The FYI on TSR

Steve Terry might be one of the most visible attorneys in the Twin Cities that nobody knows. Who’s Steve Terry? He’s the guy on the billboards.

“We certainly do get plenty of people that call and say ‘I saw your billboard’ or ‘I saw you on TV,’ ” says Terry, founding partner of Bloomington-based TSR Injury Law.

Terry does not have specific data about how much business the firm generates from its ubiquitous billboards, of which as many as 30 can be active at a given time, but “the phones are constantly ringing.”

“When we started doing billboards, we did notice an uptick,” Terry says. He does not know precisely what percentage of the firm’s business is generated by the ads. “The one thing I do know,” he says, “is we still get 50 percent of our business from past and current clients.”

Terry founded TSR as Terry & Associates in 1998. Partner Chuck Slane joined in the late 1990s. Then Rich Ruohonen joined in 2009. “That’s when it became TSR,” says Terry, “because nobody could pronounce ‘Ruohonen.’ ”

The injury law firm did not bother with hiring an ad agency. The slogan came out of discussions about a memorable phone number, which ultimately became 612-TSR-TIME.

“I designed the billboard,” says Terry. “We’re very pleased with how it’s all working.”

The firm, with 10 lawyers and an additional 25 staff, trademarked “TSR Time” in 2010. TSR also buys radio and TV ads, and has a marketing partnership with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Twin Cities BusinessWhile Terry sees the billboards paying off for TSR, white-shoe law firms eschew billboard advertising. “We do more B2B work. We do a lot of electronic advertising with business journals and business-focused publications,” says Meg McCormick, spokeswoman for Faegre Baker Daniels. She notes that the firm does not do billboard or TV ads.

Recently Terry heard reports that popular KDWB-FM disc jockey Dave Ryan was discussing an onstage fall by Madonna and joking that it was “TSR time.” Terry sees that as clear evidence that the billboards are effective.

“We’re very happy that it’s become part of the culture.”

This article is reprinted in partnership with Twin Cities Business.

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Comments (7)

  1. Submitted by Steve Titterud on 05/11/2015 - 09:06 am.

    Is there a difference between this puff piece and advertising ??

    Why is this published here ?? Is Minnpost getting paid for this use of its space ??

    • Submitted by Mac Riddel on 05/11/2015 - 09:22 am.

      No kidding. I was expecting an expose on ambulance chasing law firms, but instead we get what amounts to a full page ad. Seems that TSR has ad money for more than just billboards.

  2. Submitted by John N. Finn on 05/11/2015 - 09:25 am.

    Better to call Saul

  3. Submitted by jim hughes on 05/11/2015 - 11:47 am.

    sorry I read this

    ” reprinted in partnership with Twin Cities Business.”

    This is nothing but an ad – for the law firm, and for billboards.

  4. Submitted by Jacob on 05/11/2015 - 01:15 pm.

    It’s only a puff piece if you can’t connect some dots…

    To each their own – but I found this interesting. What struck me is how this business is able to successfully market itself using an old-school channel and without the support of an agency. Sure – they could have called up (insert agency name here) and paid a crazy sum for a marketing plan heavy on social media tactics – but they see to be doing fine without it.

    Perhaps the Burl could have done a better job reporting that aspect of the story to connect a few more dots… but then again… he might have assumed the average MinnPost reader knows how to use a pencil.

  5. Submitted by Elsa Mack on 05/11/2015 - 01:52 pm.

    I have always thought

    these billboards were hideously ugly. Guess now I know who’s responsible.

    Actually, while I’m here, I think almost all billboards are hideously ugly, with the best ones being merely inoffensive. Especially those marring the otherwise pleasant landscape along 35 from MSP to Duluth. I wish St. Paul had been successful in their efforts to remove the awful things.

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