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In a recent announcement, Google confirmed that lawyers no longer need to go through an additional background check to achieve "Google Screened" status for their Local Services Ads. Learn more about this change and what it means for lawyers.
Google just announced that starting today (October 18, 2021) new sign ups for LSAs in lawyer verticals in all states will no longer have a background check requirement. Per Google, this is because lawyers undergo an extensive, equivalent background check as part of the licensing process. This is big news considering the previous background check process (and challenges) that attorneys previously faced in order to obtain the Google Screened badge.
What This Change Means for Lawyers
Per Google’s announcement, all lawyer accounts no longer need a background check for LSAs. This alleviates the challenges attorneys previously faced when working with the third party background check companies to meet Google’s requirements for the “Google Screened” designation.
Over the next month, Google will be removing the background check requirement from applicable LSA dashboards on all previously created accounts. If you notice that your background check isn’t checked off as completed, keep in mind that it will not negatively impact your account or prevent your ad from being served.
As of October 18, 2021, new sign ups for the legal vertical (lawyers and law firms) and existing accounts will not be required to start or complete a background check. That said, lawyers in New Hampshire and and South Dakota will still need to submit their information for review since the state bar doesn’t provide an online resource for Google to check.
In addition, after receiving the Google Screened badge, it is highly recommended that lawyers occasionally check their license information in the LSA dashboard in case the status has changed or there is a glitch, which could prevent your ad from showing.
Make Sure to Update Your Profiles
While lawyers no longer need to complete a background check for LSAs, it is still important to keep your attorney licenses up-to-date in the LSA dashboard. You may receive an email notification from Google stating that in order to keep your LSAs running, you’ll need to update the insurance information (applicable in some states) and licenses on file. However, you should be proactive as you may not always receive such a notification. You can check the current status of your license with Google simply by logging into the LSA dashboard and viewing the license in the Business Verification section.
Final Thoughts: Why Do You Care?
Google is implementing a major change in its LSA onboarding procedure. Not requiring background checks for lawyers will help to quicken the process to obtain a Google Screened badge and will help to alleviate previous issues that some users had when completing background checks.