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Do we have too many lawyers?

Or is it too many legal marketing folks willing to help them?

I saw something come through my RSS reader referencing a YouTube video of an attorney discussing the LA train accident and how their firm will represent the injured on a contingency and front all the costs. An accident claiming the lives of 25 people and injuring, many critically, 135 more.

Piqued my interest as to what a Google search for Los Angeles Train Accident Attorney would give me. Maybe it should be no surprise.

lawyer advertising la train accident

And that does not include the sponsored links running down the side of the page (22 of them that required 2 extra pages by Google just for them). Sponsored links being bought by lawyers or marketing companies not as smart as those gaming Google to get their site to appear at the top of the organic search results.

Some of the attorneys trying to get these cases may not be located anywhere near Los Angeles. They may not be the best lawyers to represent the seriously injured, the killed, and their family members. But gosh, if I can climb over the other lawyers and get to the front of the Google line, then I ought to do it. It’s America ain’t it.

I was a plaintiff’s trial lawyer for 17 years. I was a board member of my state’s trial lawyers association and a sustaining member of what was then known as the Association of Trial Lawyers of America. I represented injury victims and their families and championed the cause of the little guy.

I want the train owner and operator to be held accountable. I want the victims and their family members to be compensated to the full extent of the law. If the defendants won’t settle, I want a jury to hold them accountable.

But I’m scared with how far plaintiffs trial lawyers like this are pushing things.

It’s behavior by plaintiff’s trial lawyers chasing clients like this that results in laws taking away the rights of the people these advertising lawyers say they are trying to help. Laws passed in the name of tort reform. It’s conduct like this that gives lawyers a bad name.

Maybe these lawyers do not care about more tort reform. Maybe these lawyers don’t care how they look to the average Joe on the street. Maybe in the chase for the money, they’ve become blind to how they appear. I don’t know.

Even worse is the fact that some victims and their family members are going to hire one of the lawyers winning the Google game, notwithstanding that the lawyer is not capable of obtaining fair and adequate compensation. Lay people don’t always know what they’re getting into.

I know the good law firms who regularly represent train accident victims and the better plaintiffs’ trial lawyers in Los Angeles need to connect with the victims some how to protect the victims. But there ought to be a better way.

  • http://indianafamilylaw.net/ William Wilson

    Amen, Brother O’Keefe. These things do not help our already dented reputation. The victims/families deserve better, as do the rest of us who practice law.

  • http://www.whataboutclients.com Dan Hull

    We have too many lawyers who became lawyers by “default”. They don’t really like being lawyers. And it shows.

  • Ed.

    Chatsworth-based personal injury attorney Norman Gregory Fernandez, who blogs at the Biker Law Blog, expresses his concern about the train accident and comments about the “bottom dweller” lawyers chasing train accident victims online:
    “As a lifelong resident of Chatsworth California, I would like to send my prayers and condolences to the family members of all the victims of the Chatsworth Metrolink train crash, as well as to all of those were injured in the train accident.
    On a more disturbing note, I have read numerous stories about the Chatsworth Metrolink train accident, on what I will call “bottom dweller” personal injury attorney blogs. Some of these stories were literally posted on the evening of the train accident. On the bottom of these blog entries, these bottom dwellers have the nerve to sign their story with “Chatsworth train accident attorney.” Not one of these attorneys lives or works in Chatsworth California. One of them is from downtown Los Angeles. It appears that the only reason they wrote their story, or plagiarized it from a reputable news source, is to try to get some of the victims of the Chatsworth train accident to sign up with their law firm. Maybe they were hoping that their name would come up in some kind of Internet search, I don’t know. I feel that this kind of behavior is unethical, immoral, and despicable. Heck, if given the chance, some of these attorneys would have probably been illegally passing out business cards at the scene of the train accident.
    If you are a family member of one of the persons who died in the train accident, or were injured in the Chatsworth Metrolink train accident, do not under any circumstances retain one of the bottom dweller attorneys that call themselves Chatsworth train accident attorneys, or would write a story, or “have their marketing company” write a story on the evening of the accident. It is disgraceful.”

  • Scott

    The question is where is the line. We have a good example here, in the third comment from “Ed.” The comments he quotes from other sites make a good point. However, let’s go to that link and read a little more of the post. What do we see just below the quoted text? A solicitation for the train wreck business, at a discount –
    “Because this accident occurred so close to where I live, and in an area where I played as a kid growing up, and where I personally practice law, my law firm will hereby make the following offer to any family member of one of the deceased victims of the Chatsworth Metrolink train accident, or persons injured in the Chatsworth Metrolink train accident: the law offices of Norman Gregory Fernandez and Associates will reduce our contingency fee rate to 25% for all claims that are settled in pre-litigation. This offer only applies to family members and victims of the Chatsworth Metrolink train accident.
    You may call my law firm at 800-816-1529 extension #1 for a free consultation, or go to my personal injury website at thepersonalinjury.comto read more about my firm.
    If you or your family were a victim of the Chatsworth Metrolink train accident, and retain our firm at the reduced rate of 25% contingency fee for all claims that are settled in pre-litigation, we will immediately send our investigator out to you to sign you up to make things more convenient for you.”

  • http://localmn.wordpress.com paul jahn

    Kevin, a couple years ago when I was at a company that you don’t like so much (yes, I’m friends w/ many of them including my ex-boss), a moderate hurricane hit the Florida panhandle,
    I received a few requests from attorneys in the area to somehow optimize pages so they could be found for hurricane-related phrases. It felt pretty dirty. I can’t imagine what I would think if getting an attorney request from this train accident. Ugh.

  • http://www.millerandzois.com Ron Miller

    This is all awful. But it is only a few notches below blogs that only provide information like “There was an accident today on I-98 in my hometown, according to my hometown paper. Three were injured and two were taken to my local hospital.”