I ran across this story while doing some research on disreputable attorneys who use misleading advertising to solicit clients. Back in 2003, the Indiana Supreme Court reprimanded two personal injury lawyers and their law firm for using misleading television ads that violated state ethics rules. The TV ad depicts a conference room where actors portraying insurance adjusters are discussing a claim. An older man, the "senior adjuster," asks a younger man, the "junior adjuster," how the claim should be handled. The junior adjuster describes the claim as ".
a large claim, serious auto accident" and suggests they try to deny and delay to see if the claimant will "crack." The senior adjuster then asks which lawyer represents the victim, whereupon the junior adjuster responds says the name of the firm. A metallic sound effect follows and the senior adjuster, now looking concerned, states: "Let's settle this one.
" At this point in the advertisement, actor Robert Vaughn appears on screen and advises viewers, "[T]he insurance companies know the name (law firm name)." Mr. Vaughn then invites individuals who have been injured in an auto accident to tell the insurance companies they "mean business" by calling the law firm. Mr. Vaughn provides the lawyers' telephone number, which also appears at the bottom of the screen. The lawyers ran two other similar TV ads.
The Indiana Supreme Court ruled that the ads were deceptive and misleading, resulting in a formal admonishment and reprimand. The lawyers were ordered to pull the ads. Can you believe the measures that some attorneys will go to in an effort to get clients? You need to know that: Although the bar association has rules that govern lawyer advertising, it usually does not actively investigate, restrict or determine whether each lawyer who advertises is a specialist or has experience with the type of case being advertised and whether his claims are legitimate. There are no restrictions on the different types of law that the lawyer wants to advertise. You should be extremely careful about choosing an attorney based solely on that attorney's advertising claim, whether the ad is in the phone book or on television. Did you know that there are companies that offer prewritten and pre-shot TV commercials for personal injury attorneys? Any attorney with enough money can pay to be on the list, including attorneys who have never tried a case in court.
Many times the attorney who has paid the fee is not necessarily the most experienced lawyer for your case. I'm not saying that all attorneys who use TV advertising are inexperienced. But you should not rely on TV advertising alone when choosing a lawyer.
Just a word to the wise.
Christopher M. Davis is the managing partner of Davis Law Group. He brings over 15 years of practical yet innovative experience to personal injury cases. He practices law in Seattle, WA. You can learn more about Mr. Davis at http://www.InjuryTrialLawyer.com or http://www.seattleaccidentnews.com.