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(Reuters) – Wondering if some legal awards are garbage?
Here’s a hint: The Federal Trade Commission last week put out a consumer advisory headlined “Look beyond the award when you hire a lawyer.”
The agency notes that if you find yourself unexpectedly in need of legal help and start searching online, you’re likely to encounter “lawyers and law firms with fancy-looking seals and badges on their websites claiming they’re among the best in their field.”
But the FTC warns that “some of these seals or badges might be ‘vanity’ or ‘ego’ awards that lawyers can buy.”
I know, it’s shocking. Lawyers shelling out money to boost their egos.
The consumer protection agency is spot on to warn people looking to hire counsel about meaningless accolades that proclaim lawyers to be the leading this or most distinguished that. At the same time, I’m not sure if the FTC’s earnest advice on how to avoid being fooled is likely to prove all that helpful to the average consumer.
An FTC spokeswoman declined comment.
To be sure, sophisticated in-house lawyers have little trouble seeing through the hype. Earlier this year, I asked general counsel at Microsoft, BAE Systems and retailer Savers Inc if they were impressed by legal awards – even the real (or quasi-real) ones,…