Million Dollar Advocates Forum or Lawyers Gone Wild?

Old lawyer joke: How do you get a million dollar verdict? By screwing up a case worth two million dollars. You’ve probably never heard of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, but if you see one of its certificates hanging in your personal injury lawyer’s office, it should tell you two things. First, your lawyer obtained a verdict of a million dollars or more. Second, your lawyer is a sucker.

Million Dollar Advocates Forum is the Girls Gone Wild of Lawyer Marketing

As far as money-making schemes go, Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Girls Gone Wild are both brilliant in the way they take advantage of human weakness to create an extremely low cost/high profit business model. Because you are likely more familiar with Girls Gone Wild, I’ll begin my comparison with them. Girls Gone Wild creator Joe Francis came up with the brilliant concept of videotaping attractive young women in a party environment (usually one involving large amounts of alcohol) and having them expose themselves to show how “hot” they are. He then sold the resulting DVDs and made a fortune. Before Joe, who would have thought that so many pretty girls would be willing to get naked on camera for free (or the price of a t-shirt or baseball cap)? If Joe proved one thing, it’s that human vanity coupled with an environment conducive to poor decision making can create a multi-million dollar media empire.

So how is Girls Gone Wild’s business model similar to that of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum? Well, I should probably start with what the Million Dollar Advocates Forum is.

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Million Dollar Advocates Forum – What Is It?

I first heard of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum many years ago, right after I obtained my first multi-million dollar verdict. I received an “invitation” in the mail congratulating me on my verdict and inviting me to apply for membership. All I had to do was submit proof of my verdict and a check for several hundred dollars to obtain my lifetime membership in the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, the benefit of which consisted almost entirely of a certificate of membership to hang on my wall. It’s been so long that I can’t remember the exact amount of money they were asking for at the time, but I know it was north of $500.00. I decided to check out their website to see if there was any way they could justify the price they were asking for membership.

As it turns out, the Million Dollar Advocates Forum is not affiliated in any way with any state bar association or the ABA. It was just some California lawyer who made up the group out of thin air as a way to profit from other lawyers’ vanity. What lawyer wouldn’t want to boast about his million dollar verdict via a pretty wall certificate? Plus, the Million Dollar Advocates Forum lists your name on its website. . . which unfortunately your potential clients will never see unless they specifically search for the group. . . which unfortunately, no one’s ever heard of.

Needless to say, I passed on the membership offer.

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Million Dollar Advocates Forum Today

There have been some changes to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum since those years ago when I last looked them up. First, the cost of “membership” is now $1,200.00. Second, this clever California lawyer figured out a way to squeeze more money from his existing members by creating a new Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum, open to any lawyer who obtains a verdict of $2 million or more. So, any attorney who joined the Million Dollar Advocates Forum with a multi-million dollar verdict years ago would now need to pay an extra $1,000.00 to be recognized as a Multi-Million Dollar Advocate. This is despite the fact that the lawyer has already provided proof of his multi-million dollar verdict and that all you get for your extra $1,000.00 is another paper certificate.

Did I mention that none of these certificates even come framed? That’s right. Lawyers who join this group are paying about $1,000.00 per page for paper certificates (must be really nice paper). Luckily, if a lawyer with a multi-million dollar verdict wants to join now, he can join both groups for the discounted price of $1,700.00. What a deal!

So How is the Million Dollar Advocates Forum Like Girls Gone Wild?

Like the girls who appear in the Girls Gone Wild videos, the lawyers who join the Million Dollar Advocates Forum are approached at a time of vulnerability which leads to poor decision making. They are euphoric from having just obtained a huge verdict, and they are flush with a large amount of cash which may make the cost of membership seem reasonable. Also, like the girls, lawyers have a predisposition to vanity. The proprietors of both businesses have incredibly low overhead, so most of the money received is pure profit.

So, if you ever see a Million Dollar Advocates Forum certificate hanging in your lawyer’s office, imagine your lawyer drunk, on Bourbon Street, lifting his t-shirt and yelling, “Whoooooooo! Check these out!” Because that’s pretty much what he’s doing.

Announcing My Own Million Dollar Advocates Program

For any lawyers out there who want a fancy certificate touting their million dollar dollar verdict, just send me proof of your verdict and I’ll send you a nice certificate, suitable for framing, for the low low cost of $500.00 (that’s less than half of what you’d pay the Million Dollar Advocates Forum). Or, you could just make your own certificate (it will be just as “official and prestigious” as the one from Million Dollar Advocates Forum). Better yet, how about just typing “Million Dollar Verdict” in a huge font and framing that along with a copy of your verdict form? Bet you never thought of that! That will be $200.00 for that idea.

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8 Responses to Million Dollar Advocates Forum or Lawyers Gone Wild?

