Study: Trial Lawyers Spent More Than $47 Mil. on Pennsylvania Ads in 2021

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In 2021, trial lawyer groups flooded Pennsylvania with nearly 500,000 ads

A new report analyzing trial lawyer advertising over the past five years revealed that $256.7 million was spent on more than 2.6 million legal services ads in Pennsylvania between 2017 and 2021. 

The American Tort Reform Association released its latest study today, which includes data on spending and frequency of legal services ads in media markets across nearly every U.S. state and Washington, DC.

The nationwide survey shows that trial lawyers and aggregators spend enormous sums of money on television, radio and outdoor advertising in Pennsylvania to recruit new clients.

“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, more than 2.1 million ads for legal services aired on local television broadcast networks throughout the Keystone State, costing more than $190 million. Approximately 416,000 of those ads, costing $36.2 million, aired in 2021 alone. For comparison, in 2021 pizza companies only spent $531,200 on 7,990 local ads in Pennsylvania and furniture companies spent $15.1 million on 90,055 ads.

Beyond local television ads, trial lawyers dropped another $11.4 million on radio ads and billboards last year in Pennsylvania, bringing their five-year total on the two mediums to more than $66 million. Overall, trial lawyer groups spent more than $256 million on legal advertising in Pennsylvania over the past half-decade.

“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 percent 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, the American Tort Reform Foundation included the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas and Supreme Court of Pennsylvania in its annual list of Judicial Hellholes®, which ranks the most unjust local courts and state civil justice systems in the country. The Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas has long been a preferred court for pharmaceutical mass torts cases and asbestos litigation, while the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania continues to expand liability for businesses and municipalities across the state.

“While some states have taken action to prevent misleading legal advertisements, Pennsylvania 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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