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Not Worth the Volume

THE TRUTH ABOUT TV LAWYERS — AND HOW TO PICK ONE WHO CARES

Article by Stephen Becker

Photography by Provided

We’ve all seen them: Personal injury law firms urging on TV commercials and billboards for you

to call a toll-free number right away. In recent years, lawyer advertising seems to have exploded

in Alabama, and the message of most of those ads is often the same. The advertisement will first

highlight that you don’t owe the lawyers a fee unless you win. However, that is nothing new, nor

is it at all unique to TV lawyers. Indeed, such a “contingent fee,” where the lawyer is paid only

an agreed-upon percentage of any recovery, is extremely common, if not the standard, in

personal injury and wrongful death cases — and has been for many decades. Further, this kind

of arrangement is expressly authorized in such cases by the Alabama rules governing attorney

ethics. See Rule 1.5(c), Alabama Rules of Professional Responsibility.

TV and billboard lawyers will also often emphasize how big their law firm is, suggesting that it

makes them able to fight against a big insurance company looking to take advantage of you. It is

certainly true that if you bring a substantial claim for personal injury or wrongful death, you will

be set against a defendant corporation or insurance company that has far greater financial

resources than you do. They will have full-time employees, claims adjusters and lawyers who

regularly work on the same kind of cases that you would bring. And while that does mean you

will likely need an experienced lawyer to handle your case, it does not mean you need to hire a

lawyer based on a TV commercial or a billboard. And it does not mean that you need to hire a

law firm whose biggest selling point is how many lawyers it has or how many personal injury

cases it has handled.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, choosing the right lawyer to represent you

is probably the most important decision you make in your case. It can make the difference

between holding a wrongdoer legally accountable or not, and also the amount that you are able

ultimately to recover.

The fact is, many of the law firms that blanket the airwaves and billboards employ a business

model designed to handle cases on a volume basis. They may sign up as many clients as possible,

settle their cases as quickly as possible, get their fee and move on to the next ones. The person

who you talk to on the other end of that toll-free number probably will not be the same person

you might talk to in the firm’s offices later — if you get to talk to anyone there — and neither may

be a lawyer who actually represents you on your case, if they are lawyers at all! Likewise, much

of the work done on your case, if not virtually all of it, may be handled by office staff who are

also not lawyers. And unless you have a personal connection to your lawyer, you might find it

more difficult to know what’s happening in your case and what decisions are being made on it.

All of this could mean that they don’t necessarily devote the time to understand your personal

situation or to fully litigate all aspects of your claim. It might mean your case gets over more

quickly, but it might not be the best result for you as the client.

At Glenda Cochran Associates, we have decades of experience fighting for the best possible

outcome for our clients who have suffered serious, often debilitating, personal injuries or who

have had a loved one killed in an accident. You can see by our results. We view each case as

unique and deserving of our full attention. You will know there are qualified lawyers working on

your case and who they are. We will get you the compensation to which you are entitled as soon

as reasonably possible, but we will never sacrifice a quick settlement of your case just so we can

move on to the next one. What that means is that we will work each case to uncover that crucial

piece of evidence or that hidden witness necessary to obtain the highest verdict or settlement.

We will understand the full nature of your injuries and how they have affected your life and your

family’s life. We pride ourselves on the close personal relationships we build with our clients and

on the recommendations those clients have made to others on our behalf. You will know who

your lawyers are, and that we are personally fighting for you. Call us today.