This past week was the 20 year anniversary since I started my Illinois lawyer referral and legal guidance website. In that time I’ve talked to over 500,000 people and hopefully helped most of them.  I’ve also learned a lot about being an attorney, what clients think and about the legal system in general.  A lot has changed since the first call I got on April 2, 2001, but a lot hasn’t.  Here, in no particular order, are some interesting things I’ve learned.

  • Everyone is on the internet.  On multiple occasions I’ve had calls the same day from people in prison, executives at Fortune 500 companies and people over 80. The world has come a long way from when you tried to find a lawyer through the Yellow Pages.
  • Very few people want to bring a frivolous lawsuit. I get a lot of calls from people who have terrible cases, but they don’t know it. They want to tell the facts of what happened and see if there is a case or not.
  • Attorneys in Illinois can be terrible at customer service.  Law schools don’t teach much if at all about how to run a business. I’ve come across some great court room attorneys who don’t do well because they don’t call back people in a timely manner, yell at the clients, lie, etc.
  • People are doing a lot of legal research as they should, but still take the time to ask questions.
  • My philosophy is to be very direct and honest. Most people appreciate that, some do not.
  • The scummy feeling TV ads that some lawyers do work because they get a lot of business.  I usually hear about them from unhappy clients who realized they hired the wrong firm and are hopeful we can point them in the right direction.
  • Some people are comfortable being racist/prejudiced over the phone.  Still shocks me when it happens.
  • One thing that is very clear is that just because someone was a great attorney 20 years ago, does not mean they are now.
  • Sadly I’ve never found a consistently great resource for people who aren’t able to afford a lawyer.
  • That said, I’m still surprised at how many people don’t know that it costs nothing up front to hire an attorney for an injury case.
  • We call as soon as they contact us.  It’s a lesson I learned from day one when I eagerly called the first person who reached out to us.  I’ve learned that this doesn’t happen at very many places because inevitably the person I call is stunned we got in touch so fast.
  • A lot of people will tell you what they think you want to hear. We aren’t looking for perfect stories. We just want the truth.
  • The law is constantly changing. It’s even more important than I thought in the beginning to get a law firm that really has a focus on the type of case you have.
  • While lawyers aren’t as arrogant as doctors, I didn’t expect how cocky some of the “best”attorneys would be.  I don’t think they realize how it hurts their practice.
  • Most people are good.  We can be a divided country and life can be frustrating.  But most people I come across are good even if they’ve screwed up.  It’s really uplifting to me.
  • You never know what a call might be about.

We appreciate the chance to help so many people and hope we are able to do it for a long time. Cheers!