Lawyer Spending on TV Ads Growing Six Times Faster than All Others, Report Finds

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October 27, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Lawyer spending on television advertising is growing faster than all others and online legal key word advertising is among the most expensive in America, according to a new report released today at the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform’s (ILR) 16th Annual Legal Reform Summit.

The report, Trial Lawyer Marketing: Broadcast, Search, and Social Strategies, found that in 2015 lawyers are projected to spend $892 million on television advertising alone, 68% more than they spent in 2008. Lawyer television ad spending grew six times faster than all other television ad spending during this period.

The report also found that 23 of the top 25 Google key words linking ads to user searches are for personal injury law firms. “San Antonio car wreck attorney” is the most expensive Google key words phrase at $670 per click.

"The plaintiffs' bar orchestrates some of the most sophisticated and relentless marketing campaigns in our society,” said Lisa A. Rickard, president of ILR. “With top key words for lawsuits costing more than $600 per click, there is clearly huge money to be made in the lawsuit industry. But is this the kind of civil justice system we wish to have?"

The report found that the highest numbers of ads run by personal injury lawyers are in the Tampa and Orlando, Florida television markets. According to the report’s analysis of television advertising in the U.S., the most money projected to be spent by a single law firm this year is the $25 million paid by a plaintiffs’ law firm based in Houston, Texas. The largest single category for the lawyer television ads is pharmaceuticals, followed by medical devices and asbestos/mesothelioma.

The report further outlines how law firms are creating networks of informational or “fishing” websites that collect personal data, while using social media to publicize lawsuits to journalists, ally with activist groups, and sponsor seemingly anonymous accounts to market their lawsuits.

ILR also released studies at the Summit on:

  • The patchwork of civil liability that U.S. companies face over data breaches, including actions by federal regulators, state attorneys general and private plaintiffs;
  • The constitutional constraints that limit excessive and duplicative government fines and penalties, including the Excessive Fines and Due Process Clauses; and,
  • Suggesting procedural improvements for multidistrict litigation actions to weed out dubious claims in the early stages and prevent MDLs from becoming “lawsuit magnets.”


As part of the event, ILR also honored key individuals and organizations working to improve America’s litigation environment with its annual Legal Reform Awards.

More information on ILR’s research and award recipients is available here.

ILR seeks to promote civil justice reform through legislative, political, judicial, and educational activities at the national, state, and local levels.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.