My Experience Searching For An Attorney

search.jpgMy wife and I moved at the beginning of September to another apartment in the city. We had a few issues with the previous landlord and our security deposit. The situation escalated to the point that I needed to speak with a landlord/tenant attorney.

I have 3 different friends living in Chicago that are attorneys. However, none of them practice in the landlord/tenant field. So naturally, I asked around to see if they could refer anyone who could help with my specific problem. One of my friends gave me the name and number of a lawyer that handled landlord/tenant issues.

What Happened Next

I was happy to have the name and number but I decided that I wanted to check out the referred attorney’s website so I could get a handle on his practice.

I Googled his name and nothing came up. I searched for the name of his firm and a generic lawyers.com profile showed up with a phone number and address, nothing more. I ran a search for his partner and an unclaimed Avvo listing appeared that offered me no additional information.

I figured as long as I was online doing research, I should see who else is out there. I started performing searches for landlord/tenant attorneys in Chicago. I looked for answers to specific questions I had regarding my issue. I came across a couple of informational websites and blogs that discussed the specific issues I was facing. The articles helped me through the process and explained some of the rights I was afforded as a Chicago tenant.

You know what happened after that? I followed up with one of the guys providing me with good information instead of the referral.

The Point

My partner, Gyi Tsakalakis, wrote a post on our company blog titled “A Guy Searches On Google“.

Have you heard this one?

A guy gets into a car accident. He’s injured pretty badly. He has a friend from college who is a lawyer, but she works patent litigation. However, she knows someone from law school that handles motor vehicle accident injury cases. She gives the guy the attorney’s name.

The guy searches for the lawyer on Google. Google returns the following:

  • The lawyer’s website, that has been +1′d by someone the guy knows on Google+.
  • The lawyer’s Google Places listing with several reviews from clients and other lawyers.
  • A .pdf file of the lawyer’s resume.
  • The lawyer’s Avvo profile with reviews, answers, and license history.
  • The lawyer’s LinkedIn profile that contains testimonials and answers the lawyer has provided on LinkedIn’s answers.
  • A YouTube video of the lawyer discussing the anatomy of a car accident case.
  • The lawyer’s Super Lawyer profile.
  • A local Adwords Express Ad containing ratings, address, and phone.
  • An article in which the lawyer is quoted on a local news site.
  • The lawyer’s JD Supra profile containing guides for accident injury victims.

The guy has seen what he needed to see, he calls the lawyer.

Here’s a similar, but different story.

A guy gets into a car accident. He’s injured pretty badly. He has a friend from college who is a lawyer, but she works patent litigation. However, she knows someone from law school that handles motor vehicle accident injury cases. She gives the guy the attorney’s name.

The guy searches for the lawyer on Google. Google returns the following:

  • An unclaimed Avvo profile with very little information.
  • A website that looks like it’s from 1990 with stock images.
  • Some other listings for a guy with a similar name.

The guy has seen what he needed to see, he searches for another lawyer.

Which one of these do you want to be your story?

My experience is living proof of the pitfalls when you don’t take control of your reputation, messaging, and visibility online.

Photo by Danard Vicente (http://www.flickr.com/photos/danardvincente/)