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Get Ready for Your Close Up, Counselor. TV Is in Your Future

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By Casey C. Sullivan, Esq. on October 28, 2015 12:58 PM

Congrats, lawyers. You're about to become TV stars. No, they're not casting an attorney-only version of American Ninja Warrior. Rather, lawyers are becoming a more common sight on the boob-tube the more traditional way: buying up advertising.

And buying we are. Spending on television advertising has grown 70 percent over the past seven years, to almost $900 million annually, according to a new report released yesterday by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute for Legal Reform.

The Booming World of Legal Ads

Did someone put legal advertising on steroids and not tell us? Legal advertising has grown six times faster between 2008 and 2015 than all other ad spending, according to the Institute's report. Local advertising doubled, while syndicated ads quadrupled. That growth far outpaced more traditional advertisers like restaurants and retailers.

The biggest spender? Akin Mears, the smallish Texas firm focused on product liability mass torts. The firm of six to ten attorneys spent $25 million on advertising. Thanks to a recent lawsuit by Akin Mears's ex-chief business development officer, we have an idea of where that money is coming from. The firm recently raised $90 million in litigation funding in just four months. Akin Mears was followed by Morgan & Morgan and Pulaski & Middleman, both consumer protection and personal injury firms.

Time to Start Looking for a Special Effects Guy

The Institute's report declares that "legal advertising and marketing communications are a multi-prong, highly sophisticated undertaking by trial lawyers that spans broadcast and digital venues. This is not a resource-starved, grassroots effort but very much a well-funded and coordinated endeavor."

They must not be watching the same lawyer ads that we are.

There is, of course, the Texas Law Hawk, whose screaming theatrics made him an Internet success. (We think he'll make a great Halloween costume.) There's also Jamie Casino, whose pyrotechnic-infused Super Bowl ads we look forward to every year. If you're going to compete in the TV ad game, you'll need some great special effects.

Or, you know, you could take a different approach -- like abandoning TV. Research by Nielsen shows that young adults don't watch much television on TV anymore. Almost half of Millennials, the legal consumers of tomorrow, get their entertainment on their computer, tablet, or smartphone. But when it comes to media consumption, radio still reigns. More Americans tune in to AM and FM radio than any other media type.

Anyone got a good mesothelioma-themed jingle we could borrow?

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