Is The Traditional Referral Service Model Going Away?

Total Attorneys is the leading company in a new form of law firm marketing that allows consumers to submit a request for legal services in their area. This request is then forwarded as a lead to participating lawyers in a specific and targeted geographic area who have joined our network.

With our growing reputation, many law firms seek us out when they are looking for different ways to grow their practice, such as through a lawyer referral service. Instead, what we provide is performance-based marketing using lead generation.*

Generating leads through our nationwide marketing service is one of the primary resources we have to offer lawyers, but it’s not the only one. We also offer marketing resources and tutorials to help law firms develop better business practices and a more streamlined service model that enables them to spend more time in the actual delivery of legal services.

While we encourage our lawyers to create and establish their own advertising channels, we also serve as a cooperative marketing resource that helps attorneys better leverage the benefits of the online marketplace.

Certified Lawyer Referral Services vs. The New Online Marketplace

Some states allow for the operation of “qualified” or certified lawyer referral services in accordance with that state’s rules and many state bar associations also operate lawyer referral services. Other states largely prohibit referral services altogether, particularly when done so for a profit. Nevertheless, there are several key factors that distinguish Total Attorneys from a lawyer referral service.

Total Attorneys operates a performance-based advertising model that allows attorneys to pay the reasonable costs of advertising based on the number of contacts, or leads, that are actually generated by the advertising. Of course, the marketing fees are never dependent on whether potential clients actually retain the attorney or on the fees charged to the client by the attorney.

By setting pricing based on the true, real-time measure of the effectiveness of the advertising, the number of consumers requesting contact, and by pooling the marketing spend of hundreds of small law firms, Total Attorneys allows small law firms and solo practitioners to compete on the same level as large law firms with big budgets.

Total Attorneys, through this cooperative marketing model, can also reach a larger potential client base and help consumers obtain access to a broader array of unique law firms offering a variety of service types and pricing.

Total Attorneys also does not engage in the screening and matching functions of a referral service and does not screen or “qualify” the participating attorneys. We establish that the lawyers who join our network are licensed to practice law in their state, but as an advertiser, not a referral service, we cannot endorse or recommend any of the participating attorneys and we can make no guarantees as to the quality of the services that will be delivered by individual attorneys.

Total Attorneys also may not evaluate consumers’ legal needs or situations. Its websites and marketing tools are simply a conduit for consumers to quickly and easily find and connect with attorneys in their area to help them with their legal needs.

Referrals by Reputation vs. Lead Generation

Contacts generated via Total Attorneys cooperative advertising versus true “referrals” are different by natures. “Referral” in the context a referral by reputation indicates an actual endorsement or recommendation typically from some type of previous experience and most commonly through word-of-mouth. Maybe it’s from a friend or neighbor who’s received legal services from the lawyer. Maybe it’s from a real estate agent, medical professional, mental health professional, social worker, or fellow lawyer.

These word-of-mouth referrals will continue to be an integral strategy of many successful law practices and that’s why we offer tutorials on how to do this more effectively.

In contrast, what we do is allow attorneys to advertise on a much larger scale platform where prospective clients, who may not otherwise have the opportunity or ability to find attorneys in their area through friends or referrals, can request a consultation with an attorney in their area and provide basic information that we then deliver to available law firms in the prospective client’s geographic area.

By providing the attorney with information the client provided while requesting contact, the attorney may be better able to make a preliminary case assessment and develop potential legal service offers when contacting prospective clients.

In many ways, what we’re doing is establishing a new online marketplace in which law firms can market their services. We are trying to build an online marketplace where prospective clients can more quickly and dependably find legal services in their area. We want both the attorney and the legal client to benefit.

* Total Attorneys is registered as a referral service only in the State of Florida, where attorney group advertising programs are considered lawyer referral services under Rule 4-7.10 of the Florida Rules of Professional Conduct.