What lawyer referral sources really do and why you should avoid them.Using lawyer referral services to find lawyers in Virginia is similar to calling a hotline to find a doctor for your heart surgery. Would you leave this important life decision to whomever you happened to reach on a phone call? Similarly, you need to do more than just pick up a telephone or submit an online request to find the right lawyer for your case

Learn About the Lawyer Referral Services Racket 

You’ve probably seen those bus ads and billboards advertising hotlines like 1-800-DAMAGES or 1-800-LAWYERS. These are hotlines you call where they ask you a few simple questions about your legal needs, and they match you with a lawyer for your case. 

If this sounds too good to be true, it is. The honest truth about most of these lawyer referral services is that they’re not really evaluating your legal needs; they’re playing a matching game. They go through the criteria to narrow down what type of lawyer you need and then once they’ve got a practice area and location, they hand you whoever’s next in line. 

That’s all these hotlines are; lead generators for lawyers. In most cases, the lawyers in Virginia who are promoted by these hotlines pay a membership fee to be included on their lists. As calls for attorneys in their field come in, they move up the queue until they’re given the next case. 

You Need to Put in Some Effort to Find Lawyers in Virginia 

Think about why you are getting an attorney. Something very important has just happened in your life. It may be a good thing – you’re getting married, having a baby, forming a new business. It also may be a bad thing – you were in a car accident, or a doctor’s negligence caused the death of a loved one. 

Whatever your reason, it’s an important legal matter, and it needs to be treated as such from the very first step, which is finding the right lawyer. Don’t cut corners and rely on lawyer referral services when dealing with important decisions like these. 

Can a phone operator from lawyer referral services guarantee you’re getting a lawyer who has handled cases like yours before and will be prepared to take your case to trial? Of course not -- their job is to screen your call and put you in touch with a lawyer who might be able to handle your case – no guarantees! 

When looking for a lawyer in Virginia who can truly help your case, put in the effort yourself. Meet with potential attorneys, research their credentials and case histories, and even talk to their former clients. This will give you a better idea of their qualifications to handle your case than a phone operator who’s routing your call to the next lawyer in line. 

Skip the Lawyer Referral Services and Learn How to Find Lawyers in Virginia on Your Own 

These services may seem like the obvious way to go about finding good lawyers, but honestly, all they’ll do is find you a lawyer. There’s no guarantee he or she will be a GOOD lawyer for your particular case. 

Lawyer advertising has gotten out of control, and with all these directories, TV ads, and agencies telling you to get a lawyer, it can be hard to decide who to hire when the time comes. Do your homework and meet with the attorney before hiring. To set up a consultation about your case with Ben Glass Law, just call (703) 584-7277. And to help Virginia residents make better decisions about their legal representation, I wrote The Truth About Lawyer Advertising and offered it to residents of the state at no cost, so they don’t have to rely on lawyer referral services. 

Ben Glass
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Ben Glass is a nationally recognized Virginia injury, medical malpractice, and long-term disability attorney