the insurance company offers.
Finding a Lawyer after a Car Accident Means Going beyond Lawyer Directories
To find the best lawyer for your case in Virginia, rely on more than just directories. While these listings can give you an idea of who’s in your area, it will take more research and review before you find the right attorney for your case.
I want to help accident victims who are in the process of finding a lawyer after a car accident or other incident resulting in injury and damages learn what to avoid when it comes to law firm advertising. Order your free copy of my book, The Truth About Lawyer Advertising, and get all the information you need to make an informed decision to hire a personal injury attorney beyond simply browsing lawyer directories. If you’d like to consult with me, call my office at 703-584-7277.