Americans don’t trust lawyers. According to a 2014 study from Princeton University, people determine who is trustworthy based on how they perceive two major variables: an individual’s intent (warmth) and capability (competence). While attorneys are generally perceived to be highly capable, they’re also largely regarded as “cold.”
Coldness or ruthlessness is associated with personal injury lawyers, especially. This stereotype is often perpetuated by the way law firms advertise themselves through generic billboards and bombastic television commercials.
This stereotype is not only harmful to personal injury attorneys; it hurts people who need to hire a personal injury attorney but don’t, for fear or being misperceived or misrepresented. Over the past few decades, the public has become wary of deceptive personal injury ads featuring attorneys who never actually talk to clients or try a case themselves. This sobering public education has given rise to a new generation of personal injury attorneys focused exclusively on building firms based on trust and authenticity.
Houston Business Journal Leadership Trust member Nicolette Daniel is in the business of helping brands establish trust and authenticity, with professional selling experience spanning the television, retail and medical industries. Daniel opened her first retail store when she was just 24 years old and sold every piece of clothing – $10,000’s worth – on her very first day in business. Since then, she has helped grow several luxury brands from the ground to garnering annual profits exceeding $1 million. Now, as Chief Strategy Officer of Patrick Daniel Law, she’s translating her retail success to law.
Daniel says she ran into some initial opposition when looking for opportunities to apply her marketing experience. In 2019, many top legal advertisers still adhere to the old formula of marketing via grandiose and misleading television commercials. But, in her experience, a new wave of attorneys is turning this stereotypical model on its head. “This new generation of attorneys is coming in and saying “We try cases, we don’t settle and we care,” Daniel says. “This is why they became attorneys in the first place. The truth is, personal injury attorneys don’t make a dollar until their clients do. They are personally invested in what happens to their clients.”
Daniel says an unwritten rule at her firm is “If we can’t help you, we will find somebody who can and we won’t just send you out into the world without doing our best.” As a result of this commitment to clients and the community at large, Patrick Daniel Law has seen an increased average growth rate of 57.81% in referral basis only. “Our lead loss is at zero and we have a 100% Facebook referral program,” Daniel says.
She advises lawyers hoping to build better business through better trust to start by taking inventory of themselves. “Building a trustworthy image for all firms in the industry, including your own, requires you to start from within. Begin by promoting your values and mission by making it part of your onboarding,” she says. Ultimately, Daniel believes, when personal injury firms shift their culture, they shift the way they do business.
It is important to consult professional help from an independent legal representative who is not tied to the insurance company. Remember this, adjusters are not your friends. Contact us here for any legal questions or concerns you may have.