Legal Guide

Should Attorneys Buy Leads?

Are attorneys allowed to purchase leads? Many attorneys use the case referral business model. This occurs when another law firm cannot handle a case for one reason or another. They don't want to try to negotiate with the insurance company or try the case in court. They may also lack the resources to handle a particular case. In these situations, the law firm may just refer the case to another law firm. There is no formal fee for this referral, but usually, the referring law firm will take about 1/3 of the case settlement.

Legal lead generation is a whole different ball of wax than the business referral model. There are some key differences between a lead and a referral.  The American Bar Association has rules and regulations when it comes to attorneys purchasing leads. It's also important to note that the American Bar Association differs on these rules and regulations in every state.  There are some grey areas and different interpretations of the rules and regulations. Therefore, it is wise for attorneys to know the specific rules and regulations in the state that they practice in. Attorneys must be in compliance with their own state rules and regulations.

Let's take a look at what the American Bar Association rule 7.2 states about leads.

"Paying Others To Recommend A Lawyer [5] A lawyer may pay others for generating client leads, such as Internet-based client leads, as long as the lead generator does not recommend the lawyer, any payment to the lead generator is consistent with Rules 1.5(e) (division of fees) and 5.4 (professional independence of the lawyer), and the lead generator’s communications are consistent with Rule 7.1 (communications concerning a lawyer’s services).”

Along with this, the American Bar Association also explains how to comply with these rules:

“To comply with Rule 7.1, a lawyer must not pay a lead generator that states, implies, or creates a reasonable impression that it is recommending the lawyer, is making the referral without payment from the lawyer, or has analyzed a person’s legal problems when determining which lawyer should receive the referral."

In simple terms, this means that as long as a 3rd party lead generation company does not make any claims about the law firm's expertise to the person who is requesting information, it is okay for an attorney to purchase these types of leads.  And as long as there is no legal assessment of the person’s case of the person filling out the form, it is ethical for attorneys to purchase these types of leads. With a lead, nobody has ever heard about the person's case or legal situation. With a referral, the law firm's staff has likely spoken to the person about their legal situation. A lead is basically just an inquiry.

Attorneys can also buy live lead transfers per call.  This is different from a form filled out on the Internet. The agent taking the call can ask questions about the person's case in order to qualify that lead. However, they cannot get that person to sign any form.

Without a doubt, an attorney should definitely purchase leads. It is a great way to find potential clients and grow business. Attorneys then get the information directly sent to them regarding people who have a specific interest in hiring an attorney. With leads, the law firm does not have to do any marketing or any of the legwork in reference to getting new clients. A lead may wind up costing approximately $100 apiece. From there, it's up to the law firm to reach out to the lead to see if they are good fit for each other.

If you need help evaluating a lead-buying service for your firm, consider doing this.  Contact a legal marketing company. Make sure to have these questions prepared. Specifically come up you will want to know how they are targeting your main ordinance. Most law firms have a niche. You will want to make sure that the marketing company has strategies to target your particular law firm's news. Inquire about what those strategies are.  In addition, you'll want to know if they are using social media to attract leads. Millions of people are on sites like Facebook and Instagram today. These are great platforms to attract potential leads. You can also ask a law marketing company for references from previous clients. This way, you can inquire and find out if the leads were valuable.

If a law firm is not purchasing leads today, they are definitely losing out on business. Those law firms can be sure that their competition is definitely buying leads. Purchasing leads is an impactful way to increase the bottom line for any law firm.  If you're a law firm seeking to ramp up business, definitely consider partnering up with a legal marketing firm today. With a good legal marketing company, a law firm can thrive.  Give one a call today.


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