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On-Line Reviews and Website Claims

 Posted on February 24, 2015 in DUI

Allow me to share with you some insight about on-line reviews and website claims in the field of DUI and DMV defense.

Inexperienced attorneys are more tech savvy than veteran lawyers - the latter got their degrees and began practicing law before computers and I-Pads were in existence. Young attorneys learned how to use these things in grade school, and then got training in College on how to utilize these tools for marketing purposes. Because the business of a new lawyer is slow owing to lack of experience, reputation and referrals, they also have the time it takes to get family and friends to write favorable reviews and load their websites with the words and links that boost their organic ranking on search engines.

Let's start with AVVO. When you see an attorney with 40, 80, or 100-plus client reviews on AVVO, understand that the attorney has undoubtedly solicited reviews. I have represented more than 4000 clients in my career, but I do not solicit reviews because I believe it is unseemly to ask clients to talk about confidential matters unless they want to.

YELP can be a source of good information about a customer experience, but it can also be the product of an unscrupulous competitor trying to damage someone's reputation.

Read reviews carefully: Examine similar writing styles and look for clusters in terms of the dates reviews were posted (two or more on the same date, or even in the same week, are suspicious). If you see a negative review on YELP, look at other reviews the same individual has written.

Finally, a word about websites. It is appalling how many misrepresentations and misleading statements are found on DUI attorney websites. The California State Bar recently issued an opinion concerning Professional Responsibility And Conduct relating to websites and internet advertising (Formal Opinion Interim No. 12-0006). I have seen attorneys with less than five years of experience claiming to have 20-plus years of experience. Some law firms claim 40 years of combined experience but fail to tell you that one lawyer has 36 years and the four associates have only a year of experience handling the cases. You can verify experience discipline records at http://members.calbar.ca.gov/fal/MemberSearch/QuickSearch.

A lot of attorneys have a rolling list of victories in Superior Court and at the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) on their website, but without any way for one to verify the claim and no disclaimer as required by the State Bar rules. When you talk to an attorney, look for candor and straight talk.

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