R.W. Lynch Raises Its Ugly Head Again

Last month I got a call from Terry Fifer (or it maybe Terri Fifer or Terry Phifer or Terri Phifer) at R.W. Lynch claiming that she was calling about “a new case — an injury that I was involved in.”

Since then she has become more truthful — “I want to know if you handle personal injury cases”, “I will call back” (no doubt), and “regarding personal injury network” — but, true to Kevin McHenry’s “too dumb to know when someone is not interested” form, she keeps calling.

I called her back this time, suggested she google her name, pointed out that things would get worse for her and R.W. Lynch if she kept calling, and called her a liar. I wasn’t very nice. But I haven’t gotten it out of my system yet.

Let’s work through this rationally, Ms. Fifer (Phifer?):

You’re looking for lawyers who need more business.

You’re trying to sell them some R.W. Lynch service that will bring them more business.

To sell the lawyers on R.W. Lynch, you start out by lying, and close by annoying.

Why, if you can’t sell your own (R.W. Lynch’s) services without first lying and then wasting your time with cold calls to people who have no interest, would a lawyer possibly think that you might be able to do anything to help him market his business?

Ms. Fifer, and R.W. Lynch, if you must call a business to sell your product, call once. Leave a message accurately describing the product. Those who are interested will call you back. If you don’t get a call back after truthfully describing your product, I’m not interested.

Marketing a law practice requires maintenance of high ethical standards. Any lawyer who buys marketing services from someone (like R.W. Lynch) who tries to get a callback by lying to him is an idiot who’s going to wind up facing a grievance, and rightly so: If I hire someone who has lied to me to get my business, I should expect her to lie to my potential clients.

Lying may be considered okey-dokey in marketing (as it is in policing), but if you can’t get callbacks without lying about your product, then your product sucks and you should find something else to sell.

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About Mark Bennett

Mark Bennett got his letter of marque from the Supreme Court of Texas in May 1995. He is famous for having no sense of humor when it comes to totalitarianism.
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32 Responses to R.W. Lynch Raises Its Ugly Head Again

  1. Ken says:

    We’ve been getting a sudden rush of emails rather than calls. All from various legal services firms we’ve never used before (and would never use), all unsolicited — and all using the same new tactic: a creepy, inappropriately familiar tone. “Hi Ken! How is the new year treating you? Can we get together for lunch?” etc.

  2. Windypundit says:

    Sometime sales people can be pretty crafty. Maybe it’s some sort of qualifying test for prospects: They don’t want to waste their time trying to sell their product to anybody who’s smart enough not to call them back.

  3. InTheKnow says:

    As someone who once worked for RWLynch, I will be the first to apologize. RWLynch runs commercials as “The Injury Helpline”. They take money from subscribing Attorneys who get to call back the people who call the IHL.
    RWLynch continuously tell their sales people lie their way past secretaries to get to the Attorney. (part of the reason I left.) They will continue to call you unless you call back & tell them “Take me off your list”.
    (To which their trained response will be “I’ll take you off my list of Future Millionaires.”)

  4. Jay Willingahm says:

    Does anyone have any idea of a way to get out of the agreement with RW Lynch? As I recall their salespeople said we would get some cases. Nothing has come our way of any value to us. Almost all call come from the website. Nothing from TV. Calls are uniformly me spending time trying to help folks who have usually spoken to other attorneys and been declined. They are almost all far away outside our “area”.

  5. InTheKnow says:

    Jay,

    What is your contact information?

