Sunday, November 20, 2005

Lawyer marketing on the web

I frequently check who else is marketing themselves on the web in my area. I got a kick today out of this one site - I won't give it an actual link (as that might boost their rankings), but it's legalshield -dot- org. It's a prepaid legal service plan.

On their page, they write that their members (i.e. their customers) "receive the best legal council possible."

Their use of the word "council" is questionable. You would hope your lawyer knows how to spell the word correctly - counsel.

Another one that amuses me is ticketkiller -dot- com. Your "guaranteed" ticket beater, they promise step by step instructions on how to beat your speeding ticket.

I just roll on the ground laughing when I read this stuff. I've attended seminars put on by traffic court lawyers who are more experienced than me, and I've never heard one say that they can guarantee anything. In general, good traffic attorneys advise their clients to take the best deal we can get for them, because the odds are against us in a trial. We only recommend trying a case in rare circumstances - such as when the best deal offered means you'll lose your license anyway.

Working in traffic court on a regular basis, I can say for sure there are no guarantees. You think the ticket will be dismissed if the cop doesn't show? That's actually not true in most courts.

So what is their guarantee, anyway? Read their site. They will refund you the $38 you paid them (assuming they actually live up to their guarantee). What about the extra fines? What about the $300 surcharge from DMV? How about the increased insurance premiums? Some guarantee.

The plain and simple truth is that if you are going to Court on a traffic matter, you should hire a lawyer. If not me, hire someone else. We will generally save you more money than you will pay us, and often the savings will be over $1000.

I wince when I see someone plead guilty to a 6-point speeding ticket without a lawyer. That's going to be about $300 in fines, another $300 in a surcharge from DMV, over $1000 in increased insurance rates, and you're now more than halfway to losing your license. And you could have hired a lawyer for $300 who would save you over $1000 after his fee.
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