Study: Trial Lawyers Spent More Than $69 Mil. on Missouri TV Ads Over Past 5 Years

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From 2017 through 2021, trial lawyer groups flooded Missouri airwaves
with more than 1.2 million TV ads

A new report analyzing trial lawyer advertising over the past five years revealed that $97.6 million was spent on more than 2.9 million legal services ads in Missouri 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 Missouri 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 1.2 million ads for legal services aired on local television broadcast networks throughout the Show Me State, with a cost exceeding $69 million. Over 300,000 of those ads, costing approximately $17 million, aired in 2021 alone. For comparison, in 2021 pizza companies only spent $1.96 million on 14,258 local television ads in Missouri and furniture companies spent $10.1 million on 123,566 ads.

Beyond local television ads, trial lawyers dropped another $7 million on radio ads and billboards last year in Missouri, bringing their five-year total on the two mediums to more than $28 million. Overall, trial lawyer groups spent nearly $100 million on legal advertising in Missouri 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 St. Louis, Missouri in its annual list of “Judicial Hellholes®,” which ranks the  most unjust local courts and state civil justice systems in the country. In June 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court delivered a critical reminder about the importance of states enacting civil justice reform and reining in activist judges. The Court announced that it would not review a landmark talcum powder case (Ingham) which resulted in a multi-billion-dollar verdict out of the City of St. Louis Circuit Court.

“While some states have taken action to prevent misleading legal advertisements, Missouri’s lawmakers need to take steps to increase accountability and transparency in legal ads to 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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