Lawyer Advertising That Means Nothing

By: Gary E Rosenberg

1. We get quick settlements.

Now any lawyer might make a telephone call to try to negotiate a settlement. And settlements are usually good things: an agreement between the opposing parties to the mutual benefit of each.

But it is a mistake to hire a law firm that advertises that its goal is to settle cases. You see, there are few secrets in this business. Many lawyers know each other or each other's firms or each other's reputations. And this "quick settlement" advertisement is out there just to attract new clients. It says nothing good about the quality of that law firm's services. In reality, a firm known for settling cases is a firm that won't fight.

I would rather hire the lawyer who has a reputation for being tough on defendants and their insurance carriers - who strikes fear in their hearts - than hire a lawyer who is known as a quick or easy settler. Because the insurance companies know who these lawyers and law firms are. You can not get top dollar for your case with the "quick settlers" because the insurance carriers know these law firms want the quick settlement and won't go to court. Such firms need to settle, to live up to their advertising. Is that who you really want to handle your accident case? Remember, you don't get a second chance to get top dollar.

2. [Fill in the number] years combined experience.

Now I have 23 years of experience practicing law. Would that really be equal to four attorneys with five years experience and one with three years experience? No.

3. Free consultation.

All personal injury attorneys give one.

4. No fee unless successful.

Most personal injury attorneys utilize this type of fee called a "contingent" or "contingency" fee and based on a percentage of the money recovered, typically, one-third. YOU NEED TO KNOW that you, the client, remains responsible for case expenses and disbursements, such as: court filing fees, fees for medical and hospital records, expenses of investigation, court reporter fees, and the like. Your lawyer is supposed to tell you that the costs and disbursements remain you, the client's, responsibility.

Advancing case expenses is like an interest-free loan that the attorney makes on every accident case. This is a loan that the client must repay when his or her case settles. This is not the equivalent of a lawyer loaning money directly to the client, which is not permitted. Now advancing case expenses is not a terrible problem because attorneys generally won't advance a lot of money on questionable cases that they feel might not win. But that accident attorneys advance case expenses that are repayable by the client is something you should know.

5. Home/hospital visits available: we come to you.

Most personal injury attorneys do this. And it's not a big deal, as long as you've called that attorney and asked for the visit.

6. Telephone #'s that spell things, like 1-800-HurtInAnAccident.

A very strong, memorable marketing tool. Usually used by services that refer cases to member law firms. So the question becomes: who will be your attorney? Does the referral service tell you? Does it even know whom it is sending your telephone call to? And this again raises all of the previously discussed questions about your attorney's qualifications and ability.

7. Call 24 hours/7 days a week.

What, you hired an attorney that doesn't sleep?

8. Slogans like: We fight hard for you; we care for you; we kick insurance company butt; we provide aggressive representation. (This is a partial list.)

This is meaningless drivel.

If you think about it carefully, the things that most attorneys advertise, such as the numbered items above, are the same as every other attorney advertises. Worse yet, they do not address the important questions, such as the ten items listed above. So read what I've written carefully, then read it again. Otherwise, you may not even know the questions to ask, let alone what the answers should be.


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