When it comes to legal advertising all you need is money. What you may not be aware of is that the money that goes into legal marketing is rarely money that is paid directly out of the pockets of the lawyers who are doing the advertising.
If you live in metro Atlanta you probably drive by countless billboards advertising personal injury lawyers every day. “If you were injured in a car wreck, call now!”, “Get your money fast!”, every attorney promises quick compensation if you just give them a call. When you turn on your TV you know who the big spenders are.
The American Tort Reform Association reported that between 2017 and 2021, $6.8 billion was spent on more than 77 million national and local ads. In 2021 Georgia was amongst 5 states with the largest spends in legal advertising. It’s almost exclusively personal injury lawyers who are doing this advertising.
The high costs of car crash lawyer ads often result in higher fees for the injured victims who need the financial compensation the most. Additionally, there are banks that cater specifically to lawyers to finance the entire advertisement campaign. Essentially taking liens against the individual cases and potentially even having the interest on those loans’ charges against individual cases where the clients themselves are paying for the slick marketing.
Google’s Find a Lawyer Near Me
The same thing happens on the internet. The lawyers you see on the top of the search results in Google or Bing are there because they paid the most money in PPC (per-per-click) ads and targeted keywords. This does not automatically mean that they are the best in their field of practice or that they even have an office in your zip code.
You can find quality representation on the internet, just don’t assume that it’s the first law firm you see in your search results.
CONSUMER TIP: Scroll past the first page of lawyers advertising under “Sponsored” or “Ad” if you really want to find a reputable lawyer with a successful law practice near you. Nobody goes to page 2 of any search results but maybe it’s time to start doing so.
TikTok Lawyers and Instagram Law Influencers
Social media changed the game too because it’s so easy to create a perception of yourself without there being any substance to it. It used to be that to put yourself out there as a lawyer of substance and quality you had to have actual substance and quality behind you.
Too many lawyers spend their time chasing the latest marketing trends with funny videos and hashtags instead of taking cases to trial and gaining invaluable experience in the courtroom. The unfortunate result is that the legal advice that is being put out to people on social media is flashy and funny, but it often lacks any substance or value.
It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t follow any lawyers on social media or that there aren’t good lawyers on Instagram. But is a law influencer the same as an experienced lawyer?
CONSUMER TIP: Before you retain an attorney investigate his/her professional track record litigating cases instead of how many followers he/she has on social media.
1-800-Get-You-Paid-Fast Law Firms
It’s not all that different with a law firm that has 800 offices managing auto wreck cases. High volume law firms have too many clients and not enough experienced car accident lawyers to handle the cases properly. These big law firms often default to settling cases as quickly as they can to cover the overhead instead of filing lawsuits and pushing for top settlements. It’s a never ending shoveling of coal for a quick buck.
CONSUMER TIP: Do your homework before hiring a lawyer. Free consultations are standard in personal injury law and provide you an opportunity to interview a lawyer before signing any contracts.
A survey by Public Opinion Strategies found that one-in-four people who saw an ad by a law firm concerning a medicine they take, said they would immediately stop taking the medicine without consulting their doctor. A 2019 FDA research study showed 66 reports of adverse events after patients discontinued their blood thinner medication (Pradaxa, Xarelto, Eliquis or Savaysa) after viewing a lawyer advertisement.
CONSUMER TIP: Products liability litigation is particularly complex because of the laws and regulations. Talk to a lawyer that specializes in pharmaceutical product liability.
So How Do You Avoid Hiring a Bad Lawyer?
Think of your lawyer in the same way you would think of your doctor. If you develop severe back pain and need back surgery, you will want to see the best surgeon who is a specialist in treating the lumbar spine.
Do you want the doctor who has trendy TikToks, videos of his plane on Insta reels and does funny dances? Or would you want your back surgery to be done by the doctor who has done the procedure hundreds of times? And on top of it teaches other doctors how to do it successfully, has a track record of doing it and is still doing it.
Personal injury attorney Bruce Hagen and criminal lawyer Ray Giudice discuss the state of legal marketing in their podcast, Your Day in Court. Listen to this mini clip for tips on how to avoid hiring a bad lawyer.
Is Legal Advertising Bad?
The American Bar Association stated, “If a lawyer avoids false, misleading, or deceptive representations, or coercive or misleading solicitation, it advances the goal of bringing needed legal services to more people than are now being served”.
Legal advertising can be useful in finding a lawyer who has the experience and expertise to help you with your problem. When done properly, it can help consumers make informed decisions between law firms and uphold their legal rights.
Some people may not realize that the problem they are dealing with may have legal dimensions, or that a law firm could help them. Even if a TV ad or a billboard for a lawyer doesn’t provide reliable information about the quality of the law firm that paid for the ad, it can still communicate to the viewer that there may be a solution to their problem.
However, when lawyers provide the public with a misleading picture of legal services, suggesting that legal issues can be solved with a quick fix then they can cause more harm than good.
What Does Good Lawyer Marketing Look Like?
- It shows competence and integrity as well as the lawyer’s commitment to serve the public’s legal needs.
- It’s truthful and accurate, and not misleading or false. Ambiguous or confusing advertising can be misleading.
- It’s upfront and clear in describing fees and associated costs.
- It’s respectful, inclusive and appropriate to the viewers.
- It’s educational and informative with high quality content on the lawyer’s website, radio show or podcast.
- It follows Georgia’s Rules of Professional Conduct to ensure that the advertisement is done in a fair and honest manner.
In an ideal world, injured victims would choose personal injury law firms through knowledgeable referrals like friends and family, or by comparing objective information about the lawyers in their area. If the financial incentives of every law firm were aligned with professionalism and excellence in service then their profits would depend on the real value that they offer to their clients, and not their marketing budgets.
Have You Been Injured In a Car Wreck?
If you have been injured in car crash, truck wreck or bicycle accident we hope you choose our law firm. At Hagen Rosskopf we are committed to providing each of our clients with professional, respectful, and compassionate legal services.