For decades lawyer advertising centered on the yellow pages. Even after the Supreme Court concluded advertising bans violated the First Amendment in the 1970s and law firms began running ads on radio, TV, billboards and other outlets, the yellow pages was still the heart of law firm advertising. In the 1990s law firm advertisements became commonplace on television but you could still count on law firms spending money on advertisements in the yellow pages. That’s because as a culture the phone book provided important contact information for businesses and was treated as an authority source merely for publishing free listings of addresses and phone numbers. The yellow pages went away as a dominant law firm advertising resource as the internet grew in popularity and convenience. Today you can find a local lawyer and call right from the search results from a phone in your pocket or purse.
Finding lawyers online versus the phone book
Lawyer advertisements online are fundamentally different from the phone book. In the phone book, the publisher controlled the space entirely and law firms only had the choice to pay for the amount of advertisement they wanted. Standard listings were alphabetical without exception. The publication was highly regimented and it had to be because people expected the phone book to provide listings in that format.
On the other hand, the internet is more chaotic. Law firms advertise in search engine listings and spend considerable resources trying to position themselves within the organic search results. There are also businesses providing law firm and lawyer listings of both free and paid opportunities in addition to bar associations and lawyer referral services who provide listings. It’s not always easy to trust that the lawyers you find are the right lawyers to help you with your problems.
Navigating the internet for employment lawyers in Denver
Searching for a Denver employment lawyer online can be confusing and frustrating for several reasons. Many people think of labor law or employment law as a narrow field of law; however, it is a broad area spanning every facet of the employment relationship. These include:
- Compensation and benefit issues;
- Insurance law;
- Finance and investment law;
- Tax law;
- Medical leave law;
- Workers’ compensation;
- Wrongful termination;
- Union and other collective employee acts;
- Personal injury law;
- HIPAA and other medical information protection laws;
- Family law;
- Gun possession law;
- Criminal law; and several others.
Within this wide span of law you will likely find that not every attorney who practices employment law or labor law deals with every possible employment law issue or has expertise in the facts of a specific situation. Additionally, many employment lawyers in Denver and around the state represent only employees or employers. (Some employment lawyers represent both sides.)
An employee searching for an employment lawyer often begins not knowing if there even is a legal issue or the extent of legal issues involved. That makes it difficult to know what employment lawyers should be on the list to research or contact. As an employee you may have some idea that you have an unpaid wage issue or need a wrongful termination lawyer but there may be several other employment law issues involved in that situation. There is no single perfect path for an employee to take to learn enough about employment law to find the right employment lawyer just by researching online. You may have to contact one or more Denver employment lawyers for a consultation to discuss your situation and determine your next steps.
Conducting a Google search to find a Denver employment lawyer
Today most people begin searching for anything with a Google search and that includes finding a lawyer. (If not Google then another search engine.) Google does not review websites or businesses to categorize their search results. Instead it uses a complex algorithm to assess websites and businesses that it believes best apply to your search terms. For example, if you search “Denver employment lawyers” then the search engine will produce a list of websites it believes belong to Denver employment lawyers based upon the way it reads and scores the content of the website. The ranking for a given website is not an assessment of the quality or skill of the website owner. It only reflects how the website scores against the search algorithm (or a paid placement).
A search request for Denver employment lawyers will produce several types of results:
- Paid placements;
- Local results; and
- Organic search results.
Within the search results you will see paid placements to put employment lawyers in favorable locations within the results. Often paid advertisements appear at the top of search results where you are most likely to click. Like the search algorithm, Google does not assess the advertiser’s skill or expertise before placing an ad. That is not to say the law firm placing the ad is not skilled or knowledgeable about your employee rights situation.
Local results reflect businesses matching the search terms in proximity to your current location. Local results are organized by its own algorithm that matches information about the business, user reviews and location to deliver a list of law firms that meet your search terms and proximity. The order of law firms produced is similarly not a question of Google conducting a review of the merits of each law firm. It is how much the information it has about each law firm best matches your search terms and location. Certainly the location of a law firm is an important consideration.
Organic search results
Organic search results reflect which employment lawyer website matches your search terms. The search algorithm is a complex formula with a long list of factors that include location, content, page speed, visibility, link profile and other factors related to the website. Google does not review lawyers for ranking, only how the website matches the search terms. Denver employment lawyers appear in various combinations of search terms (often for people searching in Colorado) and can vary widely in placement merely by changing the order of search terms. Law firms, like other businesses, often spend money to produce a website that ranks highly as a form of advertising.
Value of search results for employment lawyers
Although Google does not automatically produce the perfect lawyer in search results every time it can be extremely helpful to search for Denver employment lawyers in a search engine. It is a good way to familiarize yourself with local employment lawyers and their location. It is also a good way to research information about employment lawyers and employment law issues. The more specific your search the more targeted the results so searching for something more specific than “employment lawyers” or “employment lawyers Denver” can be very helpful to find lawyers who might be more familiar with the legal aspects of your specific situation.
