I’ve been working out in the afternoon at a gym with a wall of TVs in the cardio room. A TV is tuned into each of the local channels and the popular cable channels. I find myself mystified by the number of lawyer commercials.

Both the number of commercials and the number of different law firms doing the advertising is amazing. It’s a free-for-all. Local lawyers competing with national firms that must spend millions on advertising.

Saying there are “a lot” of lawyer commercials on daytime TV isn’t descriptive enough. They run–one after the other–for entire commercial breaks.

The newest entry into the market is William Shatner starring in ads for the “Hurt Line.” I can’t figure out where the ‘Hurt Line’ law firm is out of. A google search reveals offices all over. But I like the celebrity pitchman. I always thought Ric Flair would make a great pitchman for lawyer commercials.

Filings are low, defense lawyers complain about not having enough to do and compared to the medical bills, the settlement value of cases is the lowest in my 25 years of practice.  Yet TV advertising is more prominent than ever.

What conclusions does this suggest? Why does it seem more competitive than ever for routine personal injury cases?

It’s probably a reflection of how few people in Mississippi can afford to pay a criminal or domestic lawyer. That drives solo and small firm lawyers into competition for personal injury cases.

Non-television forms of advertising must not work well. John Morgan says you need to advertise on TV. It’s not a secret. He says it in his books.

What about internet marketing with pay-per-click search engine ads? Apparently, it’s not enough.

15-20 years ago Jackson lawyers were spending $5,000 a month on double page Yellow Page ads. Not anymore. That $60k will buy a lot of daytime TV commercials.

High risk litigation in Mississippi is on life support. Medical malpractice, nursing home, products liability….all very expensive to litigate and easy to lose. Garden variety personal injury is much safer.

But wow. The competition for garden variety PI cases has never been fiercer. More lawyers competing for fewer viable cases.

Success is not guaranteed. The thing about blowing a bunch of money on advertising is there are no guarantees of a return on the investment. You can lose money.

My conclusion is it’s a reflection on how hard it is to make money in other areas of the law.

And it doesn’t make me want to spend more on advertising and marketing. In fact, just the opposite. Good old fashion ‘networking’ is still the best way to get cases.