When things go bad all you need to do is pick up the phone and CALL. Since the US Supreme Court allowed lawyers to advertise in the 1970s, practices like these have skyrocketed, with often shoddily-produced results. Are tacky lawyer ads trashing the profession or simply making it more easily accessible to those who might not otherwise know who to call when they need an attorney?

We are rebroadcasting a long-time favorite episode from our archive as we slow down for the summer. We aim to publish some classic episodes until we return in the fall. Please do not hesitate to reach out in the meantime with suggestions or comments!

Below please find producer Sean Cole’s original write-up for Call NOW!

I have always been so impressed by lawyer commercials on TV, and by impressed I mean…totally confused. I’m always like, “Who told you that disaster footage or wooden readings from cue cards or your cousin wearing a judge’s robe would be a great way to represent your law practice?” But then I stumbled into the engine room of lawyer advertising regulation. And learned about the silent era before these ads were even allowed. And the Big Bang after which they couldn’t be contained. And the subtle, possibly endless civil war in Lawyer Nation over how and even whether attorneys should advertise their services—whether lawyers have doomed themselves as a profession with all these swiveling gavels and toll-free numbers, or whether they’re reaching the aggrieved, attorney-less masses while exercising their First Amendment rights to free speech.

If you want to know more, click on the audio above. Hammers await you. Flaming cars and talking cars and possibly aliens await you. Seriously, do not delay: CLICK NOW.


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Production Credits:

Reporter/Producer: Sean Cole
Producer: Kaitlin Prest
Music: Kyle Kaplan, Todd MacDonald, Matthew Darr
Additional Production: Shannon Heffernan, Ashleyanne Krigbaum
Additional Music – Andrea Hendrickson
Social Media Editor – Rachael Cain
Executive Producer – Nancy Mullane
Executive Director – Tony Gannon
We are a non-profit project of the Tides Center and we’re part of the Panoply Network of Podcasts from Slate. You can also find Life of the Law on PRX, Public Radio Exchange.

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