California Trial Lawyer Advertising

ATRA’s latest report shows that lawyer ads are big business in California – those ads that tell you to “Call now to get what you deserve!”

In the first half of 2022, it is estimated that $34 million were spent to air approximately 250,000 television ads for local legal services or soliciting legal claims in California’s top three media markets – Los Angeles, San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, and Sacramento-Stockton-Modesto. Much of this advertising is conducted by aggregators: businesses that recruit potential plaintiffs and then sell their information to law firms.

In addition to these local ads, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Sacramento television viewers were also exposed to an additional 61,000 legal services TV ads that aired nationally across the United States at an estimated cost of $66 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.”

ATRA President Tiger Joyce

These ads include those soliciting claims alleging injuries caused by consumer products, pharmaceutical drugs, and medical devices. Top targets of these ads include Roundup weed killer, talcum powder and, more recently, the herbicide paraquat.


Roundup weed killer has been the top target of mass tort product liability litigation TV ads since 2015, with an estimated $131 million spent on more than 625,000 ads airing nationally and locally across the country.

Talcum Powder

Second only to Roundup litigation ads, are ads soliciting claims alleging a link between the use of talcum powder and incidences of cancer. An estimated $109 million has been spent on more than 370,000 talc litigation ads nationwide since 2015.

Paraquat Herbicide

Since the beginning of 2021, more TV ads have aired across the country soliciting claims alleging injuries caused by paraquat than mass tort ads related to any other product. More than $24 million has been spent to air more than 150,000 of these ads since 2021.

In California, an estimated $565,000 was spent on 2,500 paraquat litigation ads across the Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Sacramento media markets during the first half of 2022. The number of ads soliciting paraquat claims airing locally in Los Angeles tripled from the first to the second quarters.

“Not only do these ads contribute to a heightened burden on our judicial system, they also are often intentionally misleading and can lead to devastating consequences.”

ATRA President Tiger Joyce

2019 FDA study shows the real-life consequences of these ads. The report found 66 reports of adverse events following patients discontinuing their 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 with their doctor. Thirty-three patients experienced a stroke, 24 experienced another serious injury, and seven people died.

“It’s my opinion that the tone and content of these advertisements imply qualitative judgments about these medications that is just not true.

When you say call 1-800-BAD-DRUG, that clearly implies it’s a bad drug, which runs counter to current medical evidence and also to the FDA’s recommendations.” 

Dr. Shawn H. Fleming, doctor for one of the deceased, testifying before Congress

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