DO PEOPLE CHOOSE LAWYERS BASED SOLELY ON THEIR ADS? . . . In Missouri, there are new rules for lawyer advertising, including a requirement that print and broadcast ads contain the following "conspicuous" disclaimer:
The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements.
Don't most people know that already? And if they don't, will they be persuaded to change their usual practice of choosing a lawyer with the biggest, flashiest ad as a result of the new disclaimer?
I don't think so, but it doesn't bother me to have to add the language to any advertising I do in Missouri. I wonder if the corporate defense firms will be so agreeable, since their advertising often doesn't lend itself to a disclaimer like the one that's being required. The firm I worked at for six years after law school, for example, recently did some radio advertising that was described in a newspaper article over the weekend:
Thompson Coburn LLP devised a radio campaign, "Spotlight on St. Louis," that was launched last year in conjunction with its 75th anniversary. The 60-second radio spots, running on stations KMOX and KRTS, focused on the history of 78 local companies, charities and landmarks. The end of each segment said it was sponsored by Thompson Coburn, with offices in St. Louis, Belleville and Washington. . . .
The campaign ran for 26 weeks and cost the firm $65,000.
That's lawyer advertising that's designed not to sound like lawyer advertising. Its target audience is sophisticated businesspeople, not unsophisticated consumers. The new disclaimer would be confusing and unnecessary in that case, assuming the idea of the new disclaimer is to prevent lawyers from taking advantage of unsophisticated consumers.