Why should my choice of attorney be based soled on advertisements?
If you listen to the radio, watch TV, or have seen billboards for attorneys in Missouri, you have undoubtedly seen or heard the following language at the bottom of the ad in fine print. “The choice of an attorney is an important one and should not be based solely upon advertisements.” Have you ever wondered why that disclaimer is there?
The Missouri bar requires that all attorney advertising contains this language. It is either in the fine print of print or TV ad or it will be quickly read off at the end of a radio ad. I for one am happy that Missouri requires this of lawyers. This prevents unscrupulous attorneys from making a mockery of the profession by marketing themselves with advertising that is below the dignity and reputation of the profession. One does not have to travel far to see states without this requirement and the bad advertising it leads to. It contributes to the public perception that personal injury attorneys are unethical ambulance chasers.
There are many out of state personal injury law firms who use gimmicky advertising to solicit calls. If you choose one of these places, you will more than likely be routed to a call center. You will probably not talk to an actual attorney but an “intake specialist.” They will send a “runner” out to your house to come sign you up.
I won’t name names, but if you are reading this, you probably have seen what I am talking about. I recently read a Google Review of one such firm. The reviewer gave the firm one star and had this to say:
“you call them you wont get (redacted), you'll get an out of state contracted lawyer who will be extremely difficult to get ahold of and they will not get you what the commercials say (nowhere near) even if you have a simple question you might wait Weeks to speak to your lawyer who will tell you one thing (which will change later) or youll get their assistant who will tell you something different. And they take several years to settle a car accident case which could be done in weeks by someone else but you wont want to lose your progress in the case so youll be stuck in the mud! This is why they tell you your choice of a lawyer should not be based solely on advertisements! Hopefully this helps you choose wisely!”
This is a perfect example of why you should never hire an attorney based on gimmicky advertising. You are at high risk of receiving poor customer service and getting ripped off!
If you find yourself in the above situation, do not hesitate to reconsider your representation. While I usually do not advocate this but for the direst of situations, there are times when it is necessary. But when you need to do it, you should do it. You will not lose any status of your case, especially if no lawsuit has been filed. The old attorney has a responsibility to send your file to your new attorney. All files and records will be transferred, and your new attorney can begin work with very minimal time lost (in most cases still in pre-litigation).