Some lawyers report business is slow due to the recession. Moreover, the news media has amply reported on the layoffs at the big law firms, especially among Big Law’s banking, real estate, construction and securities lawyers. It’s the economy. And readjustments are happening.
Bankruptcy filings, for example, are up. Consumer bankruptcy lawyers are busy. Divorce filings, on the other hand, are down. So some family law attorneys are finding cross but cashless couples unable to dissolve their marriages. And even formerly recession-proof areas of law like criminal defense are reportedly undergoing a slow down of sorts.
So depending on the area of law, legal business may be up or down. The Arizona Bar recently did its own member survey gauging the temper of the times for lawyers. The report, Bad Faith, Our Economic Survey of Arizona Lawyers can be found at http://www.myazbar.org/AZAttorney/PDF_Articles/A0209EconSurvey.pdf
What does all of this mean? For some, it may mean broadening their legal practice into new legal areas. For others, it may mean discounting fees or introducing more flexible client billing rates. The latter may be good news for clients.
On the flip side, some firms may opt for more in-your-face marketing. After all, there’s a lot of competing ad noise in the marketplace. Signs are some lawyers are already trying a more aggressive tack at differentiation. An insomniac told me the other day about a dancing lawyer commercial he saw on early A.M. television.
Other ads may not be as self-deprecating as the dancing PI lawyers. Although, you have to admit, the ad with the talking four-legged literal runner is funny! Then again, is there an arguable ABA Model Ethics Rule 7.3 non-solicitation problem with the lawyer and his helpful pooch?
Anyhow, here’s the small sampling (and who knew there were so many so-called Heavy Hitters across the nation?)
Will lawyer street corner sign spinners be next?
Real estate developers began using human billboards during the boom-boom residential real estate days. But with real estate cratered, entrepreneurial street corner sign spinners now hawk everything from windshield glass replacement to cars to fast food. A Phoenix McDonalds franchisee, for example, immortalized their street spinner with a television commercial that went viral on the Internet and national t.v.
Perhaps it’s only a matter of time before the arrow advertisers tie in with a risible legal services marketer. But when that happens, will a state’s lawyer ethics rule obligate the lawyer and not a stand-in to spin the advertising sign?