  1. Larry W. Lockwood, Jr., Esq. says:

    While I do not necessarily disagree with your sentiments, I can’t help but wonder if your website is self promotion. That notwithstanding, here is the difference between attorneys who have achieved, as apparently you have, a million or multimillion dollar judgment and those who have not. Taking on a big case and seeing it through takes funds, time, knowledge, commitment, staffing and expertise. I have many colleagues in Hampton who advertise for personal injury cases (and traffic, criminal, divorce, and wills.) Some are good, some are bad, but few have had the big case. The fact is that I have had a few million dollar results, and many, many other personal injury cases that fell short. Usually, you have many, and from that many, a few are big hitters. Having the big verdict means I have done enough to earn it. Your metaphor of “girls gone wild,” while totally entertaining, misses the mark. Every girl has tits and ass to show, few lawyers have the big verdict, which leads me again to believe that your page is more “self promotion” than then soul searching confessions of a young, noble, critically minded professional. So, how many cases are you getting by claiming to be a lawyer “not looking to get your case?.”

    • fl_litig8r says:

      I disagree that every girl has good enough tits and ass to show to appear on a Girls Gone Wild video. In fact, given national obesity statistics, I’d say they are probably as rare, on a percentage basis, as lawyers with million dollar verdicts.

      But I’m afraid you’ve missed my point. I’m not opposed to lawyers touting their million dollar verdicts. Hang your verdicts all over your office. Post them on your website. I just think that lawyers who join the Million Dollar Advocates Forum are suckers for paying an exorbitant fee to a non-authoritative source (he’s just another lawyer, for christ’s sake!) just to get a certificate stating you’re a member of a club he made up and a listing on a website that no one looking for a lawyer will ever see. In the same way the girls on Girls Gone Wild seek validation for their T&A by appearing on those videos, lawyers who pay this guy to join his club are doing the same for their verdicts. It doesn’t mean that they didn’t do a good job (just as being on GGW doesn’t mean the girls don’t have nice T&A). It does mean that they got exploited by a huckster, just as the girls did.

      As to this website being self-promotion for me, it would be a pretty piss-poor way of doing so, seeing that I don’t list my name or contact info. How many cases am I getting through this website? Zero. Zip. Nada. My website name isn’t tongue in cheek. It’s literal. Also, I never claimed that it was an exercise in soul searching. I do it as a hobby and it makes a few bucks from advertising.

  2. Larry W. Lockwood, Jr., Esq. says:

    After leaving my comment about Million Dollar Advocates, I looked through the rest of the website and read the articles. They are actually all very good, informative and spot on. That’s from a guy who has been doing this for 16 years (18 if you count when I was a personal injury paralegal before law school at William and Mary.)

  3. robert says:

    medical malpratice there are non that will take my case all say i have a strong case a million dollar plus to settle out of court but here it is too time consumeing this is a one on one case you have lots of proof you have a strong case you did your homework thanks just too time comsueing

    • fl_litig8r says:

      I’m having a hard time believing that lawyers are turning away a case they think is worth a million dollars just because it would be too much work. Lawyers take cases worth $20,000 or less to trial every day. So, either the lawyers you spoke with don’t really feel that strongly about your chances of winning or the value of the case, or you just need to keep calling more lawyers — perhaps expanding your search to nearby cities.

  4. Brian says:

    I agree in principle that MMA is really nothing but an attempt to make money off lawyers vanity. But as someone who does quite a bit of marketing for attorneys, I can tell you that there is value in an MMA membership (before I get started, let me make it clear, I have ZERO vested interest in MMA or anyone affiliated with MMA, I care only about one thing: sustainable results for my attorney cleints):

    1) Logos in general, are trust symbols for consumers. Extra points if the logos are familiar in ANY way.
    2) The Link from whether you hate the site or love it, helps your SEO rankings.

    The more logos a client sees on a web site, the more trust there is. This is fact. Extra points if it’s a logo they’ve seen or find vaguely familiar. Is this a blatant example of human weakness? Absolutely, but so is marketing in general. Regardless of what your opinion of MMA is, in my opinion they have done a good enough job of marketing themselves and creating a value proposition that is compelling enough to warrant the $1200 for the attorney who’s at that level. The BBB is another example of a hustle that despite what a racket it is, it’s worth the annual cost because of the trust associated withe the logo and the benefit of the link from their web site.

    • fl_litig8r says:

      You may be right about logos, but the logo for the Million Dollar Advocates Forum is as generic as it comes — scales in a circle, with their name wrapped around it. I don’t know that anyone would even pay attention to it. Of course, I could come up with my own club and make an equally good (if not better) logo for free and slap that on my website, too. Million Dollar Advocates Forum has zero brand recognition among the general public. Even as a lawyer, I had never heard of them until they sent me a letter asking me to join. That’s where your comparison to the Better Business Bureau falls short. Everyone has heard of them (I actually just had a comment today mentioning them). People place value on their logo being slapped on a business, even if they shouldn’t. Million Dollar Advocates’ logo has no more value or recognition than one I make on my own.

      With respect to the links to firms from the MMA website, you really must be joking about their SEO value. Just for giggles, I checked it out, and as I suspected, they have one page with all their law firm links on it. I doubt Google gives such spammy links any value at all.

      I won’t dispute that MMA has done a great job marketing themselves to lawyers. They play to lawyers’ egos at a time when they’re at their fullest (right after a monster verdict) and right when the lawyers are flush with cash to waste. But that’s really what they’re doing — wasting money. MMA is the “I Am Rich” app of the legal community.

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