Hogan & Hartson was on the receiving end of a “shock and awe” advertising campaign last week, with a former client canvassing for others feeling short-changed by the Washington firm.

The campaign, which featured in last Friday’s New York Times and other publications, asked: “Have you recently been represented by the law firm of Hogan & Hartson? Were you expecting that your case would have the representation of a senior partner, but you found that your representation was handled by a less experienced junior member of the firm? Do you believe this was detrimental to the outcome of your case?”

It closed with the words, “We want to hear from you!” and a toll-free number to call.

The campaign was launched by US company General Steel. It is an attempt to recoup costs incurred by the company when it instructed Hogan on (ironically) a deceptive-advertising lawsuit it faced three years ago.

The company instructed Hogan partner Ty Cobb on the matter. After Cobb relocated from Denver (home of General Steel) to Washington DC the client discharged the firm as its counsel.

Earlier this year General Steel settled the lawsuit and agreed to pay $4.5m. The following month it sued Hogan and claimed its case had been passed down from Cobb to “inexperienced associates”.

The company’s president, Jeff Knight, is believed to have warned Hogan in the settlement negotiations that he would initiate a “shock and awe” ad campaign in order to influence Hogan to settle.

Hogan general counsel George “Sandy” Mayo said the firm’s line on the campaign and its argument was “complete nonsense”.

“Ty Cobb is a very successful trial lawyer who tries cases all over the country,” Mayo added. “It doesn’t matter where he lives. The notion that where his house is located has any impact upon his abilities is laughable.” The case is set for arbitration in Denver next April.

General Steel did not return a call for comment.