  6. John Lengyel says:

    To the bloggers who have posted about RW Lynch and the sales tactics of a single sales person or small group of the larger body I say dont judge the company and all its people based on the bad experience of one or a fewof the desperate and unethical. As the Sr Acct Exec for RW Lynch I have new clients forwarded to me from two sales offices every week and most if not all enter the program the right way and with realistic expectations. Our web site and our advertising agreements are very plain and clear as to how we operate. RWL has been around for 25 years with the Injury Helpline program and some of our oldest clients have been with us for the entire 25 years. I personally ineract with our active clients daily and work with them as an advertising and marketing partner in their legal practice. I am the last person on the earth to condone such negative sales tactics and I truly believe our program is worthy of a better sales presentation and better representatives. Sadly we very rarely hear from the prospect attorneys, except for those who do join up, that our sales people are in contact with to help improve our rank and file. Blogging may get the word out about one or two unuique negative experiences (10 happy people tell ? and 1 unhappy person will share with the world) but why not just pick up the phone and call Lynch, maybe email the President of the company and make things better for us all. My personal apologies to anyone who has had to deal with any puffery involving our services and representatives. I will be sharing what I have found here with the Lynch family who will undoubtably take immeadiate corrective action. Thank you.

    • Mark Bennett says:

      John,

      How do you respond to the former employee who says, “RWLynch continuously tell their sales people lie their way past secretaries to get to the Attorney.”

      When the only two RW Lynch salespeople who try to reach me use identical deceptive (and desperate) tactics, that statement has the ring of truth.

    • InTheKnow says:

      You can’t ask people not to base their experience off of those who are doing what they are doing (“being desperate & unethical”), especially since they have BEEN TRAINED by your Sales Managers and General Sales Managers to do these things.

      Sales people are trained to tell all the “positive” or “success” Attorneys using your service have had. But what about the hundreds of Attorneys who have left your program? As the Account Executive you see first hand the Attorneys who are “upset” and want out of your program. Yet you failed to mention them here.

      Since the Market Managers are trained to “hype” / “exagerate” your program and get the Attorneys “Excited about all these great cases they can get”, no wonder they want out of your services when these it fails to deliver.

      To make matters worse, you throw in 2 or 3 year automatic renewals into your “Plain & Clear” contract that is if I remember correctly 13 pages long. I don’t see how anything is plain and clear yet takes so long to “spell out”.

      How is that employee turnover rate coming along? Why are sales people no longer allowed contact with Attorneys they bring in after 90 days?
      (Retorical questions) I can answer them myself.
      1. Turnover rate is still extremely high. Probably a new training class every other week, if not sooner.
      2. Because it is demoralizing to hear from Attorneys you hyped up that the product is crap.

      Lynch only cares about how much $$$ sales people keep coming in. President Lynch has a “what have you done for me lately” mentality. “Doesn’t matter what you did for me last month, what’s coming in today?”

      NO Loyalty, No Respect. Just, “Show me the Money!”

    • Rosanne Kruschke says:

      We also get calls from RW Lynch and they lie every single time they call. First they usually act like they are an injured party and their second line of BS is that their attorney retired and they are looking for a new personal injury attorney to replace them.

  7. Michael says:

    Recently, I’ve been getting spam from both An Attorney For You and MiNeeds. I don’t subscribe to either one, but they both want me as a customer so they send me actual requests for attorneys. The last three have all said “I need an attorney. I have a limited income so I can’t afford to pay very much.” Why I’m supposed to pay for leads that can’t pay me is a mystery.

  8. John Lengyel says:

    Hello Mark and Mr In the Know,
    First and formost, the last person I would believe is some disgruntled and unemployed PAST EMPLOYEE of this or any other company. And yes, sometimes the fish sticks from the head down due to poor training or management but just like any other established and reputable company we catch on and make changes. I for one teach the sales folks to make a good first impression with the receptionist or assistants and make sure that they know we are who we are. Often times the gatekeepers at the front desks are rude and uncaring and if it were not for getting past them to the attorney, the descision maker, then we would never have many of the clients and positve relationships we have today. Being creative, upbeat and sharing success stories in not unethical….it’s selling the service. Most recently a good number of changes have occured in the management at the company based on feedback from the sales people, some of our prospects and our loyal clients. We have also revised the service agreement which for most of the new year is only 5 pages (I guess in the know doesnt really know much)
    As the Sr Acct Exec I have had the pleasure of a 75-85 % retention rate for my 7 years here at Lynch (doesnt sound like a lot of turn over and pissed off clients to me). I have worked in sales, sales management and sales training for years and in any sales industry you will find the puffers and BS artists who in time will be shown the door ( the turn over rate is very high in car lots to electronics retail….why would advertising be any different?). I would expect a professional, such as an educated attorney, to do his due dilligence on anyone proposing a service such as this or any similar costly business venture. The simple fact remains that Lynch is now in its 25th year and going strong (poor business practices….I think not) in one of the most aggressive advertising enviroments anywhere. Lynch built their rep on TV adv and are now the biggest group on the internet as well. Sure, performance varies based on each market and on each attorney we work with but in PA Work Comp is a winner and in TX its a looser. Some PI guys handle med mal and others turn it away at the door. I do know that we do exectly what we say we will do and have been doing for 25 years…collective dollar group advertising of the INJURY HELPLINE. For every one upset attorney MR In the Know refers to I have 20 that will sing our praises. With odds like that I would say Lynch is as sure of a bet as it gets in this game. I for one will be here for another 20 years!!!!!!

