March 01, 2018 Feature

What’s So Special About a New Jersey Lawyer, Anyway?

Robert E. Shapiro

Next time you are counting the cars on the New Jersey turnpike, see if your eyes are diverted to a different but hardly more edifying phenomenon. There, as all across America, on huge highway billboards, just as on baseball video boards, in newspaper ads, and on TV, you will see the less than completely happy consequences of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Bates v. Arizona permitting lawyer advertising. The nearly ubiquitous character of these adverts can be a bit jarring, particularly since many tend to be no more tasteful than the other advertisements they may have supplanted. “Win Big Verdicts!!” “Get Cash!!” “Hurt in an Accident?” All too successfully, lawyers have gotten in the habit of selling themselves and their services to Americans just as soapsuds manufacturers and plumbing services did in yesteryear, though perhaps less honestly because lawyers are less certain than their fellow advertisers to be able to deliver the goods.

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