Television Advertising For Lawyers

Written by Robert Mac
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Television advertising for lawyers was once illegal. This was years ago, and since then TV, the nature of advertising, and the legal profession have all changed. Now television advertising for lawyers is a huge industry--lawyers spent about $293 million on local TV ads in 2003.

Before Television Advertising for Lawyers Was Common

Just over a quarter-century ago, the legal community frowned on any ads for lawyers.. Because lawyers viewed their profession as a noble one, worthy of much dignity, they banned advertising outright, even though they tolerated a law firm listing their company in various directories. That all changed in 1977, when the Supreme Court ruled that the ban was illegal.

Much has changed since then. The legal profession has reinvented itself somewhat: no longer are they only button-down professionals, but vital service providers for the downtrodden. And because there are many of these service-based firms vying for business in the free enterprise system, they need to advertise their services, rates, and qualifications.

We live in a society that hinges on business and commerce, and television advertising for lawyers is one of the offspring of such a society. That's not to say that lawyers can say and do anything in their ads. The American Bar Association has a number of guidelines for lawyer ads that aim to maintain the dignity of the legal profession.


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