Lawyers can advertise, but they must follow legal advertising standards and ethical obligations. Those in favor of legal advertising are generally convinced that advertisements provide consumers with information about legal services. As long as promotional material is not misleading or false, legal advertising should be subject to minimum restrictions. However, advocates point out that most lawyers refrain from advertising or do so in the most conservative way, in order to avoid censorship by their bar associations.
If this surprises you, it wasn't until 1977, in Bates v. Arizona Bar Association, 433 WS. In the Bates case, the United States Supreme Court held that lawyers' advertising was a commercial expression that deserved protection under the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution. Lawyers who choose not to advertise or who cannot afford to do so can continue to compete.
These lawyers have a lot to offer potential clients and can compete in areas where large law firms that advertise normally cannot. Lawyers who don't advertise can offer many services with a more personal touch. For example, I used to tell potential clients that I would accompany them for physical exams through no fault of their own, something that a larger law firm wouldn't normally do. These lawyers can advertise their personality cheaply and very effectively.
Many clients would like to know the person they are hiring rather than which law office they are hiring. Many customers don't want to be represented by a big company because they fear they won't receive the personalized service they want. Because of the popularity of collective advertising services for lawyers, which reach just over 72% of American households, and advertising from individual law firms is likely to reach close to 100% of American households, it seems that there are quite a few lawyers in favor of advertising. I haven't seen any personal injury lawyer advertising on New York television who doesn't have much experience, and a review of the graphic ads in the classified ads section of major New York newspapers revealed advertisements from experienced law firms.
It was also reported that these lawyers (those who don't advertise) state that “in the worst situations, disreputable firms can attract large numbers of clients with flashy advertisements, settle a high percentage of cases for quick money and pass the rest on to other law firms. Brokers decrease the value of advertising for legitimate law firms and are the biggest problem facing personal injury lawyers today. Krause mentioned to a client in Florida that he couldn't find a lawyer to handle his case, until he found the Colling and Gilbert law firm in a television commercial.