Experience. Experience. This word dominates websites for careers, professions, and skilled trades. Since the internet has become omnipresent in our lives and marketing is dominated by Google, the word experience has become ubiquitous in daily life. I am half-way through my fortieth (40th) year as an attorney. Over those forty years, I have primarily handled injury cases, criminal defense, and mass tort. Admittedly, for the first sixteen years, I handled almost anything that came in the door, but my focus was always on injury and criminal defense. I am thankful for those sixteen years because I learned how to do almost everything a general practice lawyer can handle. I think this overview of general practice was beneficial as I began limiting my practice to injury and criminal defense. I have practiced all over the Jackson Metro area and throughout Mississippi for my 40 years.
In 1980 when I started people found attorneys by word of mouth. It was in the early 1980s when advertising first started, but it was slow to take hold in the legal profession. In many ways, I liked word of mouth more than I do marketing on the internet, television, or any other medium. In the days before the internet (BI), if you worked hard and put your heart into your client’s case, word got out in the community and people seek you out. But “times they are a-changing.” I accept that marketing is a part of every profession or business now. I have presented a statistic recently stating that 80% of the people who sought out a lawyer looked at the lawyer using Google and looked at the lawyer’s website. So, this brings me to the competitive world of legal services. Nowadays you can see billboards, television commercials, internet ads, and newspaper ads for attorneys. I am not complaining about these forms of advertising. It is a way of life, or I should say the way of law-business now. (At Coxwell & Associates we still consider our law careers as a profession and way of life, but that is another blog for another day). It’s not just local home-grown Mississippi attorneys advertising anymore. Now lawyers from across the nation have reached into Mississippi via the internet and are pushing themselves as the lawyer to hire, even though they live 1000 miles away. I often wonder what would prompt a client to hire a lawyer 1000 miles away, but advertising obviously works because it happens daily.
I think of all the things I see, hear, or read in legal advertising and I always come back to the word experience. As I stated earlier, I am in my 40th year. I have handled multi-million-dollar injury (roll-over and big rig collisions) cases, single million-dollar cases (auto collision and private prison litigation), other cases worth only $10,000.00, cases with one injured party and cases with 2000 injured clients. At Coxwell & Associates, we have worked by ourselves and in teams with dozens of lawyers. We are currently working in three mass tort areas (3M Combat Earplug V2 cases, Round-Up cases, Hernia Mesh cases) with dozens upon dozens of attorneys. Many have become very close friends.