One thing is sure — The legal market is saturated with big promises. From billboards to television to radio, they want you to call. They all have their catch phrase. But, I recently watched a lawyer advertising video that was truly insane. That advertising lawyer wants you to hire him simply because he may have had a family member in the past with the same legal problem!
Yes, it was a Huntsville law firm. I clicked on their website where they advertise for personal injury cases (as well as every other legal issue you can imagine). Somebody look at you wrong? These lawyers tell you they got it covered. From A to Z, “we got this” the lawyer says with a smile. They got it all covered, at least in their advertising.
Of course, their website has some really, really small fine print (as required by Alabama rules) telling you the truth — They really just want your personal injury case to refer it to another lawyer for a cut of the fee. The fine print discloses that they really send these cases to other firms for the heavy lifting. Do they really handle personal injury cases all the way through trial and appeal?
So, I clicked their FAQ section for the question that asked what experience they have in the area of personal injury. I figured that would be interesting since I’ve never seen any of their lawyers at any docket call for a personal injury case. So, what did I see? I saw a video where one of the lawyers tells the viewer his family has experienced every area of the law in which they practice from DUIs, other criminal arrests, elderly planning, divorces, real estate, and even, personal injury. With all that family drama he experiences, their Thanksgiving dinners must be pretty interesting! Not once did the lawyer say he actually led the trial or appeal of serious personal injury cases. Not one time.
Instead, he wants to sell the idea that he is an expert simply because a member of his family suffered your problem? Really? I’m sure most of us have relatives who’ve experienced major surgery. That certainly does not make us expert surgeons!
I’m reminded of the television commercial where the actor professes expertise in some complicated area because he or she stayed in a certain hotel the previous night. You’ve probably seen those commercials. They are entertaining. The Huntsville lawyer’s video would be entertaining as well if not for the real harm that can happen when people trust serious legal matters to lawyers who lack true experience handling them.
An advertising lawyer is no expert in elder law simply because he has an elderly relative. Nor is he an expert in divorce because his uncle went through a bitter break-up. When it comes to serious personal injury cases, real expertise is learned handling injury cases at trial and appeal. Real expertise is gained only through doing the hard work of preparing and trying these specific cases. Big talk is nothing more than big talk. Too often, false lawyer promises and big talk just make the injury and damage worse in the long-run.
Why do I feel so strongly about this type of lawyer advertising? I frequently receive calls from personal injury victims who had their case ruined by a lawyer without the experience or dedication to handle it. That’s why. These callers have been victimized twice. First, they suffered in the accident. Then, they suffered a second time at the hands of someone who promised help. I think that’s wrong. As a profession, I believe lawyers can (and should) do better.
From its office in Huntsville, the Blackwell Law Firm helps people with serious personal injuries across Alabama. We focus all our effort and study on this area of the law so we can best serve our clients.