Award Date

12-2010

Degree Type

Dissertation

Department

Sociology

First Committee Member

Robert Futrell, Chair

Second Committee Member

David Dickens

Third Committee Member

Simon Gottschalk

Fourth Committee Member

Dmitri Shalin

Graduate Faculty Representative

Lawrence Mullen

Number of Pages

367

Abstract

I analyze how Las Vegas attorneys represent themselves, their associates and clients in televised law firm commercials. I use attorney commercials as a case to explore cultural beliefs in media representations. Using an inductive method, I analyze the textual, visual, and aural symbols that appear most frequently in television commercials to interpret how law firm advertisements convey themes of attorney expertise, knowledge, ethnic and gender stereotyping. I introduce this study with a historical evaluation of the rise of advertisement in the United States. I continue discussing how the media is an important realm of discourse that affects people's identity. Using examples of attorney advertisements, I explain gender and ethnic representations, how attorneys construct their image, and the use of dramatic presentations. In the methods section, I explain the two approaches I used: First, a quantitative evaluation of 504 hours of television programming from January 11 to February 18, 2006, distinguishing the number of attorney commercials vs. other products and services; second, a qualitative evaluation identifying common themes in attorney commercials relating those to broader sociological theories. I conclude my evaluation suggesting the use of alternative media to inform the public of their legal rights, and suggest that statistical data on law firm performance and consumer satisfaction need to be available in public records.

Keywords

Advertising; Attorney; Content analysis; Knowledge; Law and society; Law firms – Marketing; Lawyers – Marketing; Mass media; Nevada – Las Vegas

Disciplines

Broadcast and Video Studies | Legal Profession | Marketing | Mass Communication | Public Relations and Advertising | Sociology

Language

English