This advertising tactic is a bit of a joke in legal circles. Yet it pops up surprisingly frequently. I am sure you have seen lawyers ads touting the “combined experience” of the lawyers in the firm:
18 years of combined legal experience
40 years of combined legal experience
90 [!] years of combined legal experience
Even a quick check of Google reveals a number of law firms using this language.
Well, I’m here to tell you – don’t buy it!
The main problem with this is that there is no such thing as “combined legal experience.” As much you may feel that lawyers are pod people, we really cannot connect our brains together!
Another problem is that if a lawyer advertises “18 years of combined legal experience” you may rightfully expect that you are getting 18 years of experience on your problem. But, are you really?
Consider what “18 years of combined years of experience” may actually mean:
- 18 lawyers with 1 year of experience.
- 1 lawyer with 17 years of experience and 1 junior associate with 1 year of experience. Psst: you are assigned to the junior associate.
- 1 lawyer with 18 years of experience (in a completely different practice area) who just started practicing law in your area this year.
Don’t be taken in by law firms advertising “combined years of experience.” Many times, it is just a way of making a law firm sound more experienced that it really is.