You were hurt at work or in a car crash. You decide to hire an attorney so you call some phone numbers you’ve seen on television or heard on the radio. You talk to someone whom you believe to be an attorney. You make an appointment, and somehow you end up at a law firm you never actually called.
What most likely happened is that the “attorney” you first called was not an actual law firm and possibly the person you spoke with was not an actual attorney. In fact, it was a legal referral service company who is in the business of referring injury cases to law firms. These law firms pay to enroll in their services.
Many of these referral companies have names that sound like actual law firms. Some in fact are law firms but rarely handle the case themselves, instead referring your case to another firm.
Some of the practices used by lawyer referral services to obtain your case are unethical and criminal. On September 7, 2018, 2 Chicago police officers were indicted on criminal charges for receiving kickbacks from the National Attorney Referral Service, a legal referral service based in Bloomingdale, IL. The owner of the referral service was also indicted on conspiracy to commit bribery.
The police officers received thousands of dollars for providing nonpublic information about victims in car crashes to the referral service. The officers would text the victims’ contact information to the owner, who in turn would contact the victim.
I have personally witnessed these companies solicit business from my clients. I have been at my clients’ bedside in the emergency room after they’ve been involved in an accident and their mobile phone and room phone would receive multiple phone calls from so-called law firms.
The selection of a lawyer is very important. You should be able to choose your lawyer and not have your lawyer chosen for you or to be steered towards a firm. When you call a lawyer, make sure you are talking to a lawyer. When you hire the lawyer, make sure it is the law firm you initially wanted to hire. Most importantly, is this lawyer actually going to be working on your case.
At Strom & Associates, the lawyer you meet is the lawyer you get throughout your case. Our law firm does not utilize referral services. Our clients typically come to us by word-of-mouth or by a referral from a former client. This is how we’ve built our practice over 40 years.
Kevin T. Yen