Study: Trial Lawyers Spent More Than $360 Mil. on New York State Ads Over Past 5 Years

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From 2017 through 2021, trial lawyer groups flooded New Yorkers
with more than 3.5 million ads

A new report analyzing trial lawyer advertising over the past five years revealed that $360.5 million was spent on more than 3.5 million legal services ads in New York state between 2017 and 2021.

“These latest advertising numbers show that plaintiff’s attorneys aren’t slowing down in their relentless pursuit of their next payday,” said American Tort Reform Association President Tiger Joyce. “It is clear that trial lawyers continue to put profits ahead of vulnerable members of our society who are being misled by deceptive ads.”

From 2017 through 2021, trial lawyers aired 3.2 million ads for legal services on local television broadcast networks throughout the Empire State, costing more than $270 million. Approximately 833,000 of those ads, costing $59.3 million, aired in 2021 alone. For comparison, in 2021 pizza companies only spent $1.1 million on 30,475 local television ads across the state and furniture stores spent $24.3 million on 153,920 ads.

Beyond local television ads, trial lawyers dropped another $23.9 million on radio ads and billboards last year in New York, bringing their five-year total on the two mediums to more than $90 million.

“Trial lawyer groups spend obscene amounts of money on advertising because they know it’s an effective way to needlessly scare consumers and encourage them to file lawsuits,” Joyce said. “However, these advertisements are often intentionally misleading and can lead to devastating consequences.”

A 2019 FDA study shows the real-life consequences of deceptive trial lawyer ads. The report found 66 incidents of adverse events following patients discontinuing the use of blood thinner medication (Pradaxa, Xarelto, Eliquis, or Savaysa) after viewing a lawyer advertisement. The median patient age was 70, and 98% stopped medication use without consulting their doctor. Thirty-three patients experienced a stroke, 24 experienced another severe injury, and seven died. 

Dr. Shawn H. Fleming, the doctor for one of the deceased, stated before a 2017 U.S. House Judiciary Committee hearing, “It’s my opinion that the tone and content of these advertisements imply a qualitative judgment about these medications that are just not true. When you say call 1-800-BAD-DRUG, that implies it’s a bad drug, which runs counter to current medical evidence and also to the FDA’s recommendations.” 

Last year, New York state was ranked the second-worst “Judicial Hellhole®” in the country by the American Tort Reform Foundation. The annual report ranks the most unjust local courts and state civil justice systems in the country. In 2020, more food-related lawsuits pervaded New York courts than the next highest four states combined. According to the New York Civil Justice Institute, consumer class actions in New York tripled between 2017 and 2020, largely due to food and beverage lawsuits, which accounted for approximately 60 percent of such claims in 2020.

“While some states have taken action to prevent misleading legal advertisements, New York has not prioritized accountability and transparency in legal ads that could protect consumers from bad actors,” Joyce said.

The full report on trial lawyer advertising is available at and utilizes Kantar data.

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