Driving home from Bourke Accounting, I was stuck behind a bus at a red light. Attorney T.J. Smith looked down on me from the back of the bus, his face determined, but friendly: he wore a tie, so you know he’s a pro. He wasn’t wearing a suit jacket, which means he’s down to earth. He had his shirtsleeves rolled up, so he’s ready to get to work for you. His tag line read, “T.J. Will Make ‘Em Pay,” so you know he’s…vindictive? T.J. Smith rounded the corner to reassuringly stare at someone else.

Not two minutes later, a self-satisfied Attorney Darryl Isaacs inquired, from a billboard, if I have been injured in an accident. If so, I have to call “The Hammer.” Like a threat from an inept Bob the Builder, ol’ Darryl was even awkwardly holding a hammer. This, in turn, reminded me of the Kaufman & Stigger commercial where Attorney Carla Wells Stigger turns into a poorly animated tiger to intimidate an insurance company bad guy.

While the sad production quality is amusing in personal injury advertisements, the inherent aggression contained within is confusing. Can you imagine if the same belligerent nicknames and rhetoric were used in ads for proctologists (if this were the case, I bet ad execs would suggest something along the lines of “The Shovel Will Get it Done”)? I understand that scared and hurt people want a lawyer who is tenacious enough to fight for a fair settlement, but things are getting a little out of control.

Almost every attorney commercial promises that their firm is the toughest on the block; they never quit, they fight for your rights, they’ll get you the money you deserve, yadda, yadda. When law firms aren’t portraying themselves as the Chuck Norris of litigation, they use scare tactics to imply that insurance companies are villains who want to keep us from our rightful money (while they’re laughing at us and smoking big cigars).

Besides the scare tactics and pugnacious guarantees, I think the worst are the actual client testimonials. These come in two flavors: the wired blonde woman and the average Joe who looks like he hasn’t bathed in a week. The wired blonde’s eyes dart wildly as she tells of the hundreds of thousands she won after being hit by a tractor. The unbathed Joe doesn’t seem to know where he is, pauses to stare blankly at the camera and eventually mumbles that he won big. And these were your most palatable clients?

These commercials are undignified. I have nothing but respect for lawyers and the education, time and hard work it takes to become one. However, these ads are akin to Aphrodite dancing at the Bada Bing – purely bad form. Former State Bar President Harvey I. Saferstein was also disgusted when he warned that “too many of the ads give the justice system a wrong image and a bad image” (LATimes.com). He further cautioned that if something wasn’t done to curtail these ludicrous promotions, the public would eventually totally distrust the legal profession (LATimes.com). He’s got a point: if someone introduces her/himself as a personal injury lawyer, a lot of us automatically think, “Ambulance Chaser.”

Everyone’s gotta make a buck. I simply think that a serious and highly regarded occupation should show more decorum across the board regarding advertisement. If you’re a good enough lawyer, you don’t need a penitentiary moniker and bad computer graphics.

Bourke Accounting doesn’t run commercials during The Jerry Springer Show. In fact, Bourke Accounting doesn’t run commercials at all. Our Bourke Accounting bookkeepers and tax preparers know that one happy client is worth 70 catchy jingles. Meet with a Bourke Accounting pro today and see why, even without nicknames and props, our experts are the best in Louisville.

Come see us any time. Our number is 502-451-8773 and don’t forget to visit our website at www.bourkeaccounting.com. See you soon!

Written by Sue H.