For whatever reason Chattanooga has become a lightning rod for competition for getting personal injury cases and lawyer advertising has evolved into a battle between several local and out-of-state television, radio, billboard, and other media advertising venues. I will identify and comment on them individually in future articles.
The first foreign law firm to go on local television was Charles Pitman ("Had a wreck, need a check?") of Huntsville, Alabama, who started his television and billboard campaign right out of law school with some financial assistance from his former father-in-law.
Charles Pitman has invaded the Chattanooga “billboard and television market” in a big way spending $762,900.00 in 2016 to solicit primarily automobile cases from a small office on Shallowford Road in Chattanooga.
Charles Pitman started his legal career in 2008 after he passed the Alabama Bar Exam. He is not licensed in Tennessee and his current state local counsel is Herron Bond whose law license indicates he was admitted to the practice of law in Tennessee in 2014 and has an office in middle Tennessee.
Pitman does not claim to be a trial lawyer but emphasizes fast settlement with his catchy phrases suggesting quick results. Pitman’s website contains vague reference to his associates experience and courtroom experience.
Unfortunately his website makes little reference to his educational background, trial experience, and jury verdicts. One of the themes he pushes in his television ads often adorned in a Superman cape is that we “may be able to keep you out of court.”
This statement suggests a philosophy that displays a reluctance to fight insurance companies in court which will guarantee much lower settlement offers and less protection of clients rights to receive adequate compensation for their injuries.
His law office in the Chattanooga, Nashville, and Knoxville locations are small but equipped with modern communication equipment. A call to the telephone number at any hour goes to a central answering service clerk who attempts to obtain basic information about your case. No representation is made as to whether the call is being handled by a local Tennessee office or being rerouted to a central office. A small first floor office is in the Shallowford Road area of Chattanooga constitutes the Pitman firms location.
The issue exists as to whether those parties receive fair and just compensation under the legal representation of Pitman and his high-cost advertising competition benefits the client, Pitman, insurance companies, insurance defense lawyers, or the media advertising agencies?
In 2015 Pitman and his ex-wife underwent an expensive and entertaining divorce in the Madison County Circuit Court in Huntsville, Alabama, before Circuit Judge Chris Comer. The testimony revealed that Pitman was worth about $7.7 million in the February divorce proceeding and indicated that Pitman spent $1 million dollars on cars in one year and enjoyed a luxurious lifestyle.
Whether the continued cost of the divorce which includes $6,000 a month in child support, $10,000 a month in alimony for 5 years, and an additional $1.1 million in alimony over 8 years to his ex-wife in any way pressures Pitman to increase his advertising budget or settle cases cheaper than full value is yet to be determined in each individual case.
One Chattanooga lawyer after reading a news account about Pitman’s domestic problems flippantly remarked: “Sounds like his marriage was a wreck, now he needs a check!!
I encourage you to buy local products and hire local, reputable attorneys!