It's no longer common to see lawyerstrailing accident victims to the hospital totry to persuade them to sue; it's consideredunethical, and in many jurisdictions,it can get a lawyer disbarred. But thatdoesn't mean the tort bar's quest for personalinjury litigants is no longer around;it has just migrated to the Internet. Areport in a recent magazine notesthat lawyers are now paying for slots onYahoo!'s search engine to help them gatherinformation on potential clients forpersonal injury suits.
For each Web surfer who clicks on alaw firm's Internet ad, a lawyer paysYahoo! anywhere from $0.10 to $160,depending on the ad's target audience.Lawyers looking for clients sufferingfrom asbestos-related illness reportedlypay up to $160 for each click on a mesotheliomaad, but only about $15 for everyperson who clicks on a generic asbestosor Vioxx ad. Ads concerning clergy abuseand black lung rate only a dime per click,while ads for slip-and-fall cases command$50. Lawyers vie for prominent slots onthe page display, with the top placementsgoing to the highest bidder.