Lawyer Advertising

Historically, lawyers were prohibited from advertising - they relied on referrals from satisfied clients, other lawyers, and judges to build a practice, plus hard work and years of struggle. In their early years, they had lots of free time and low rates - as they became busier and better known, their skills rose and rates increased, and they became "successful". That changed when the courts ruled that prohibiting advertising interfered with lawyers' freedom of speech.

Today, a lawyer with a few months of experience can run ads and appear to be capable, more prominent, and more experienced than he or she really is. Any lawyer may claim to be a "specialist" or to "specialize" in a particular area of law, even if he or she has never handled such a case. "Experienced" can mean he or she has been a lawyer for a week or maybe handled one case. From some ads, it appears the lawyer may specialize in everything but railroad mergers - this merely means he or she will try to handle anything that comes in the door.

As with all advertising, when reading ads by lawyers and law firms carefully examine the claims made, and the information omitted.

Words like "experienced" and "specialist" have little meaning, without supporting information. You should know how many years the lawyer has actually practiced in the field, how many cases they have handled, whether he or she has adequate, trained, and experienced staff, and who will handle your case [the lawyer you interviewed, or someone else]. Even if the lawyer in the ad is experienced, will he or she be going to court or into negotiations for you? If the ad brags about "the other staff members" who may be handling your case, there is a good chance they are much less qualified that the main lawyer described in the ad.

Some firms [and websites] are merely offices owned by lawyers who will not work on your case, and may not even live in the area or even the state. They may advertise heavily and hire less experienced lawyers to handle the volume of cases their ads bring in. Does the lawyer claim he "supervises" the newer lawyer? Or does the lawyer go to bat for you when you need his or her expertise.

It is one thing to have good support staff preparing forms, organizing documents, and gathering information in your case. It is quite another to have to step down in skills and education when you need an experienced lawyer in court or settlement.

If you have friends who have had a good experience with a lawyer, or know a judge or other lawyer, ask about their experience. If not, read ads carefully to ensure the lawyer is well trained and experienced in Family Law. A review of the resumes of each lawyer on this site will reveal each is well trained, experienced, has been selected by peers to head their organizations, and perform their own legal work. The one you select is the person who will represent you in court or in settlement negotiations