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Bankrupt Firm Owes $1.5M for Phone Book Ads

Here is the best reason yet for lawyers to quit advertising in yellow pages -- in fact, here are 1.5 million reasons. A Florida personal injury firm filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy this week, listing debts of $2.5 million to its top 12 creditors, $1.5 million of that for advertising in various phone directories.

The bankruptcy was filed by A Advocates & Attorneys -- a name no doubt chosen to appear at the top of the telephone listings. A Advocates is an affiliate of the Kennedy Law Group in Tampa, according to a report published yesterday by the Tampa Bay Business Journal. The firm also does business under the names of A Professional Association of Trial Lawyers and A Personal Injury Law firm.

Thomas J. Kennedy, the president of the firm, is known in the Tampa Bay area for his regular appearances as the legal expert for Daytime, a television program that airs mornings on Tampa's NBC affiliate, Channel 8.

According to the Business Journal, the firm's bankruptcy filing lists assets of between $100,000 and $500,000 and liabilities of between $1 million and $10 million. The firm owes $1.1 million to Idearc Media, the official publisher of telephone directories for Verizon Communications. Idearc filed its own Chapter 11 last March. The firm also owes $182,000 to Dex Yellow Pages of Maitland, a telephone directory publisher owned by R.H. Donnelley Corp.; $124,000 to AT&T Yellow Pages; $70,000 to Wenstrom Communications; and $44,500 to Yellow Book of Dallas.

In an age of social media, I cannot imagine how directory advertising can be worth this kind of money. Lawyers should let their fingers do the walking -- right out of the phone book and onto their keyboards. Launch a blog. Start to Twitter. Join Facebook. It won't cost anywhere near $1.5 million. As a matter of fact, it needn't cost a penny.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on September 9, 2009 at 11:39 AM | Permalink | Comments (2)

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