It seems that every year there are more and more billboards and advertisements for legal services. Do you ever wonder what happens when someone calls the catchy 800 number on the billboard? In fact, many of these advertisements are not for law firms at all. Rather, they are lawyer or medical referral services. Others may be law firms from outside the area with high volume personal injury practices. Billboards and banners often boast about how hard the firm will fight for its clients. But who are the lawyers behind the advertisements and how hard do they really fight?
In August, a Denver Colorado jury awarded a verdict in excess of $2 million, including $1.5 million in punitive damages against a high volume advertising law firm, which was sued by a former client. The client, Daniell Goff claimed the firm was a “settlement mill” that pressured her to settle her auto accident case for a fraction of what it was worth. Goff hired the law firm of Anderson, Hemmat & Levine after an auto accident. Goff claimed her case was settled for a fraction of what it was worth and that the law firm failed to discover a one million dollar umbrella policy which could have provided her with more compensation. Discovery in the lawsuit between the law firm and Goff also revealed an email between two of the firm’s attorneys which referred to Goff and her husband as “toothless cooties.” Goff’s Court filings also contended the AHL law firm had settled 99.7 percent of its cases (including 678 in one year alone) and that the average case involved merely ten hours of attorney time.