Should I trust bad reviews?
When I shop online, I like to read reviews. I’m taking a risk by buying something without having seen, touched, or experienced it in person, and someone who has already bought the same item is in a position to know more than I do about its quality. Of course, certain reviews seem more reliable than others, or more relevant to how much I would like something. Reviews that talk about something being well made or durable or of high-quality material, or alternatively reviews that say something is going to fall apart shortly after being used, especially if pictures are included, tend to persuade me that an item is or is not of good quality. A review that says clothing didn’t fit right, or a person’s kid wasn’t interested in a certain toy, or a purchase didn’t match the rest of the buyer’s home décor, speak more to an individual buyer’s tastes and say nothing about whether I would like the item myself. Reviews that just say “This is trash- don’t buy it!” with no explanation are not very persuasive- for all I know they were written by competitors to try to boost their own sales!
So when it comes to services, especially legal services, how much weight should be given to negative or positive reviews?
The first and most important thing to remember is that everyone’s situation is different. A lot of people think that they might have a lawsuit when, unfortunately, they do not. A lot of areas of law, especially employment law, only allow someone to file a lawsuit for very specific reasons, and not everything that is unfair is illegal. For a law firm that talks to a lot of potential clients, like Gold Star Law, this means telling people every day that even though something unfair happened to them and we really wish we could help, there is just not a legal basis that allows us to file a lawsuit on their behalf. Sometimes, when someone hears that they don’t have a valid lawsuit, they are angry. Does that mean the law firm that told them the bad news represented them and did a terrible job as their lawyers? No. Does it mean it’s the law firm’s fault that the law favors employers over employees? No. Does it mean the law firm is stupid and mean and corrupt and is in cahoots with the employers? Certainly not. It means someone just got bad news, and they want someone to blame. What does this mean for you, a potential caller? Absolutely nothing. No two potential claims are exactly alike, and someone else being told they do not have a case says nothing about whether you have one.
Another type of bad review law firms regularly get is from people with unrealistic expectations. Legal TV shows have to fit an entire case within less than an hour of viewing time, and keep it interesting for viewers too. Real lawsuits take a lot longer, and involve a lot of waiting that would not make for very interesting TV. Some people also get unrealistic expectations about the value of their lawsuit from TV, often from ads where law firms brag about their highest value cases. Yes, many cases are worth over a million dollars- but even more cases are worth substantially less. Instead of trusting a review from someone who is angry that their case did not get them a million dollars, talk to the lawyer- a good lawyer can explain to you what your case is likely worth, and why.
A third type of bad review that you should immediately discredit is one where nothing is written. If someone leaves a one-star review with no explanation, you have no way of knowing if the reviewer ever had anything to do with the law firm! It could be competitors trying to drive business away from that firm and to themselves. It could be a disgruntled former employee. It could be from someone who lost a lawsuit against the law firm. It could be someone who clicked the wrong business completely! Without any explanation as to why a review is bad, it should not be given much weight.
So, what kind of reviews can you trust? You can trust reviews that speak to the actual experience of working with a law firm. Reviews that talk about whether the lawyers seemed knowledgeable, whether they treated clients with respect, and whether the clients felt like they were in good hands give you information that is much more useful. Most of all, you can trust yourself. Gold Star Law has a free, confidential intake process- you can call us and talk to us for free and decide for yourself.