Lawyer Advertising Is Not Free!

Ever since attorney John McMahan left the insurance defense firm of Leitner, Williams, Dooley & Napolitan and started using the phrase “The Insider,” the social media outlets have gained a steadily increasing source of revenue from attorneys.

            The origin of John’s use of the appealing self-proclaimed title was created by local talk show host Jeff Styles who was also working for an ad agency.  The name “Insider” has been purchased from John by two associates in his firm when he retired to Florida because of a serious illness.  They have become one of the three or four largest advertisers in the Chattanooga area.

            For some time, few lawyers engaged in any competition with John as many clung to the now antiquated idea that lawyer advertising was beneath the dignity of the legal profession.

            The Chattanooga television, radio, print, and website markets are being overwhelmed with the never ending competition for the right to represent the injured, maimed, or deceased in any type of accident.

            Tennessee’s weak non-solicitation rule of no contact with an injured person for thirty days after the date of the accident is easily circumvented.  Law firms without mentioning the specific accident put articles on their websites informing the public of their self-proclaimed expertise in that particular accident area.  Another firm suddenly appeared in television and billboard ads on the top of a tractor-trailer shortly after a fatal accident in the Ooltewah area that occurred on June 25, 2015, and resulted in six deaths.

            The 2016 advertising revenue in Chattanooga by Kantar Media lists the following numbers spent on lawyer advertising with that agency by the top seven law firms:



1.     Wettermark & Keith (Birmingham, Alabama)             $1,125,600.00

2.     McMahan (The Insiders)                                            $936,400.00

3.     Charles Pittman (Huntsville, Alabama)                       $762,900.00

4.     Massey & Associates (Got to get Gary)                     $423,600.00

5.     Warren & Griffin (Best Law Firm?)                           $300,200.00

6.     Eron Epstein (Bankruptcy)                                          $281,400.00

7.     Thomas Bible (Bankruptcy)                                        $250,200.00


            Another fifty (50) law firms locally or out-of-state used Kantar Media’s services to advertise in the Chattanooga market.  Said numbers do not reflect any additional funds spent on other areas of social media not handled by Kantar Media.

            Obviously advertising works.  It gets the attention of those exposed to its message.  The lacking piece of the advertising puzzle is that these ads do not in any way address the legal ability and results achieved except in self-laudatory language by the lawyers, professional actors, or clients who have had their cases settled.

            There are over 1,200 lawyers in the Chattanooga area.  Many are capable of handling the cases solicited by the advertising attorneys.  We recommend that you confer with several law firms before you choose to entrust an attorney with a matter that may greatly affect your legal rights.