When it started – the practice of lawyers getting the names of prospective clients from the arrest records at the jail – I wondered if "fishing for clients" would last. Would it produce the attorney-client relationship that we had learned about in law school? Would a handful of "advertisements" from Boise lawyers direct mailed to potential criminal defense clients serve to educate the public about their rights when facing criminal charges? Would potential clients react to the mailings and "make that call now" to protect their rights?
It has lasted and some of the lawyers soliciting clients by mail have made money. But are their clients really well served?
One of my clients recently sent me a list of the fifteen lawyers who had sent him their direct mail solicitations. When I looked at the letters they all looked alike. They focused on fear – "act now to preserve your legal rights!" They offered "free consultations" and promised that the lawyer who would meet with the potential client was "aggressive, experienced and affordable."
A couple years ago I wrote about the Five Questions You Need To Ask Any Lawyer Before You Sign The Retainer. If you have been arrested and are thinking of hiring a lawyer, please read the "Five Questions" first, even before you pick up the phone and call one of our direct mail brothers to "protect your rights."
You’re not buying windows.
You’re hiring an advocate.
Breathe deep and take a minute to get the truth before you sign.
And take those 10 to 20 direct mail lawyer solicitations and put them aside until you have processed the "Five Questions."