How to Use Yelp Reviews to Avoid Hiring a Bad Attorney
When you need legal assistance, finding the right attorney can be a daunting task. Friends and family may provide recommendations, and there are countless online directories, but how can you be sure you're making the right choice? Yelp has become an invaluable resource for vetting various services, and it can be particularly helpful when looking for an attorney. However, there are a few things to be cautious about. Here's how to navigate Yelp reviews to ensure you're making an informed decision.
Be Skeptical of Positive Reviews
It's easy to get swayed by a high number of 5-star reviews but proceed with caution. Some attorneys employ professional reviewers to leave glowing reviews or ask their family and friends to do so. While these reviews may speak to some aspects of the attorney's service, they might not provide the most accurate picture.
The Importance of Negative Reviews
Negative reviews are often more valuable than positive ones. The reason is simple: unhappy clients usually have little to no motive to leave a negative review other than their genuine dissatisfaction. Although it is possible for someone to wage a libel campaign against a lawyer, these instances are exceedingly rare compared to the prevalence of legitimate complaints.
How to Assess Negative Reviews
When you come across 1 and 2-star reviews, take the time to read them carefully. Ask yourself the following questions:
1. Are the posters complaining about legitimate issues, such as lack of communication, high fees, or unprofessional behavior?
2. Is the review detailed enough to suggest the person has firsthand experience with the attorney?
3. Do multiple reviews share common complaints?
If the answer to these questions is "yes," these are red flags you should consider seriously.
A Word of Caution: Removed Reviews
There is one significant pitfall to be aware of: some attorneys might offer refunds or other incentives to clients in exchange for removing negative reviews. While it's challenging to confirm whether this has happened, a conspicuous absence of negative reviews amid a smattering of overly positive ones could be a warning sign.
While Yelp reviews shouldn't be your only criteria for choosing an attorney, they can be a helpful tool in your decision-making process. Pay close attention to negative reviews, scrutinize them for legitimacy, and be aware that some bad attorneys might try to game the system. If you find multiple 1 and 2-star reviews that raise similar concerns, it might be a good idea to look elsewhere for legal assistance.