So, today’s Raleigh DWI Blog is going to have less to do with the practice of defending someone facing a Raleigh Speeding Ticket or any other North Carolina Criminal Charge and more to do with the actual practice of running a criminal defense law firm (though really, this semi-rant can apply to any legal field and likely any other professional field).
As I have launched the Matheson Law Office, Pllc, I have grown my practice in many different ways since first preparing to launch the business 2 years ago. One of the things that I and my staff focus on, as do anyone else running a small business is marketing. Marketing is where it is at when it comes to getting a business off the ground. Without a client base, all other preparations will fall apart.
And, just like the time I spend marketing to my client base, I receive calls and emails from those marketing their services to me. In most instances, those that reach out to me are trying to sell me on a marketing product of theirs that is suppose to grow my business. They promise more contacts from those seeking Raleigh DUI Lawyers or to refer those individuals to my practice when contacted by them. I am certainly happy to entertain the speech on what their products are. If I feel they are selling something that is worthwhile to my practice, then I’ll invest in it, if not, then I politely decline. What has become apparent to me is the level of deceit that is utilized by many of these operations.
The most common one I get is when a company calls me telling me they work for so-and-so attorney in some other State and has some potential clients facing Raleigh DUI Charges and seeing that I am a Raleigh DWI Attorney, they want to refer me the work. Automatically, I know to inquire exactly who it is they work for, the specific name of the company. In every instance so far, they eventually (some take longer then others) admit that they work with a private company selling the referrals and only mentioned the so-and-so attorney as one of their clients. In reality, these companies have secured a valuable domain name (i.e. a web address that someone may type in when looking for representation in my area) and have established a website specific for referring clients nationally to attorneys in their areas. My frustration with this is with the misrepresentation that the referral is coming from another attorney. You see, it is common practice for attorneys to refer cases to other attorneys if the case is not in their geographical area or not in their practice area. So, there could be an attorney in Florida who found me on the web and wants to refer me a client of theirs who got Raleigh Misdemeanor Drug Charges. So, for those who don’t inquire, they may actually sign up for this program thinking they are legitimate attorney referrals.
Recently, I dealt with a twist on this concept that I found frustrating. I was contacted by a gentleman who claimed he worked for Apple and they were developing Apps to be used on the Iphone and Ipad for DWI and DUI charges. He wanted to set up an interview with one of their sales people to see if I ‘qualified’ to serve as an attorney the App referred to. I specifically asked this guy the name of the company he worked for and he said “Apple.” I asked, as in Apple Computers and he said yes. So, extremely weary of this, I set an appointment for them to contact me today. Aside from the fact the call came over an hour late, I decided to take the call. During his speech, I picked up phrases like “work with Apple,” “approved by Apple,” etc. So, I asked him specifically what is his company’s name, and he told me something like ‘The App Store Development.’ I asked what his affiliation was with Apple, and he told me they were a subsidiary of Apple. So, I asked him to elaborate on that. He went on to explain that there was an Apple Office down the street from them and that Apple gives them a heads up with new developments and how they were specially licensed by Apple to develop these Apps in certain areas. I asked how they were different from individual developers who make Apps and he told me that they had a ‘premium license’ with Apple and explained all that it means. So, I asked him whether his only affiliation with Apple was that his company carried a premium license for App Development, and he said that was correct.
Needless to say, I told him that I found the sales tactics deceptive and misleading. I’m certain if someone wanted to go through the trouble of following through with it, there is a Deceptive Trade Practices Act violation in there somewhere, but honestly, not like much would come from it.
Now, in reality, there is an allowable amount of ‘puffery’ when it comes to marketing. Certainly a turn-of-phrase or focus on the good and not the bad is all part of successful marketing. But that differs from an outright misrepresentation of the truth.
For any attorneys out there that may read the Raleigh DWI Attorney blog, be very weary of these types of calls. Honestly, I find it humorous that one of the markets they focus on is an industry built on individuals who are inherently weary, untrusting and inquisitive. Unfortunately, this being the modern age, I’m certain there are members of the Bar who are older and not as familiar with the practice of internet marketing who may get taken for a ride.