Lawyers Near Me: The Scoop Behind Trial Lawyer Advertising 

Have you ever done an internet search for topics like ‘personal injury lawyers near me,’ ‘attorneys near me,’ or ‘how to join a class action lawsuit?’ Well, trial lawyers are banking on…

Have you ever done an internet search for topics like ‘personal injury lawyers near me,’ ‘attorneys near me,’ or ‘how to join a class action lawsuit?’ Well, trial lawyers are banking on you searching for those terms and lots like them. 

Trial lawyers spend millions of dollars each year on advertising, hoping you will see them or look them up in an internet search. They can afford to spend massive amounts on advertising because they know they could make so much more money when you sign up as a client. We all know what these ads look like. They can vary from misleading TV ads that claim a medication has been recalled, to advertising a 1-800-HURT-NOW phone number on a billboard, to paid ads on Google to display when you search terms like ‘personal injury lawyers near me.’ 

According to data from Sensor Tower—a digital advertisement analytics firm—Morgan & Morgan, which claims it’s the biggest personal injury law firm in the country, spent $40.3 million on digital ads in 2023—an increase of 47% from 2022. Morgan & Morgan is spending big on TV ads, too. Data from the TV advertisement intelligence platform Tunnl shows the firm spent nearly $240 million on television ads in 2023. To put it in context, a 2020 ILR report found trial lawyers and lead generators collectively spent about $400 million on TV commercials in trying to amass clients for five of the biggest mass tort lawsuits in recent history. This shows how much trial lawyers are spending on television ads to reel in more clients and make more money. 

Before you search for lawyers near you or call the number shown on TV or a billboard, it is important to understand the myriad of ethical concerns arising from trial lawyer ads. Some ads use misleading and fearmongering tactics, like dramatic voice-overs, or government agency logos and official-sounding language like “drug alert.” Others promise multi-million and billion-dollar settlements without mentioning the real amount plaintiffs got after the appeals process.  

The truth about trial lawyer advertising is that they often give the false impression of plaintiffs receiving high monetary awards when the lawyers pocket most of the settlement or award. The trial bar has turned advertising into one of its top strategies to blitz the public and fuel litigation.  

Multiple states are now taking action to rein in unscrupulous trial lawyer advertising tactics. In June 2023, Florida enacted a bill that prohibits legal ads from using government agency logos to suggest the agency supports the ad and requires a legal services advertiser to secure express written consent before selling or sharing private health information provided in response to an ad, with any third party. Other states, including Kansas, Tennessee, and West Virginia, have also enacted protections for consumers against misleading lawsuit ads in recent years.

Courts are also taking a closer look at the effects of these lawsuit ads. In January 2022, the Texas Supreme Court ruled that lawyers in the Longhorn State “must disclose the amount actually received by the client with equal or greater prominence to avoid creating unjustified expectations on the part of potential clients,” claiming that “a communication about legal services may be misleading because it omits an important fact or tells only part of the truth.” Many speculate that this ruling was handed down because of the infamous Thomas Henry billboard, which touted a $1.25 billion verdict award but didn’t disclose that the client didn’t receive any of it.  

While there may be times that you might need to search for a personal injury lawyer near you, remember to watch out for those who use shameless advertising tactics.