Why Doesn’t Our Firm Advertise On Television?
Our lawyers still believe that the practice of law is a profession and not a business as stated on the homepage of our website.
Don’t get us wrong! All lawyers are out to get business. It may be working at a church or being involved at your children’s school or any other activity. We hope that someone will be impressed enough with us as individuals or as a law firm to seek our services for legal representation.
We run a radio ad on WGOW 102.3 supporting the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga’s athletic teams and mention the type of matters we handle and the backgrounds of our lawyers on our website. We do not boast of large verdicts and settlements that we have received out of respect for our injured or deceased clients and their families.
Prior to 1978 lawyers would be disbarred or suspended from the practice of law for the open and notorious practice of soliciting the injured or surviving relatives of persons killed in personal injury accidents.
When the United States Supreme Court approved legal advertising under the misguided principle of “the public’s right to know” it opened the floodgates to a billion dollar a year advertising industry which allows any lawyer to expound (and exaggerate) their legal ability and achievements.
Let’s give a few examples:
- In Hamilton County the radio, television and billboard industries have been inundated with often comical ads by a lawyer who doesn’t even have a Tennessee law license!
- On cable television law firms mostly from California, Texas and Connecticut tout their expertise in the asbestos related diseases of mesothelioma and cancer. Most of them are merely brokers soliciting cases in return for helping pay for the expensive advertising costs and a percentage of the attorney fees received in settlement by law firms they forward the cases to handle. Many of them are actually not qualified to take the case to trial and/or negotiate adequate settlements.
Since 1973 our office has handled hundreds of these types of cases based upon client contact, referrals from other lawyers and our overall reputation. Jimmy Rodgers has two mesothelioma cases set for trial this spring in Hamilton County. He and Jerry Summers have actually tried cases and been successful at both the trial and appellate level in asbestos cases. Jerry Summers and a former member of the firm, Sandra McCrea, actually tried the first asbestos –related disease case in Hamilton County in the 1970’s.
- Being Board Certified in Civil, Criminal, or Family Law, etc. simply means that you have passed a general written exam that almost any law school graduate could successfully complete. Obtaining the right to advertise that a lawyer is “board certified” in a specific area of the law does not indicate that such a designation is in any way an assurance that said lawyer is more qualified to obtain a better result than non-certified attorneys in a particular case. It merely shows that acquiring board certification demonstrates a particular interest in a designated area and the right to advertise that interest.
- Whether an announced recovery amount on a television ad is in the best interest of a client depends on the ultimate value of the case. For example: Flashing a $450,000 settlement on a television screen in a case worth 2.5 million may be deceptive and an insufficient recovery.
Remember that television advertising in expensive! Lawyers engaging in the media buys are often under pressure to resolve cases with lower recoveries than attorneys who do not have to absorb that additional expense.
In future articles we will address some of the advertising methods employed by attorneys to solicit clients and legal business in the Chattanooga area in an effort to assist the public to make an informed decision as to whom they wish to employ to represent them in important legal matters.