Reports Reveal Influence of Trial Lawyers on New Jersey’s Legal Landscape

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Two New Reports Analyze Legal Services Advertising Trends and Campaign Contributions

Two groundbreaking reports released today by the American Tort Reform Association illuminate the pervasive influence of trial lawyers on New Jersey’s political landscape and public perceptions.

The first report delves into the evolving trends in legal services advertising over the past four years while the second analyzes New Jersey campaign contributions made by plaintiffs’ lawyers since 2017.

“These reports provide a sobering glimpse into the nexus of law, politics, and public perception in New Jersey,” Tiger Joyce, ATRA president said. “The significant campaign contributions from plaintiffs’ firms raise concerns about the potential influence on legislative and judicial decisions. Meanwhile, their ads are another aggressive tactic employed by trial lawyers to solicit clients, often utilizing dubious claims.”

Legal Services Advertising Trends

In 2023, ATRA estimates $105.3 million was spent on more than 642,600 local legal services advertisements in New Jersey. This comprehensive analysis covers various mediums, including print, digital, radio, outdoor, and TV. The data revealed a significant increase in spending across multiple platforms, with spot TV ads alone surpassing previous years’ spending by more than 11%.

ATRA’s analysis highlights a notable shift in plaintiffs’ firm’s advertising strategies in recent years. While spending on print ads witnessed a decline, there was a substantial increase in spending on spot TV, radio, and outdoor ads. Notably, personal injury attorneys dominated the advertising landscape, with more than half of the ads focusing on this area of law.

“Trial lawyers continue to pump significant money into these ad buys because, armed with more clients, they can boost settlements and payouts when they go after large corporations, ultimately raking in larger contingency fees for themselves,” Joyce said. “Then, their strategic campaign investments serve to sway the outcomes of these legal battles.”

Campaign Contributions from Plaintiffs’ Firms

The second report sheds light on the extensive campaign contributions made by lawyers from 20 plaintiffs’ firms to New Jersey political campaigns and committees since 2017. These were the Top 20 firms for political contributions over the past five years and, collectively, contributed more than $2 million through nearly 3,000 individual contributions. Malamut & Associates and Javerbaum Wurgraft emerged as the top donors, with each firm contributing more than $200,000. The New Jersey Association for Justice PAC, the political arm of the New Jersey Association for Justice, received over $400,000 from the 20 firms.

Other top recipients of contributions from plaintiffs’ firms include New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and fellow trial lawyer New Jersey Senate President Nicholas Scutari.

“Such close financial ties between trial lawyers and politicians raise concerns about undue influence and a lack of transparency,” Joyce said.

Beyond the political sphere, ATRA points out the economic and individual impacts of excessive tort costs in New Jersey. Every New Jersey resident pays a “tort tax” of more than $1,757 every year due to excessive tort costs. These excessive tort costs further result in a loss of nearly 150,000 New Jersey jobs every year.

“With insight into the machine and the trial lawyer playbook, it’s easy to see how our legal system can be easily skewed against consumers and taxpayers,” Joyce said. “We end up with an overly litigious environment that inflates costs for everyone across the board.”

By shedding light on these practices in and around New Jersey, ATRA aims to empower citizens with the knowledge to demand accountability and transparency from trial lawyers and their allies.

For a comprehensive overview of the reports, including detailed methodology and additional insights, visit

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