Adventures in Lawyer Advertising

Last week, when I needed a break from educating myself about the differences between legitimate and illegitimate rape, I decided to turn my attention back to the question that consumes the mind of all single women over the age of 25 as cobwebs grow in our wombs: Why can’t I find a nice, professional man to take care of me?

Maybe it’s my long hair? Oh, right, that’s what’s killing my career, not rendering me a spinster. There are just so many pitfalls to being a female, it’s hard to keep track sometimes.

But then I saw him. A beacon of light in today’s sea of unmanly men. Richard Schulte, from Ohio. But let’s call him Rick. Rick is a much more virile name.

His profile is so dripping with testosterone, I just have to go talk to him.

So, Rick, you’re a lawyer? Wow. Isn’t that, like, really scary and intimidating?

Rick Schulte isn’t afraid to go to trial, not a bit. Most attorneys are or at the very least, they’re apprehensive. Big difference.

Oh, we’re talking in the third person now? That’s hot. Natasha likes men who speak in the third person and aren’t afraid.

Please, tell me more….

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One of the country’s best law firms no longer has one of the Internet’s worst law firm websites.

As you may recall, four years ago, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz was ranked by the American Lawyer as having one of the industry’s worst websites. According to the article, Wachtell’s website was “reminiscent of a seventh-grade history project.”

Having seen endless examples of terrible law firm websites, I’m not sure it was fair to call Wachtell’s old site one of the worst. There is no disputing, however, that it was crushingly boring.

The analogy to a middle school project was sound. The old site’s idea of spicing things up was to put its extra special passages in italics or bold — or, if they were feeling particularly crazy, italics and bold.

It seems that Wachtell has finally grasped the notion that websites should be attention-grabbing. Or at least marginally attractive.

Check out Wachtell’s transition into the modern Internet era….

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It’s Friday, let’s play a game. A word search. Guess the URL for entertainment lawyer Roger A. Pliakas, Esquire.

Hint: Sean Connery would take therapist…

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[T]his might be a helpful alert to lawyers who are hiring someone to try to promote their sites: It’s possible that the promotion might consist of behavior that is par for the course for purported penis enlargement products, but not really in keeping with the sort of reputation that lawyers generally seek to cultivate.

– Professor Eugene Volokh, issuing a warning to lawyers that hire outside companies to promote their law firm websites using spam blog comments.

What do you get when you combine pig products, a sketchy guy in a mustache, and death metal? One colossally horrendous law firm commercial.

The folks at Hamilton Law in Las Vegas were presumably late to the domain-name-grabbing game and had to settle for being called “ham legal.” Rather than fight their unfortunate web address, the firm has apparently opted to embrace it and go whole hog into swine-themed advertising.

If you’ve ever wondered what a pig-centric legal commercial looks like, you’re in luck. The answer is a bad Saturday Night Live skit with a voice-over by a circa mid-2000s Jack Black promoting Tenacious D. Check out the horror, after the jump….

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Last week in Non-Sequiturs, we pointed you to a photo essay of some of the sketchiest lawyer billboards out there. From dogs, to eye patches, to crazy nicknames, these billboards are the epitome of what makes local lawyer advertising so painfully bad.

It’s tough to say which is worse — these misguided attempts at originality, or the overly earnest types who make lofty promises to fight for you and protect your rights. The serious advertisements are equally subject to mockery.

One Florida solo practitioner may have discovered the perfect approach. No over-the-top gimmicks, no vows to fight injustice. Just the simple, honest truth….

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Now THIS is a legal ad.

It’s easy to forget that lawyering is a business that requires a significant amount of advertising. Lawyers offer a service, and as many unemployed attorneys know, the profession includes lots of people doing essentially the same work. You have to find your customers to make it rain.

For more and more attorneys, blogging has become one part of an overall marketing strategy. Is law blogging always advertising? The Virginia State Bar seems to think so. Last month, it disciplined a small-firm attorney for not providing adequate advertising disclaimers on his blog.

Is the Bar, as Judge Richard Posner likes to say, being an ostrich? Is it sticking its head in the sand and ignoring the current technological paradigm — or is there a legitimate ethics concern here? Let’s see….

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Yesterday we brought you the story of a 2L at Cardozo Law School who has taken out Google ads promoting himself, in an attempt to find a summer associate job. Here’s what his ad looks like (as displayed to an Above the Law reader who alerted us to his campaign):

We reached out to Eric Einisman to ask him: What was he thinking?

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A reader alerted us to the following Google ad, which showed up in a Gmail sidebar next to a law-related email chain:

Whoa! Is this for real? Is a second-year student at Cardozo Law School actually advertising himself via text ads on Google, promoting himself as “[a] great choice for Summer Associate”?

Are Cardozo law students truly this desperate? Is this why the career services dean quit to teach yoga? Should Cardozo focus less on teaching students how to walk and more on teaching them how to conduct job searches?

Or is this too harsh an assessment? Let’s learn more about the 2L behind this unusual ad.

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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….

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