I have previously posted about lawyer ads on TV for personal injury claims in Orlando. I highlighted ads from a lawyer who is not a Florida Bar Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer who is all over the TV soliciting personal injury and auto accident victims in Florida and especially Orlando. One of the blogs discussed a TV ad that advertised the “goal” of the lawyer to recover 25 million dollars next year and how that really has nothing to do with how well he serves his clients. Well I just saw a new ad discussing that the lawyer has represented certain types of people like doctors, nurses and “retired judges”.
Now what is interesting is that Florida Bar Rules prohibit testimonials from former clients touting how great a job the lawyer did for them in their personal injury claim. The reason for this rule is that it is misleading to the public to represent that a lawyer can obtain a good result in your case because he had a client who believes the lawyer did a good job in the client’s case (whether or not that client can even determine if the lawyer did a good job as other lawyers may have done much better for the client). Now listing the professions of former clients is not a testimonial but is the intention and spirit behind the rule prohibiting testimonials violated with a TV ad bragging about the professions of former clients?
One must ask what purpose does it serve to the public to advertise that you have represented doctors, nurses or former judges? Clearly one result of the ad is to imply that this lawyer must be a good lawyer if he represents former judges. How does one know if that is even true. Did he really represent former judges (plural) or one judge? What if the judge is the lawyer’s relative? What if the former judge thinks the lawyer did a crap job in the personal injury case? What if the lawyer agreed to do the case for free so he could tell everyone on TV he represented former judges? What was the cleint a judge of? Was he or she a beauty contest judge? One can see that although not a testimonial, there are many questions raised by a personal injury lawyers TV ads that brag about the professions of former clients. They tell nothing about the lawyers qualifications or ability or how well the lawyer will do in your case. In fact, these ads imply that the lawyer must be qualified if these other smart professionals hired him. As we can see that is not a valid conclusion and one needs to know much more about the lawyer and even about the former clients and the results obtained for them before such a conclusion can be made.
I have represented doctors, nurses and many other lawyers in injury claims. I do not think from that alone you should draw any conclusions about my qualifications. Instead I would look to the Florida Bar. Ask if the lawyer is Board Certified as a Civil Trial Lawyer by the Florida Bar. That is an objective mark of quality about the lawyer’s skill and experience. I would require nothing less in any lawyer I hired and you should do the same.
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Board Certified as a Civil Trial Lawyer by the Florida Bar is very important. It is worth posting what you need to do to qualify. Basically try cases and do what they hire a trial lawyer to do.
Unfortunately, being a Board Certified Attorney does not prevent all the negative side effects some attorneys make. Marketing decisions are made in a competitive marketplace where the consumer is for the most part ignorant to the quality of service being provided. It is at that point that better judgment on the part of advertising attorneys gives way to the acceptability within mass media. It is in the wake of that disturbing trend that quality attorneys give way to the competitive marketplace tactics.
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