Stay away from law firms with big advertising campaigns?

Should one steer clear of law firms that have big advertising campaigns? Dr. Mark Burhenne wants people to stay away from dental offices that have big advertising campaigns.

I can’t answer your question but really wonder if there is so much litigation business to make all this advertising pay. We have a handful of local firms and one national one on TV steadily.

I was watching Court TV today and a few of the commenters talked about a very famous lawyer just retained by a defendant. It seems this lawyer is Jose Baez and recently represented and got Casey Anthony free.

They said that by having this particular lawyer, it kinda tells everyone that this defendant is very rich AND the jurors may tend to assume that she is guilty. I don’t know about the guilty part but the defendant seems willing to pour in lots of money to prove it.

As a dentist, I can second that recommendation. You cannot imagine the horror stories I see from corporate dental chain clinics that advertise on TV.

Had a patient that used those lawyers who advertise on the radio on the time to represent men in divorce. You hardly ever get the lawyers who advertise on the radio. It is some employee lawyer. He got horrible representation and got screwed in the divorce.

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Definitely better to get a recommendation from a friend or family member or an attorney you know who has a different area of practice.

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The one time I hired a locally well known lawyer to defend me, he was familiar with the prosecutor and my case was dismissed. I can’t say for sure that I could have done that myself but it spared me the trouble of a court appearance and travel so I feel it was worth it.

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Doubtful. Jurors won’t know who the lawyer is. I’m a lawyer, and I wouldn’t even have known who that lawyer is.

Yes, but only marginally. Outside of the small groups of “really good” and “really bad,” I can’t distinguish attorneys who practice in other areas. When people ask me for a referral, all I can usually do is tell them who I know.

As a side note, one firm that advertises a lot on TV (or at least, they advertise during the half-hour I watch TV each week) sent me a mailer recently offering me $1000 for every client I refer to them. I will sure as hell never refer anyone to them.

That is surprising. Such an arrangement is illegal in the health professions. I am surprised it is not illegal in the legal profession as well.

I suspect that as far as the state bars are concerned, it’s not that much different than a partner taking a cut of an associate’s billings, which they all do at every law firm everywhere. But it seems extra-sleazy if I don’t know the lawyers I’m referring people to, and if I have no connection to or involvement in the case. At least at a law firm, I can theoretically supervise the associates.

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Rat, how might a person distinguish a good law firm such as if they were needing a divorce lawyer or to consider bankruptcy and not have too many promises

Since you’re an attorney, I thought to ask you

I’d think there are a lot of mills out there to get clients with unrealistic promises and expectations

But it is very different. One is a kickback for referrals, purely and simply.

The other is a contractual agreement where the junior lawyer is essentially an employee or at least an individual contractor, obligated to pay a percent stipulated by a contract to his employer.

If you know someone who’s used a lawyer for a similar issue in your area, they would be able to tell you if they’re happy with the service they got, and might even have a view of an attorney on the other side. Again, they probably can’t tell the vast middle from one another, but they will certainly be able to identify the “really bad” group.

Outside of that, I’d look at claimed expertise and experience. Don’t hire an attorney who claims to do divorces, bankruptcies, wills, and criminal defense for any reason. If you need a divorce, hire an attorney who claims to do just divorces, child custody, etc. If you are looking at bankruptcy, hire someone who does bankruptcies all day long. They are out there. It’s ok if others at their firm do the other stuff. It’s generally good if they have others they can lean on. It keeps them from trying to do things they aren’t qualified to do. If you do find a competent attorney you like at a general practice firm, then chances are you’ll be happy with that firm for other work later on, if you need it. Your first attorney won’t necessarily be doing the work, but will want to make sure that you are happy.

As for experience, look for someone at least a few years out of law school. If the person you hire is new, make sure there’s a senior attorney supervising. If the firm’s web site doesn’t say what year the attorney graduated or was admitted to the bar, check the state bar’s roster.

I’m (obviously) not your lawyer, I’m probably not licensed to practice in your state, and this is (obviously) not legal advice, just in case anyone wasn’t sure. :slightly_smiling_face: