When Law Firm Advertising Goes Wrong

DWI / DUI Law Firm Sponsors Bar Night to Get New Business

This article was inspired by a recent post at Bitter Lawyers. In the post, the author interviews several lawyers who have come up with some… unconventional marketing moves. One attorney, rather unapologetically, admitted to creating more drunk drivers to increase her business:

“If you can’t find more drunk drivers, why not make more drunk drivers?” Simpson and her firm, Simpson and Associates began hosting Happy Hour events throughout the Denver area. They worked with local bars to offer $1 shots and $1.50 PBR’s to the locals all while passing out business cards throughout the crowd.

“We saw an immediate increase in business,” said Simpson

Sure it gained business for the law firm, but then you become that kind of law firm. It’s not doing a whole lot to demonstrate the integrity of the legal profession when you’re seeking to gain new clients by inducing them to drink more.

Am I off base here?

Here’s my flow chart take on the situation:

What happens then when a patron drunkenly drives and gets into an accident, injuring or killing the patron, or worse, a pedestrian. Will the law firm be sued and found liable for contributory / comparative negligence? The law firm possibly knew or should have known that people would drink the cheap drinks sponsored by the law firm and drive home. The article suggests that the law firm actually wanted to encourage this activity because they wanted more business. So it must also be foreseeable that a drunk driver could get injured in an accident or could injure someone else.

There’s a line.

The article also discusses a DUI lawyer who advertises on the wristbands designating “above 21” offered by bars.  While this lawyer (like any DUI lawyer) is hoping for people to get arrested for DUIs and think of his law firm when seeking a lawyer, this lawyer is not shoveling drinks down people’s throats to get them drunk.

Andrew Cabasso
About the Author: Andrew Cabasso
Andrew Cabasso is a practicing attorney and VP of Web Services at Uptime Legal where he runs JurisPage, an Internet Marketing firm specializing in online presence solutions for law firms including website design, SEO, and search marketing. He has given many lectures and CLEs on website design and Internet marketing to legal professionals. He is the author of Search Engine Optimization for Lawyers and The Complete Guide to Attorney PPC. Follow Andrew on LinkedIn, Google+, or Twitter.

2 comments on “When Law Firm Advertising Goes Wrong”

  • That article at Bitter Lawyer is satirical. They should make this clear. The Colorado Supreme Court Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel has no record of any Shelly Simpson. The same is true in Texas of Jon Kumar and in Nevada of Tara Knapp, also mentioned in the Bitter Lawyer article. None of these people are, or have ever been, members of their respective State Bars.

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