Like most Nashville drivers, I spend a lot of time these days crawling along in the city’s increasingly crazy traffic, longing for some clear, open road. Stopped dead in a recent rush hour, I was struck by the number of ads for lawyers all around me. Splashed across billboards and plastered on the sides of passing city buses, they’re everywhere.
I did a bit of homework on attorney advertising, and quickly found out that before 1977, a lawyer publicly soliciting services was considered by the American Bar Association to be below the dignity of the profession, and it was pretty much illegal across the country. A Supreme Court decision back in ‘77 changed all that, and the floodgates opened for attorney advertising.
While advertising is used across a wide range of specialties, the most common ads are those from what are known as “tort” lawyers – things like personal injury and medical malpractice. Frankly, in both design quality and tone of messaging, the vast majority of these ads don’t do a lot to dispel the “ambulance chaser” stereotype.Read More