Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Avvo - Finding Lawyers the Generation "Y" Way!
It used to be that if you needed an attorney, you would either know one, have one referred to you by your family and friends or one would be appointed for you. Public and professional policy of the day highly disregarded the practice of attorney's soliciting business. It was not until 1977 in the seminole US Supreme Court Case of Bates v. State Bar of Arizona that lawyers were first able to advertise their services so long as the advertisements were true and were not misleading.
Following this case, attorneys first began to publicly advertise their services - think yellow pages. It is often said that a lawyer's skill in the law is inversely proportional to the size of their advertisement. While this may be a truism for some, many attorneys have fallen into the rat race that they must advertise proportionately to their biggest competition. Then along came the Internet.
The Internet, and specifically sites like Avvo and Martindale Hubble have changed the way that consumers search for attorneys. Avvo is a consumer driven site that caters to providing information about attorneys that consumers would like to know. For instance if the attorney has any profession misconduct, what their practice areas are, if they have gained acclaim in their profession by speaking or being recommended by other attorneys, and even permits former clients to rate the attorney.
Unlike Martindale Hubble where an attorney will pay (often a substantial fee) to be listed, Avvo permits each attorney to have a free listing and contribute to the community. My biggest question is not whether Avvo is changing how consumers search for their attorney, but rather how can they possibly improve on model that they have created.
As a younger attorney I do not always have the luxury of relying on my decade of experience to be self-proving of my ability. Avvo puts me in a position to advertise my knowledge to the end consumer 24 hours a day. By participating in the online forums and even to allow me to post a link to this blog, Avvo has given me another tool to reach my future clients and to compete for a market share with attorneys that are less willing to embrace the new technology.
If you have not had an opportunity to visit Avvo, please take the opportunity. If you are a former client, I would appreciate your feedback on my services. Your recommendation is my goal.