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Listing lawyers in directory

Discussion in 'White Hat SEO' started by Freddy4Fingers, Sep 24, 2012.

  1. Freddy4Fingers

    Freddy4Fingers Newbie

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    I'm currently building a directory for lawyers in the US. I want to list lawyers per city, say that I list 5 lawyers per city
    to fill the website with some original content. When the directory starts to rank and gets traffic I want to sell listings to
    lawyers & law firms.

    The plan is to sell listings, not leads. But if it's possible to sell leads I will consider selling them as well ($$$ hehe :p).

    Other websites (like l*a*w*i*n*f*o*.com and l*a*w*y*e*r*s*.com) are listing Lawyers too, but as I'm going to deal with lawyers
    I don't wanna get into any legal trouble lol! So i'm wondering what kind of terms I should include on the website, and what the rules
    in the US are for managing a lawyer directory and selling listings. My main questions are:

    - Can I just list lawyers on the website without asking for their permission first?
    - Is it legal to sell leads in the US? (here it isn't)
    - What do I need to include in the terms & conditions / on the website to not get into legal trouble?

    Btw I am a business owner, but my business is not located in the US...

    I hope someone here can help me out! Thanks!
     
  2. GobBluthJD

    GobBluthJD Regular Member

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    As a lawyer, I can comment on #2, that it is definitely illegal for us to buy leads of any kind.
     
  3. cybersage

    cybersage Regular Member

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    Um, I'm pretty sure you're mistaken because many many companies sell leads. Check ExpertHub/Nolo as one of the primary ones. Lawinfo also sells leads I believe. You're probably thinking about paying an attorney for a lead, which is a no-no (as it usually requires some sort of responsibility sharing to share in the fee); paying a non-attorney for a lead is okay.
     
  4. GobBluthJD

    GobBluthJD Regular Member

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    Well, there's a difference between those leads and 'leads' in a general-IM sense. I guess I only know FL law, which says "Direct Contact with Prospective Clients - Rule 4-7.4(a)A lawyer may not contact a prospective client in-person, by telephone, telegraph, or
    facsimile, or through other means of direct contact, unless the prospective client is a
    family member, current client, or former client."

    Basically it's a "they can come to you, you can't go to them" rule. So with leads, they'd be pretty useless, unless the potential client has made the initial approach to seeking out an attorney. So lawyer referral services are generally okay, if the customer has reached out first and shown an interest in being contacted by an attorney. A general list of 'leads', who have shown no interest in being contacted by a lawyer, but is just a list of names and numbers of people who, for example, are buying a house (for real estate attorneys, for example) would be off limits.

    That being said, there are tons of shady attorneys, and the attorney economy is terrible right now, so many attorneys would love to do anything they can in order to get ahead, including buying shady leads. So you'd probably have a captive audience :cool:
     
  5. illfounded21

    illfounded21 Senior Member

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    Are you the brother of Frankie4Fingers on here?
     
  6. thefallsman

    thefallsman BANNED BANNED

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    that is not true. Total Attorneys has been sued many times over this and won every case. It does not violate the ethical code to purchase leads or sell leads. A lawsuit in 2010 charged them with illegal referral sharing. The case was dropped by all participating 47 states.......
     
  7. GobBluthJD

    GobBluthJD Regular Member

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    The Total Attorneys case was more about referrals and sharing revenue from clients who had already expressed an interest in or need of attorney's services; the question posed here (as I interpreted it, at least) was about outright just cold-selling leads to attorneys. There's a gaping chasm of difference there.

    If OP is selling referrals of "hot" leads, from visitors who strictly come to his lawyer directory seeking services, that's probably fine and in safe territory; he'd just be acting as a mini-Total Attorneys. If he's using BH methods to scrape e-mail lists or something and selling those, the water becomes significantly murkier.
     
  8. Freddy4Fingers

    Freddy4Fingers Newbie

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    Thanks!

    No I will use whitehat methods only. The lead selling would mean: placing a contact form on a paid Lawyer listing, where visitors can contact the Lawyer directly. I will charge the Lawyer per filled in contact form/lead or I just make the "lead generation" part of a listing package where I charge them $$ per month for. So what I understand this is legal in all the states.

    At illfounded21: nope
     
  9. thefallsman

    thefallsman BANNED BANNED

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    I gotcha, that actually makes sense. I agree that cold would be a very bad idea.
     
  10. truelux

    truelux Regular Member

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    is it illegal to collect and post their information, without their consent? It's already public knowledge, so perhaps having the option of "removal" would be sufficient?