Larry H. Parker, an Injury Lawyer Who Promised to ‘Fight for You,’ Dies at 75

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Larry H. Parker, an accident and personal injury lawyer whose television commercials promised he’d “fight for you” and became staples in living rooms across Los Angeles, died on March 6 in San Juan Capistrano, Calif. He was 75.

Hiz death was confirmed by his son, Justin Parker, who did not cite the cause.

Over the years, Angelenos became familiar with Mr. Parker’s personal brand of braggadocio and promise, as his face could be seen on billboards across the city and on television ads.

“When it comes to the law, you want someone who carries a big stick,” a narrator says in one commercial that cuts from a hockey brawl to a shot of Mr. Parker in a suit and glasses, standing with both hands on a desk, ready for a courtroom showdown.

“People sometimes ask me why I seem so angry in my television commercials,” Mr. Parker said in another ad. “Well the truth is I am angry. I’m angry when big insurance companies take advantage of little people.”

His ads cultivated an image of a legal brawler whose menacing presence on the screen could be used in a plaintiff’s favor.

It appeared that those who were injured were eager to engage the services of his firm, the Law Offices of Larry H. Parker. Since its founding 50 years ago, the firm has recovered more than $2 billion in verdicts and settlements, according to its website.

“I wanted the consumer to see someone who cares about their rights,” Mr. Parker said in a 1995 interview with The Los Angeles Times. “They’re seeing me, the real guy.”

At the core of many ads was a parade of testimony from the victims of injury or hardship, though beneath the large banner with the firm’s 800-number was fine print that noted the accounts were a dramatization, portrayed by “actors impersonating injury victims in fictitious cases.”

The commercials were firmly within a campy brand popular among personal injury lawyers, but Mr. Parker positioned himself as a champion of those who felt powerless before faceless insurance giants.

“If the insurance companies would just treat these people fairly,” Mr. Parker told The Times, “they’d put guys like me out of business.”

Larry Hugh Parker was born on Aug. 26, 1948, in Philadelphia to Ben Parker and Netty (Reardon) Parker.

He graduated from California State University, Los Angeles, in 1970 with a degree in psychology. After attending Southwestern Law School, he received a California State Bar certificate in 1973, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Mr. Parker is survived by his wife, Irene Parker; his son Justin; two daughters, Shelley and Jodi Parker; and three granddaughters.

The firm’s commercials began to air around 1982. Later, during the O.J. Simpson trial, his ads gained greater exposure as viewers were glued to their television screens in what became a global cultural moment. But ad time during the trial was also more crowded, he said.

“It helps, and it hurts,” Mr. Parker said in the 1995 Times article. “It helps because there are a lot more people watching. On the other hand, it hurts because you can’t run your ad because the coverage pre-empts you.”

Those kinds of advertisements did not come without their own hidden costs, on top of the roughly $1 million in advertising the firm spent a year, according to a 1994 article in The Times.

His commercials, and those of some of his competitors, caused California lawmakers to bristle. Lawmakers and some litigators feared that potential plaintiffs would believe they could take advantage of the legal system for personal gain.

“If anyone looks at these ads, there is a common message,” a California Trial Lawyers Association spokesman told The Times in 1994. “You can make big bucks by ripping off the system.”

Mr. Parker, though, felt everyone should have the chance to fight back.

“We’re always going to be attacked,” he said. “But in the end, in a lifetime, everyone needs a lawyer.”



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