Scamworld Happens to Lawyers, Too

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Free: 10 Things the Best Law-Firm Website Designs Have in Common

For seven years, Lawyerist has published an annual list of the best law firm websites. Now, you can find out what they have in common.

The Verge recently did an excellent exposé on the scuzzy world of internet marketing, where snake oil peddlers promise huge profits. All you have to do is hand over your credit card number. Take 15 minutes and watch the video below to see the major players in Scamworld.

Thing is, it’s not just unsophisticated regular folks who get taken for a ride. Lawyers and law firms bite on scams, too. For all our supposed sophistication, lawyers are still susceptible to a good scam.

Don’t make that mistake. When you hear people talking about mastermind sessions or bragging about how many millions they used to make before they started selling “secrets” or promising to give you things “worth thousands of dollars” if you just hand over your contact information, close your browser tab, mark the email spam, or hang up the phone and move on. It’s probably bullshit. People with something valuable to sell don’t need to sugarcoat their products or services.

The only people who get rich quick are scamming someone. Everyone else has to work for it — even Wall Street had to invest a lot of time, effort, and money to rake in enough money to bring down the world economy. It didn’t happen overnight.

If you do decide to take a chance on some too-good-to-be-true offering, you will probably start getting emails trying to upsell or cross-sell you on other scammers’ products. If that happens, you know you are in the clutches of a syndicate. Unsubscribe and hope you aren’t already on a bunch of other scammers’ sales lists.

Remember: If it sounds too good to be true, it is.

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  • Allen Landerman

    about a year ago I received an email from a person claiming to to be the collections manager at Kubota needing help to collect a 3 million breach of contract claim. I was a little surprised because as a sole practitioner, I did not expect to receive any work from such a large company. I became suspicious when I could not track down the Texas company that had supposed breach the contract. I did a little more research into Kubota and, even though some of the names and information were correct, the rest of the information simply did not coincide with reality. Fortunately, I was able to figure out this scam relatively soon and avoided a substantial amount of wasted time.

    • I get two or three of these a day. I just mark them spam and move on.

  • Ballard Law Office

    Thanks for the informative article – sounds a lot like a friend’s experience w/ a MLM plan he entered (and was baffled at my reluctance to get in on the deal) – yes: his $500 has gone and never returned.
    But what about the opportunities for “life-changing videos” and secrets about a permanent income stream for your law office, like the creatively-produced material from Alex#s Mart#n Ne#ly (who I would *not* want to defame if it’s all legit) sending a series of “special offer” emails that include ad-copy like this:
    “We have been receiving so many emails from those of you who have been watching and loving our video series on adding thousands to your bottom line serving people already in your community or client base in a whole new way.
    You are ready for video #3 and want to know HOW you can begin serving these folks who need, want and will thank you for your services before the end of this year.
    Well, Martha and I are spending all day today recording the last of the videos on our 6 module training program so you can get the basic, foundational training you need to serve this highly lucrative, grateful market of people in a whole new way.
    That means that NEXT WEEK on Tuesday we are going to give you the first crack at joining the beta group of our course for more than 50% off the regular investment and get your legal life planning knowledge on before the end of the year, totally virtually and online.
    If you have not already completed the practice evaluation worksheet to determine whether adding legal life planning to your practice would pay off for you, do it now. I have attached the worksheet here for you.
    Complete it and if it shows you know people who need this work, watch your inbox very closely on Tuesday.
    We have limited space in this beta program at more than 50% off and I’d love to see you in one of them.
    See ya Tuesday! ”

    Is ad copy like *that* what you’re talking about?
    All respect – David K. Hiscock 206-789-9551 BallardLawOffice@gmail.com

    • I don’t know enough about Alexis’s business model to know whether she falls into this category or not. Does she sell leads to boiler rooms? I suspect not, but I have no idea. What I do know is that she uses a lot of the same language these scammers do. That means she is either (a) a scammer or (b) making herself sound like a scammer.

      I’m leaning towards option b, which I don’t mean as an endorsement. Whether she’s delivering something valuable is another question entirely.s

  • In 2010 I bought one of Alexi’s program–not the one for estate planning, but one about how to create a client service system. I practice only family law so I couldn’t use the information as she provided it, but I studied it. One of the first things I got rid of was the “free” consultation–free to the client, of course, not to us lawyers-using a process she recommended. That information fromher cost me $1,200 and I have made that over many times over since many of the clients not only pay the initial consultation fee but also end up retaining me.

    This blog is full of posts about how we lawyers don’t know business and/or marketing etc. Yes, the industry of “online marketing” is riddled with scammers, but they are worth studying in terms of principles of marketing. Just because they sell you a product that doesn’t work doesn’t mean you can’t use the information to deliver actual quality legal services. The key is to look at what is out there, study the ethics rules, and come up with a way to communicate with prospective clients in an ethical manner that differentiates you from the other lawyers. My prospective clients don’t get a free consultation, but they get a lot of free information off my website; what they pay for is my ability to apply the law to their situation.

    Those scammers make money because many people are looking for short cuts. If we lawyers think the same way, we too will be scammed (and worse if we get into professional hot water).