    • InTheKnow says:

      John,

      First of all, I am happily and gainfully employed. The only reason I would have for being “disgruntled” would be the millions of dollars I generated for RWLynch and the “minuscule” compensation I received for my “services”. Or the thousands of dollars I lost in “tails” when I left. (I highly doubt you would like me to divulge your company pay scale, bonuses or compensation plans.)

      I love how you justified lying to get past “gatekeepers and secretaries” by saying, “if it were not for getting past them, then we would never have many of the clients we have today.” (So if it were not for lying to get past secretaries, you wouldn’t have clients… Sounds unethical to me.)

      “In the know” was in the know when it came to your service agreement. At the time of employment, your service agreement was 13 pages. (You even admit to recently revising it. So don’t take petty shots at me John.)

      As for your retention rate, I do not believe you. I was fed those same numbers when I was employed there. Yet 14 of the 17 clients I personally brought on with your company ARE NO LONGER with your company. (Most of them were “multi-territory” subscribers as well.) And territories became available all the time. I was personally responsible to “freezing” 2 or 3 markets which are no longer frozen.

      True, turnover rates are high at car lots, electronics, etc. However, this is because not everyone can be deceptive and “shady” like most of those who make successful livings in those industries are.

      First and foremost, Lynch needs to better evaluate the people they let “sell their program”. A warm body should not be the only requirement for employment. I remember several Market Managers who looked like they were probably sleeping behind the office, smelled of alcohol or marijuana constantly. Knowledge of Marketing and Advertising, Internet trends, etc. would be in your best interest. Proabably drug testing as well. Not just a week long training class that teaches how to “get past gatekeepers” and “puffery” of the success your current clients are having.

      Granted, Personal Injury is a quagmire of a practice. You can tell the same facts to 10 different Attorneys and get probably 7 different answers. And yes, Personal Injury varies by state with some things being more lucrative than others. (i.e. dog bites, slip falls, Med-Mal, Workers Comp.)

      The problem with your advertising is you present yourselves as Attorneys in your TV ads and your Internet campaigns. Your ads also state “Talk to a Lawyer about your case for Free”. However, no PI Attorney out there does their work “pro-bono”. The sales tactics are deceptive and puffery.

      Glad to know that Lynch has been around for 25 years. And those 25 years of Attorneys paying Lynch to run advertising on their behalf has generated a Race Car Team, private plane, a Vineyard, huge homes, fancy cars and countless vacations for the Lynch family.

      Best of luck staying with that company. The AZ office only has 3 sales employees who have been there over 2 years and the corporate approximately the same. I would say the Account executives were sales people to but they are even worse than the sales managers. (I was screwed out of 3 up sales by my account executive, Lisa who is no longer there, by my 3 clients who actually had success with your services.)

      My opinion for Attorneys, Stay away from group advertising. Do the advertising for yourself or join a well marketed directory that will get the clients to contact you directly versus making people go through a third party service.

