The study from the US Chamber Institute for Legal Reform – Trial Lawyer Marketing: Broadcast, Search and Social Strategies – said this figure was 68% up on 2008 and that lawyer TV ad spending grew six times faster than all other TV adspend during this period.
Not only that, legal advertising had doubled its share of local spot advertising and quadrupled its share of syndicated TV ads. It has also been moving toward better strategic ad buy positions in more expensive and preferred day-parts and programmes.
Legal advertising appears to be recession-proof, the report said. And also "politics-proof as it does not come down in election years as it does for other advertisers, due to higher spot costs and lower inventory availability".
The largest single category for lawyer television ads was found to be pharmaceuticals, followed by medical devices and asbestos/mesothelioma.
While television has attracted the most spending, lawyers are actively marketing on all fronts.
The report further outlined how law firms are creating networks of informational or "fishing" websites that collect personal data, while using social media to publicise lawsuits to journalists, ally with activist groups and sponsor seemingly anonymous accounts to market their lawsuits.
The report added that 23 of the top 25 Google key words linking ads to user searches were for personal injury law firms; the most expensive Google key words phrase – at $670 per click – was "San Antonio car wreck attorney".
"The plaintiffs' bar orchestrates some of the most sophisticated and relentless marketing campaigns in our society," said Lisa A. Rickard, president of ILR.
"With top key words for lawsuits costing more than $600 per click, there is clearly huge money to be made in the lawsuit industry. But is this the kind of civil justice system we wish to have?"
Data sourced from Institute for Legal Reform; additional content by Warc staff