Burdine & Brown
“Is Your Lawyer a Local Lawyer or An Internet Scam?”
More and more today, we hear of lawyers advertising, especially in the area of personal injury, saying they have vast experience and want your case. What is happening is that they have set up a shell website with listings that direct you to another state. This was reported in the Fulton County Daily Report on July 15, 2019. “In the last five years, (this) tactic has gotten really bad with out-of-state attorneys,” said Attorney Michelle Davis.
It could be as simple as an out-of-town attorney claiming a local address without any active employees present.
Attorney Davis continued:” Ten to twenty years ago, it was more difficult to establish what appeared to be an office. Now you can get a virtual office, you can use Google Voice or something like that to establish a local number. I mean, it is really easy to make yourself look local online”. (Page 6)
As another lawyer in this article said, “the Bar Associations do not know what to do about it…” everyone's looking for that big trucking accident case, so having a wider net can have a really big payoff.” (Conrad Saam-owner of Mockingbird Marketing).
How does that impact the consumer, the potential client? First of all, it may be a long time before you meet your attorney, especially if the attorney is actually practicing law in another state. Is the lawyer even licensed to practice in Georgia? Obtaining genuine and timely legal advice becomes quite problematic.
Face to face meetings with your attorney and their staff will be almost impossible. I certainly cannot understand my client's legal problems (and other issues that impact their legal issues) if I cannot sit down and meet with them from the beginning and throughout their case.
Can the out of state lawyer have genuine knowledge of the medical services that are available which is highly important while managing one's personal injury case? I doubt it.
All in all, it is incumbent upon the client that is using the internet to look carefully at the website of the attorney they are intending to hire. Look at alternative sources to verify your lawyer is local. TV lawyers are bad enough. Out of state TV lawyers and billboard lawyers are the worst. Don't get hooked up with these cowboys.