      • Mark Bennett says:

        The Texas Disciplinary Rules governing lawyer advertising do not stop applying when someone else is doing the advertising for you. A lawyer who pays R.W. Lynch for advertising that does not comply with the DRs is liable for any violations of the rules that R.W. Lynch might commit.

        And I think it’s about time to close this thread.

    • Mark Bennett says:

      78-85% would be lousy retention rate for someone honestly selling a product.

      (the turn over rate is very high in car lots to electronics retail….why would advertising be any different?)

      Yep, that you would ask that question is why ethical lawyers should run away from yours and any other marketing scheme: lawyer advertising must be different.

      When a lawyer hires a company to do marketing or advertising for him, he’s putting his good name in that company’s hands. If that company trains its salespeople to lie to get past the gatekeepers or even (giving you the benefit of the doubt, though I don’t for an instant believe it) simply hires salespeople who happen to do so, it’s the wrong company for the job.

    • Mark Bennett says:

      (The lies never stop. Within nineteen months, Lengyel had left RW Lynch.)

    • Law Boi says:

      Two words: Prove it. Come on – put up. I’m waiting.

      • Mark Bennett says:

        Law Boi, who are you talking to?

  9. ShortFatBaldGuy says:

    All I want to say is that I was fired for speaking with gatekeepers. Having come from an executive level inside sales background dealing with C and V level execs at Fortune 100 -1000 companies, I was told I was hired because I knew how to get through to the decision makers. What they didn’t hear is that to get through to the decision maker, you MUST deal the gate keeper honestly and professionally – NOT got around him/her.

  10. Charlie says:

    Just got a call today from a rep at RW Lynch, Phillip Tuckwiller – he was horribly rude, then told me if our firm was lucky, he might consider partnering with us! Yeesh! No thanks, buddy ~

  11. Joel Pores says:

    I just received a cold call from Mary Mudge from RW Lynch regarding personal injury. The message said nothing about a referral program and it sounded like it could be a new client.

    I became suspicious at the use of her name “from RW Lynch regarding personal injury” , as this is an area of the law that I have done very little of for the last fifteen years.

    I now handle Legal Ethics, Attorney Fee Disputes, Dispute Resolution and Legal Malpractice almost exclusively.

    For all of you California attorneys, beware of joining any unregulated and unapproved attorney referral programs whcih must be registered with the State Bar pursuant to Business and Professions Code section 6155 for you to accept a referral from them.
    I have no idea if RW Lynch is so registered.

    It may have been attempting a “joint advertising” program but I do not participate in those campaigns as a general rules, as there seems to be a middle-man involved in almost every case. The reason I shy away is that a joint advertising program is legal only if there is no person other than the lawyers who are participating making a referral to you, as conditioned by Business and Professions Code section 6155 (h)(1) and (2).

    Lawyers joining in such an endeavor must also be careful in regard to potential soliciatation in violation of Business and Professions Code section 6151 and 6152.

    I just got another solicitation call, this time from Legal Business Solutions Steven Gibson. Any feedback on this company would be appreciated.

    If you have any questions call me. (949) 609 0300

  12. lawrence strauss says:

    I appreciate your insights on RW. Do you have any experience or information on “The Lawyers Group” ?

  13. Steve Ball says:

    Another attorney here got a call Friday after I had left I guess. He emails me their name and information and said they’d call back Monday morning. Tells me it’s a new client and it sounds like a large PI case, which is great news on Monday am for a new solo attorney. So when I get their call this morning from the person with that name and at the right time and it’s a sales call I was really confused. I honestly assumed the attorney who took the first call (very old guy, good lawyer though) can’t even handle calls/messages anymore. Glad I read this. Won’t be taking their “orientation call” tomorrow or ever now.

    Don’t care what the product is or does, lying to get me on the phone ends the deal before it starts. Like someone else said, I am a grown man running an office. I always accept sales calls. If I need your service or product I’ll let you know, if not I’ll let you know that too so neither wastes time. The lying is terrible practice.

  14. Kevin Lane says:

    You may see some unusual spellings in my post. I do not need the headache of getting caught up in a Google alert for this company name(s) or articles.

