Monday, Aug. 28, 2017 | 2 a.m.
By Attorney Judah Zakalik, Esq., Partner, Peters and Associates, LLP
Question: I’m new to Las Vegas, and one of the first things I noticed was a large number of legal advertising — magazines, billboards, radio, TV commercials, it goes on and on. What’s the deal with that? And how is one supposed to choose a lawyer when they actually need legal help?
Answer: It’s true, there are more legal advertisements here than in most other cities across the country. As one of the law firms advertising in this market, we get asked about it all the time, so we thought it was fitting to answer the question using an advertising vehicle.
New residents and visitors
There are a few factors to explain the amount of legal advertising in the Las Vegas Valley. One of the biggest is that Las Vegas is a destination city with a transient local population, collecting thousands of new residents per month.
With so many new people in the market regularly, it’s important for law firms to reach them as soon as possible. In many other cities, law firms rely heavily on referrals and pre-existing relationships to grow their business, but word-of-mouth referrals aren’t as common in Las Vegas.
Meanwhile, a heavy tourist population requires aggressive advertising as well. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority reports that in 2016, Las Vegas saw more than 42 million visitors come through the city.
Though tourism doesn’t account for the majority of legal cases in Las Vegas, it certainly accounts for some — particularly personal injury cases. Again, most of these people don’t have personal roots in the city, so effective advertising is important.
Types of lawsuit
Another reason for so much advertising is that we have a lot of car crashes, DUIs and insurance claims in Las Vegas. Simply having a high volume of people who need legal counsel, especially for personal injury, traffic and/or small claims cases, means more advertising for those services.
Similarly, debt relief is huge here. Many people need bankruptcy and loan modification services but oftentimes, the topic is cloaked in embarrassment. Even if someone had a friend or family member who could refer them to a good bankruptcy attorney, most people are too ashamed to ask. Debt affects most Americans — there’s absolutely no reason to feel that shame — but even still, it is a consistent trend we see among our clients.
Awards and accolades
The awards, rankings and other accolades we receive as attorneys are an honor, but they’re not everything. Most reputable law firms will have an extensive list of awards they’ve collected over the years. While it’s great to be recognized by our peers — as most awards are based on peer reviews — we think client experience is far more important.
When choosing a lawyer, go ahead and take note of their awards, but don’t let it drive your decision.
How to choose a lawyer in Las Vegas
With so many options and so much noise in the marketplace, it can seem overwhelming to choose the right lawyer for you. Here are some tips:
1. Do your research. Make a list of potential attorneys/law firms you may be interested in based on online reviews, the Nevada Bar Association registry, etc.
2. Call for a consultation. Most law firms offer free consultations—take them. Meet with the attorney, see their offices, ask questions and discuss your concerns. Ideally, you should be meeting with one of the firm’s partners, not a junior lawyer, paralegal or assistant. It’s important to know who is ultimately responsible for your case. And remember—it’s okay to do multiple consultations if needed.
3. Don’t be swayed by pricing. Discounts and low prices are a common advertising technique, but typically the cheapest option isn’t the best. Focus instead on finding an attorney with whom you can communicate well and trust.
Please note: The information in this column is intended for general purposes only and is not to be considered legal or professional advice of any kind. You should seek advice that is specific to your problem before taking or refraining from any action and should not rely on the information in this column.