Advertising is a venue used to reach the masses for many products and services. Whet her it's the image of a basketball icon or a familiar cartoon character, everyone is trying to make an impressionable thirty-second niche that will persuade the public to seek their product or service.
Yet , when there is a multitude of advertisers in one sector, the advertisements can suddenly change from catchy segue to annoying imagery for the consumer. Within the legal industry, many lawyers try to stand out from the brigade of attorneys by advertising their talent to the public. Unfortunately, it is the spirited few that use theatrical maneuvers that seem to test the ethical sensitivity of society. Advertisements using business cards that are reminiscent of Monopoly's "get-out-of-jail-free" cards; medical concerns; negative imagery of legal counterparts; and toll-free telephone assistance after an injury have sodden the professional image of the legal profession.
This research project provides examples of legal advertising from past to present, and relevant court decisions that both oppose and defend a lawyers' right to market their services to the public sector. Although legal advertising is a national controversy, this paper will direct its focus on how current remedies affect the legal environment in Michigan.
Part I of this review researches the landmark case Bates v. State Bar of Arizona, 433 U.S. 350 (1977), and its historical ruling that gave "constitutional protection to law firm marketing and advertisements " (ABA Journal, 1995).
Part II focuses on the general interest in legal advertising and marketing that is prevalent today, including ethical sensitivity and professional image concerns.
Part III examines recent court rulings that either defend or oppose current marketing tactics. This section also provides professional commentary on a recent case that affects the current state of legal advertising .
Part IV provides a conclusion about the future of legal advertisements with the introduction of advertising bans, and the effects on the legal consumer. Lastly, Part V is a personal conclusion on the research topic.