    A Google search for: “Th3 1njury H3lplin3” scam, currently returns 37,000 hits, almost exclusively from RW&L’s propagation of their own blog articles such as: S3O $cams 0n th3 Ris3 – H0w t0 Pr0tect y0ur F1rm, as well as article tags of Seo scams. I must say(you do I hope know this is done tongue-in-cheek); well-done R.W. Lynch! I can’t of course state that this was their intent, but doing so has no doubt increased the difficulty of the average searching finding any low hanging fruit.

    They don’t do as successful a job with their company name in quotes along with the word scam, but then the average person may not know the company’s actual name.

  15. Rachel says:

    We have been receiving phone calls from a “Chris” that refuses to give his last name. He keeps calling trying to speak to the attorney here. When he calls he gives me this story about a dog and ridiculous and rude comments. I have advised him that he is being disrespectful and not to call this firm anymore. He simply hangs up, waits a few weeks and calls back. When I called back the main number to RW Lynch they have put me on hold numerous times for more that 20 minutes. Once someone gets on the phone and I explain why I am calling, then simply hang up.

    I hope that this company is slammed by everyone because they are rude and do not respect people at all. I have and will be making more complaints to the BBB.

  16. Ryderman says:

    Chris huh? Well I worked at RW Lynch and Chris is their top dog. I won’t reveal his last name. Let me guess, you are in Southern California. I know he has a few territories but that is his main one or at least was when I left.

    He sure convinces people well and has no time to deal will someone with no money to put on his plate. He found his niche alright and RW is sure happy to have him. The crazy thing is that RW has this business as a small side business.

    We are talking major investments, vineyards, technology, etc… Injury Helpline is more like a hobby that runs itself. Why not keep it going – from their standpoint?

    HOWEVER, they give opportunities to people that need jobs and that need jobs fast and badly. I was one of those people and I appreciate the opportunity from a while back back. In hind sight, I actually give props to the company for employing almost anyone that wants to try hard and to see if that particular line of work is right for them. They do actually help some attorneys and I heard that first hand. Not most of them of course.

    So I read all of the posts and I agree with about everything that everyone said. The company has a lot of turn-over (more than most). The company has employees that lie. The company has employees that don’t lie. The company helps people by giving them a job. The company irritates attorneys. But, their service does find certain attorneys that benefit from their services and also employs people, like myself, who needed that job to get by in a struggling time and I appreciate them for helping me.

    I like to think that I helped those attorneys I spoke to.. thats just how I do business. Perhaps I would have made more money if I was more like Chris but I like the way I do business.

    If I was attorney I may consider using RW. Might try a lower priced and preliminary program before spending all that cash. I would DEFINITELY ask to speak to an attorney in my area that has success with the program before I tried things out. Is it right for everyone, NO, is it right for most, NO, is it right for some, sure and that’s only because I heard results first hand

  17. RM Kelso says:

    thanks for posting this. Just received a call from RW Lynch marketer Tim Pizzatola in Phoenix ..”looking for someone who does PI work and ran across your name.” guess I do not need to call him back.

  18. Robert O'neil says:

    - R.W LYNCH IS THE MOST MISLEADING MARKETING FIRM IN THE COUNTRY. – THEY WILL CALL YOU 20 TIMES A DAY EVEN AFTER YOU REPEATEDLY TOLD THEM THAT YOU’RE NOT INTERESTED. – THEY FABRICATE FALSE P.I STORIES TO CONVINCE YOU TO BUY THEIR HORRIBLE PRODUCT. – THEY WILL NEVER EVER GIVE YOU ANY REFERENCES FROM YOUR AREA, CAUSE THEY KNOW THAT YOU WILL DISCOVER THEIR SCAM. – THEY WILL REFER YOU TO THEIR WEBSITE WHERE THEY HAVE PAID ACTORS WITH FALSE TESTIMONIALS. Don’t waste your time or your money, this horrible product will never grow your firm.

  19. Robert O'neil says:

    Save your money and time, you won’t regret it.

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