Did you know it was unethical for lawyers to advertise before 1977. They were not allowed to. This is why you never saw a cheesy attorney commercial while watching Gilligan’s Island, The Munsters, The Brady Bunch, The Love Boat, or Three’s Company.
Then, in 1977, the U.S. Supreme Court lifted the ban on lawyer advertising in a case called Bates. Thereafter, lawyers began to test the waters with print ads. Then came radio, and finally, those slick TV ads.
Most prestigious and well established law firms don’t advertise on TV, as they still remember the prohibitions, and feel advertising “cheapens” lawyer services.
Your best bet for finding a good lawyer is to obtain referrals from your friends and professionals you do business with (i.e. your tax person, doctor, your parents, etc.). You can also check with the Minnesota State Bar Association. They have a referral service. Remember, catchy commercials don’t necessarily guarantee you top-notch representation.
I am “old school” and feel lawyer advertising does, in fact, cheapen the profession, and gives consumers the wrong perception of the legal field. I can also tell you that jurors who actually decide cases are not big on the whole “lets sue everyone” advertising mentality which surrounds our pop culture today. You have to ask yourself if it is in your best interests to be associated with those Wacky TV attorneys.
Rich Hechter, J.D., MBA