Beware of Unscrupulous Attorney Referral Services
In the state of Florida, a referral service called “ASK GARY” (and its twin “411 PAIN”) is being investigated by the State Bar of Florida for violating ethical practices and potentially breaking the law. We wanted to take a minute to answer a few essential questions: What’s wrong about “ASK GARY?” What does it mean for 1-800-ATTORNEY?
We’re going to lay out for you some of the facts about the Florida service and other similar practices. As a toll-free number that routes calls from potential clients to attorneys, we are horrified by companies like “ASK GARY” that circumvent the law, harm clients, enable unethical attorneys to practice law, and advertise illegally.
What Are The Legal and Ethical Concerns with ASK-GARY?
Here’s the number one thing to be wary of: services that connect medical providers to attorneys. Any individual, company or service that combines legal assistance with medical assistance should immediately raise suspicions. The concern is that attorneys may persuade groups like chiropractors to offer unnecessary or even harmful treatment to accident victims in the hopes of driving up medical bills.
The concern with “ASK GARY” is that they are a “faceless” medical-referral service which is accused of creating a bridge between attorneys and a medical provider. The provider in Florida is often the Physicians Group, and “ASK GARY” creator Gary Kompothecras owns Physicians Group.
Attorneys are allegedly given incentives to work with “ASK GARY” and the Physicians Group. By being a toll-free number and calling itself a “referral service” the Gary Kompothecras’ companies have tried to circumvent the Florida Bar’s regulations governing how an attorney can get clients. Thankfully, Florida lawmakers are finally cracking down on this practice, and starting to call it what it is – illegal. Media sources report that the FBI has launched its own investigation into the Florida company and its many subsidiaries.
Wait – Then How is 1-800-ATTORNEY Different From “ASK GARY?”
1-800-ATTORNEY is different from 411-PAIN and ASK-GARY in several key ways.
- We are not a medical-referral service, and do not share caller information with medical providers.
- We do not screen calls or act as a middle-man. All calls are routed directly to the participating law firm in the caller’s area.
- The law firm or attorney that licenses the number in that area incorporates the number into his or her own advertising.
Attorneys You Can See & Trust
Advertisements for 1-800-ATTORNEY are not faceless. Profiles of our participating member firms are available on our website, and licensees are required to identify their firm when using 1-800-ATTORNEY in any advertisements. The attorney simply uses the number as an added asset in their advertisements. Here’s an example: “Rasansky Law Firm provides respect, resources, and Results. Call Jeff Rasansky today at 1-800-ATTORNEY.” In the context of our client, Rasansky Law Firm, potential clients aren’t reaching out to a random Gary-like stranger; they are calling a specific firm that has a very memorable phone number.
We don’t want to be a platform for attorneys who use unethical practices to attract clients. People often contact lawyers when they are in a terrible situation. They are emotionally strained and may be in physical pain. Any law firm that takes advantage of these victims is simply not welcomed into our network.
There are many ethical law firms out there who are looking for a memorable and professional way to stand out in their field. It can be challenging in the current competitive environment to find a way to enhance a firm’s advertising while remaining true to a firm’s core values. For those firms faced with the need to capitalize on their advertising dollars, 1-800-ATTORNEY is an excellent investment. This premium vanity number can increase your ROI and help knock out less-ethical competitors like those who use “ASK GARY.”
Our website serves as another way for individuals looking for an attorney to learn more about the law firm that serves their area. A detailed profile with background information and helpful articles gives a potential client more information on the law firm they will be directed to if they call the toll-free number.
Are There Any Open Spots in the 1-800-ATTORNEY Network?
1-800-ATTORNEY is still available in many areas. Click here to see a map of the current available locations.