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In order to find out how people around the country choose their attorneys, Moses & Rooth conducted a survey that produced interesting results based on various demographics. One such result revealed that out of 486 responses from the Southern region of the U.S., 16% – the largest percentage – of Southerners preferred to find their attorneys through friend referrals rather than search on the Internet. This is likely due to the strong, traditional, and exclusive culture of the South. In describing Southern pride and loyalty in “Heritage of the South”, Tim Jacobson declared:
“More than any other part of America, the South stands apart . . . Thousands of Northerners and foreigners have migrated to it . . . but Southerners they will not become . . . They are proud to be Americans . . . But they are conscious of another loyalty too, one that transcends the usual ties of national patriotism and state pride. It is a loyalty to a place where habits are strong and memories are long. If those memories could speak, they would tell stories of a region powerfully shaped by its history and determined to pass it on to future generations.”
A Sub-culture Created by Agriculture, History, and Religion
A sub-culture shaped by agriculture, history and religion may strongly affect why Southerners would prefer friend referrals to find an attorney. First, Southern culture developed primarily around the predominant role of agriculture in its early and modern economy. Famous for its production of cotton, tobacco and indigo, Southern agriculture influenced the social structure of its society by the status it brought to landowners. The more land and the more prosperous the crop, the higher the owner climbed on the social ladder. Prosperous families often stayed put, and were less likely to venture away in search of a better life. As such, the population of the South grew through its generations and at a slower rate than the North. Thus, communities remained close-knit as their roots continued to grow deeper.
A strong sense of community and interdependence also emanate from the South’s rich history and religious influence. With its ancient practice of slave ownership, the South became more isolated as the Northern and Western states moved away from the practice and began to look upon it with disdain. The Civil War strengthened the bond among Southerners, as they banded together against their scornful brethren to fiercely protect their way of life and their right to live it.
Meanwhile, Christianity continued to evolve and play a central role the preservation of Southern culture, thus further encouraging a sense of community and loyalty among Southerners. Having already experienced multiple religious revivals, the notorious “Bible Belt” buckled around the South and stubbornly fastened its people together through the hardships of war and rejection by its own countrymen.
The deep camaraderie among Southerners would naturally influence their desire to seek each other’s referral when it comes to finding an attorney rather than consulting the Internet. They want to be represented by one of their own, someone that shares their spirit and can be trusted in the Southern community.