As reported by The Florida Bar News, the Supreme Court of Florida passed a series of Bar-proposed amendments to lawyer referral service rules. Most notably, the Florida Supreme Court ordered the Bar to submit a rule within 90 days that prohibits a lawyer from accepting clients from any entity that in addition to legal services also refers callers to any nonlegal professional work stemming from the same incident. This means that lawyers will no longer be taking referrals from companies such a “411-Pain” and “Ask Gary” because both of those referral services handle medical and legal professionals. This welcome change in legislation is aimed at regulating the often sketchy practices undertaken by lawyer referral services in recent history.
Problems with Lawyer Referral Services
- Customers are referred not referred to attorneys based on the specifics of their case of the merit of the attorney. Instead, attorneys pay a fee to be sent cases by lawyer referral services. Most of the people answering phones at lawyer referral services such as 411 Pain or Ask-Gary are not legal or medical professionals. Therefore, it is unlikely a lawyer referral service in Florida will be able to connect someone with the best attorney for their case. It is ill-advised to put such an impactful decision for the client, their family and their friends into the hands of amateurs at a pay-for-play referral service. Rather, it is important the client talks to established attorneys who have experience with cases like theirs. Consequently, the client may be paired with an attorney who can refer them to the appropriate medical professionals and receive adequate compensation for the client’s claim.
- Additionally, lawyer referral services are not fully regulated by the Florida Bar Association. This means that the lawyers referred by these services are regulated by the Florida Bar, however their advertisements are not. Often times, lawyer referral services utilize outlandish advertisements that make exaggerated claims that a lawyer would not typically be allowed to use in his or her commercial. Furthermore, previous commercials for 411-PAIN have featured police officers portrayed by actors. These commercials failed to state that the officers were being played by actors and made it appear that police officers were directing viewers to call 411-PAIN.
A Controversial Practice
- Issues have been raised against the fact that referral services such as ASK-GARY and 411- PAIN refer callers to both attorneys and medical professionals. These issues stem from the numerous allegations of fee-sharing agreements in which referral services and the attorneys partnered with them conspire to drive up medical costs, ultimately benefitting the doctors and lawyers more than the client.
Most importantly, the new regulations have been set in place to benefit clients. “Onestop shopping” may be convenient when looking for groceries, however it is not the best way to go about finding the best attorneys and medical professionals for your specific case. These new regulations will allow clients to find specialized, experienced attorneys they are comfortable with, opposed to being stuck with whoever your referral service has struck a deal with. Therefore, rather than leaving your claim in the hands of a lawyer referral service that may not have your best interests in mind, call experienced attorney Frank Eidson, P.A. at 407-315-2695 for a free case review. Additionally, you may email Frank personally at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his office at 327 N. Orange Ave, Orlando, FL, 32801.