Avvo is a website that provides access to lawyer listings and other lawyer-related services. Avvo began in 2007 in Seattle with an evolving business model. It is most commonly known for two aspects: lawyer listings and the Q&A forum. Additionally, Avvo offers a legal form platform and a platform to ask lawyers within particular fields questions for a stated sum of money.
One is a lawyer listing system in which lawyer profiles are generated from information obtained from other sites (such as state bar websites) and given a ranking. The ranking formula is proprietary and confidential. Lawyers may claim their profile and add information which appears to improve rankings. Within the listings lawyers can pay to upgrade their account which removed ads for other lawyers from their profile and places them at the top of the listings for regional and legal area listings.
The other is a large free Q&A section organized by state and practice area in which lawyers can answer questions. The Q&A section is largely unmoderated so the answers provided may not be completely accurate. Lawyers gain points by answering questions which can move them up a second listing system categorized by points and practice area.
Avvo is criticized by some lawyers for aspects of the site, such as the ranking system, but it is a convenient place to find disciplinary history for lawyers and find basic information about attorneys who may not have robust websites. Avvo allows users to review attorneys (which it says do not affect ranking) which may be useful to consider.
(Avvo was recently acquired by Martindale.)
Martindale-Hubbell (sometimes referred to as just Martindale) began as a paper directory of lawyers in 1868. Today it is an online directory and owns several other lawyer directory and marketing businesses. For most of its history it was considered the authoritative directory of lawyers. Martindale-Hubbell provides a peer review ranking which many lawyers continue to advertise. The business’s website includes law blogs and other legal information in addition to one of the largest lawyer directories in the world.
Lawyers.com provides another large directory of lawyers and a Q&A forum. The website was once an independent venture but is now part of Martindale’s collection of lawyer websites. Lawyer profiles on the website include information about the lawyer including:
- Legal areas practiced by the lawyer;
- Contact information;
- Law school and bar admissions;
- Peer reviews;
- Client reviews;
- Access to Q&A answers provided by the lawyer; and
- Martindale ratings.
The website provides both a paid and free listing option to lawyers. Lawyers who opt for the free listing will display reviews and basic contact information while paid listings provide the other information as well. You can locate lawyers in the listings through location and practice area. For example, you can search for employment lawyers in Denver and find a list of the law firms within the site’s directory.
Lawyers.com is a good way to review information about lawyers although its free listing option provides less information than other free listings like Avvo. It is still another good place to review lawyer information.
Findlaw is one of the largest providers of legal content online including providing law firm websites, marketing and lawyer directories. It began in 1995 with acquisition by what is today Thomson Reuters in 2001. Findlaw sites appear prominently in searches for local lawyers and legal information. The business markets extensively to lawyers and law firms to join its services. The lawyer directory on Findlaw is today entirely paid. Lawyers appearing in the directory have paid to do so and no free listings exist.
Justia began in 2003 by a former Findlaw employee and provides a similarly large legal information site. Justia provides a wide range of information from statute and cases to Q&A to lawyer directories. The lawyer directory includes paid and free options. The free lawyer profiles contain information about practice areas, contact information and answers by the lawyer in its Q&A forum. You can search for lawyers on the website by location and practice area. Its profiles often also appear in search engine results.
Colorado Bar Association referrals
The Colorado Bar Association is a voluntary state bar available to lawyers across the state and all practice areas. It includes a referral service in which consumers may contact the bar to request a referral by location and practice area. Referrals are made from member lawyers so not all employment lawyers in the state obtain referrals through the service. Nevertheless, it is a good way to find employment lawyers who might be able to help you with your problem.
Plaintiff Employment Lawyers Association referrals
The Colorado Plaintiff Employment Lawyers Association, or PELA, is a voluntarily association of employment lawyers who represent employees. It is a state affiliate of the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA) which is a voluntary national association of employee rights lawyers.
PELA offers a referrals service for employees seeking an employment lawyer in the state. Like the Colorado Bar Association, referrals are only made to member lawyers. Referrals requested through the website can select from a wide range of employment law issues which may help narrow the focus of a referral to an attorney skilled in your particular issue.
Which is the right way to find a Denver employment lawyer?
There is no single right way to find a Denver employment lawyer. Online research and referrals are good opportunities to find employment lawyers and research whether they may be equipped to help you with your employee rights issue. The profiles and websites for employment lawyers can help you understand which local lawyers may be a potential fit for your needs and may provide answers to employment law questions. Your research may consider several factors and ultimately you may need to schedule a consultation with one or more attorneys to find a Denver employment lawyer that fits your needs.
Denver Labor Law is not affiliated with and did not receive compensation from any entity discussed in this post. Denver Labor Law does not take a position on which, if any, of these entities may provide the best information or the best referral to a lawyer for your needs. If you believe you need an employment lawyer then you should begin researching and contacting law firms as soon as possible to discuss your situation. Rely upon the advice of a licensed attorney to discuss your situation and next steps.