In a world where advertising is coming at you from everywhere knowing what is true and what isn’t can be difficult. We recently talked to our legal expert Dan Christensen about deceptive advertising practices by lawyers. Dan is back to dig a little deeper into the topic with us. Welcome Dan.
A San Antonio newspaper recently reported that the Texas Supreme Court amended lawyer advertising rules because of a firm’s deceptive practices. The State Bar of Texas’ Committee on Disciplinary Rules and Referenda said they had never seen this before.
What exactly was the problem with this lawyer’s ads?
Well, according to the article, the lawyer advertised a massive $1.25B verdict, but failed to disclose that it was merely a default judgment. A default judgment is when the other side does not even show up and the lawyer just takes a judgment. It would be akin to the Longhorn football team claiming a “win” when their opponent failed to show up.
What are the dangers of an advertisement that might be false or misleading?
Some thought that claiming a big verdict like that when there was no opponent, and no money was ever collected for the client was misleading. But,honestly, this is just one example of how lawyer advertising can be misleading. I know of another lawyer advertising a big settlement, tens of millions of dollars, and all he did was sign it up and refer it out. I know of another lawyer who is advertising results obtained at a prior law firm with other lawyers. In all of these cases, the results they are advertising are not reflective of that lawyer’s experience.
How can people know what is the truth and what isn’t?
First thing is, don’t believe everything you hear or read. Ask questions, just like you would of anyone else you hire. If you are hiring a TRIAL lawyer, then I suggest you ask them directly about their TRIAL experience. If they are advertising some big result, pin them down on the specifics – did THEY actually get that result or did someone else, and was anything ever really collected?
What are 5 key things people should be looking for when hiring a personal injury attorney?
Experienced, Board Certified in personal injury trial law.
Only do personal injury
Big enough, but not too big
There are lawyers who advertise in Austin but don’t have their practice here. DC Law has been part of Austin for 25 years. What are the advantages of using DC Law over a firm from another city like Dallas or San Antonio?
You are right, many law firms advertise here, but are not really from here. Some don’t even have an office here, or may have a small, little satellite office. Hiring a firm like DC Law based here in Austin ensures that they will know who are the best doctors, will know the local judges and will understand the local jury pool.
You’re not just a lawyer, but you also served our country in the U.S. Army as a JAG officer or Army lawyer. What principles did you bring from your experience in JAG to your team at DC Law?
In the military, it is all about Duty, Honor and Country. They are a little different applied in the context of a civilian law firm, but in essence:
Duty means doing what is right and not what is easy. Going to trial and fighting for justice is hard work, but if that is what has to be done, that is what we do.
Honor means being honest and professional. This sometimes means we have to tell our clients things they don’t want to hear. But, we have to give them the truth.
Country means that we always want to conduct ourselves in a manner that promotes public confidence in our justice system. And, to go back to the advertising issue we were discussing before, always being clear and honest about our experience and prior results.
About DC Law
“DC Law is the largest veteran-owned Austin-based personal injury law firm in Texas. Attorney Dan Christensen is a former military member who has devoted over twenty-five years to helping others.”
“The attorneys at DC Law are board-certified in personal injury trial law. That means that is our only job and that is what we do. These are complicated cases and you have to have a thorough understanding of The Federal Motor Safety Regulations. That is why it is important to contact someone who specializes in these cases.”
DC Law’s attorneys are available 24/7, including nights and weekends. Contact the law firm for a free consultation at TexasJustice.com or call 512-888-9999. They have two locations at 1012 W Anderson Ln and 5717 S IH 35 Frontage Road.
This segment is paid for by DC Law and is intended as an advertisement. Opinions expressed by the guest(s) on this program are solely those of the guest(s) and are not endorsed by this television station.