Decades ago, when I was just a baby NY personal injury lawyer, most of my personal injury clients came from lawyer referrals. Those other lawyers knew that my firm concentrated in the field of personal injury law. Those lawyers had discovered from past referrals to us that we got top results even with difficult cases. Those lawyers in turn would tell other lawyers about us, and our referral base grew and grew in Syracuse, the Central New York area, and across the entire Upstate New York region.
Even back in those days, however, there were always some “cold calls” – people who found us not by referral from other lawyers, but directly, the old-fashioned way, by something called “the yellow pages”. (If you are younger than 30, ask mom and dad). But by and large it was our trusting network of referring lawyers who fed our personal injury pipeline.
Then came lawyer advertising. This followed on the heals of the Supreme Court case Bates v. State Bar of Arizona finding that bar association rules banning or strictly limiting lawyer advertising violated the First Amendment’s guaranty of free speech. The proverbial floodgates opened, and the flood of tacky “INJURED?” billboards and TV ads rushed in.
Victims of personal injuries and their families started calling those billboard or TV lawyers directly. Meanwhile, our referring lawyers had less and less to refer to us since their trusted client base was no longer coming to them for advice when a loved one was injured. They were calling directly to the number on the billboard or on the TV screen.
My firm never liked advertising. We preferred the word-of-mouth way. But to stay in business, we had to “cave in” to the advertising craze, if only somewhat. Our ads have been modest and sparse. We still get half of our personal injury cases from referring attorneys. We are different from the “big advertisers” you see on TV or on the billboards. Almost all their cases come from direct calls from the injured or their family.
Most of our “direct callers” – which now makes up half our case load – find us by doing a google search for “Syracuse personal injury lawyers”. Try that search and you will see that we don’t show up on top. That’s because we don’t pay the big bucks to the internet gods for that privilege. Yes, you have to pay to show up on top.
So why do our clients choose us rather than those “further up” on the page? We know because we ask them. Most of them tell us they deliberately did not choose the first lawyer who popped up on a google search. Our clients have instead researched all the lawyers who showed up. They have compared our ratings and our results with those of other Syracuse personal injury lawyers and firms listed. Although we did not come up “on top” of the page, we came up “on top” in rankings and reputation.
Yes, most of our clients thoroughly research us before calling us. They choose carefully because they know that choosing the right personal injury lawyer might be the most important decision of their lives.
We choose our clients carefully, too. Most of the calls we get turn into rejections. We choose our clients based on several factors, including: how strong the case seems from a “liability” perspective, the seriousness of the injuries, and equally important, the credibility and likability of the client.
When a client selects us as their personal injury lawyers, we feel flattered and privileged to have gained their trust. If we agree to take their case, we do everything in our power to earn that trust.
Have we earned our clients’ trust over the years? The proof is in the pudding: Just do a quick internet search for “Michaels & Smolak lawyer reviews” and you will find almost 100% consensus from our former clients that we have met or exceeded their expectations.
Yes, a lot has changed over the years in how a client finds us. But what happens once they have has not changed one bit: They get top-notch, caring, and personalized representation. Try getting that from the big advertisers!
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Syracuse NY Personal Injury Lawyers
Michaels & Smolak, P.C.