Cars, Lawyer Advertising, Small Law Firms, Solo Practitioners, Weirdness

Captain Lawyer to the Rescue

Parents wield an unbelievable amount of power in the naming of their children. And as we all know, with great power comes great responsibility. Bizarre names can ensure that your child sits alone and friendless in the cafeteria for the better part of his formative years. Great names can spur children on to greatness.

Naming children after gods or powerful mythological figures, on the other hand, can create an unnecessary amount of pressure. These names set them up for failure. Sure, their names may make for better tattoo choices and save them from the ranks of misguided youth who think butterfly tramp stamps are good ideas. Still, unless they are blessed with extraordinary athletic ability, these children will likely lead lives full of vain attempts to live up to their names.

For instance, what would we expect from a man named Atlas? Great strength. After all, Atlas was forced to bear the weight of the entire sky on his shoulders. There’s even a World’s Strongest Man event named after him. But what do you do if you’re named Atlas and you’re not predisposed to feats of great strength? If you’re like the millions of other people in this world who don’t know what else to do, you become a lawyer. And like the great solo practitioners who have come before you, you come up with some sort of crazy shtick and a wacky website to try to set yourself apart from the masses.

Meet today’s solo practitioner, Joel Atlas Skirble. Dubbing himself “El Capitan,” Skirble, with the help of Team Atlas and his handy Atlasmobile, is saving the fine folks of Virginia and Maryland, one personal injury or criminal charge at a time….

Skirble has eschewed the qualities typically associated with Atlas in favor of adopting the persona of a Spanish-speaking boat captain. I was hoping we would at least get some clichéd “navigating rough legal waters” metaphors, but really all we get is a website full of pictures of Skirble wearing a captain’s hat (although he thankfully owns both white and navy, so at least we get some variety). He has a signature “point at the camera” pose and his catchphrase is “I speak your language” – provided, of course, that your language is Spanish.

The website allows you to chose between English and Spanish versions, although choosing English seems to only translate the headings and some pages into English. The Welcome page, offering up Skirble’s Promise and Mission, is still in Spanish. You’ll also have to Meet the Team in Spanish.

First and foremost is “El Capitan” himself. According to Skirble’s bio, he obtained a BA in political science from the University of Pennsylvania and went on to study at both the University of Pittsburgh School of Law and “the prestigious George Washington University,” although why he studied at both and what degree he got from either are unclear.

Skirble’s bio also tells us that he has a team of more than 20 employees that he calls “Team Atlas.” The identity of all 20 Atlasians remains a mystery, though, since the website only identifies 7 female case workers or office staff as part of the team.

It also appears that El Capitan and Team Atlas have their very own Atlasmobile, plastered with a larger-than-life picture of Skirble doing his signature pointing pose.

In all of the crazy lawyer websites I’ve covered, I’ve never come across a lawyermobile. It’s so cool that we get two pictures of it. I can only assume that the second picture is the members of Team Atlas posing with El Capitan and the Atlasmobile outside the Eyekare Express.

El Capitan was kind enough to give us his Services page in English. Unfortunately, much of it reads as if he fed Spanish text into a poor online translator and posted whatever was spit out the other end, grammar and sense be damned:

And remember: Do not sign any insurance company without consulting an attorney. Could be signing the closing of the case and charges are your responsibility.

We handle criminal cases, traffic, suspended license, DWI (driving under the influence) your case will be treated with respect, dedication, and above all with the privacy you deserve.

Our prices are reasonable and attorney Joel Atlas Skirble hear your case in person at our offices in Virginia.

Our office gets the proper compensation for your case and ensure that the insurance company will provide the best care for your damages.

The other English section of the website is “In The News.” Here we get to see an odd commercial filmed in El Salvador (why not?), wherein the “Yo no soy marinero, soy capitan” part of La Bamba plays while Skirble delivers a voiceover in Spanish, including his “I speak your language” catchphrase. Alongside this video, we get links to legal developments from random jurisdictions that appear to have nothing to do with Skirble, rather than the usual self-promotion that we see on lawyer websites. This dearth of relevant links seemed confusing until a Google search turned up little more than a 2003 decision in which Skirble was admonished for disciplinary violations and a 1998 article suggesting that Skirble doesn’t, in fact, speak Spanish.

So maybe Joel Atlas Skirble hasn’t quite lived up to the great expectations that come with such a strong name. He has, however, created a happy world for himself in which he gets away with dressing like a boat captain every day. If that’s not a measure of success, what is?

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