Why Are TV Ads For Lawyers So Unbelievably Sh&%!y?

There’s a reason that the commercials nominated for Consumerist’s first ever Worst Ad In America competition had to be nationally broadcast ads — Because if we’d included local TV spots, all the nominees would probably have been for personal injury law firms.

The folks at Asylum.com recently put together a round-up of 10 hilariously awful attorney ads that plague daytime and late-night TV. Below are some of our faves from their list:

Barry Glaser, defender of the peed-upon:

I think this rap was written by the composer of these Wendy’s training videos:

This lawyer’s straight talk will either have you signing up with him or hating yourself because you’re such a moron:

1-800-Victim-2, the scourge of every daytime TV watcher in the NYC area:

10 Hilariously Awful Television Commercials for Lawyers [Asylum.com]

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. CortJstr says:

    I’m a sucker for the one with William Shatner in it. I forget which firm it’s for, though.

    • sth9669 says:

      Call the mike slocumb hurt line at 1-800-Slocomb!

      Man, that guy must have some dirty pictures of shatner doing something awful for him to have agreed to do those commercials. Either that or Shatner’s a whore for a little money. So I guess it’s one or both of those things. . .

    • EJ25T says:

      The Shatner ads were just a generic “your lawyer’s name here” type of thing. They’re localized for firms all over the country.

      The simple answer to the larger question is that firms usually use the local production house that will give them the best rate. I wish it were more complicated than that, but it’s not.

    • jimmyhl says:

      I hear Shatner may do a spin-off sitcom from those ads. They’re going to call it “Shit My Lawyer Says.”

  2. Woofer says:

    They’re all awkward because there are very strict rules about what attorneys can say and how they say it in advertisements. Regardless of medium, they get screened far more closely than ads for any other business or product.

    • maztec says:

      Absolutely correct.

      As a result of the stricter requirements, their ability to be inventive with their ads is seriously hampered. Plus, what exactly is a lawyer selling? There really aren’t that many other ads on TV where you are selling your personal services. Wait, I guess there are … but do those really count?

  3. wewanttheearth says:

    better call saul

  4. rpm773 says:

    What? No Binder & Binder ad?

    About 10 years ago, I saw a commercial for a law firm, on Boston television, that had Robert Vaughan (Bullitt, Superman 3) in it. How bad does the bottom of your career have to fall out to do that?

    • blinky says:

      Robert Vaughan? How old do you have to be for people to remember you for something other than The Man From U.N.C.L.E.?

      • nrich239 says:

        I know him recently from the show Hustle. Sadly AMC decided to not broadcast the seasons anymore so I have to turn to other venues to acquire the show.

    • ktetch says:

      Motlick and associates

    • TheMonkeyKing says:

      Yeah, he now hawks the “hurtline” and shills for the law offices of James Scott Farrin. They must do pretty big business because that firm now has two of the biggest offices in Raleigh and Durham.

    • Disappointed says:

      Yeah, that oversized cowboy hat is simply not flattering.

  5. Fineous K. Douchenstein says:

    “Call me, I’m the HEAVY HITTER…”

    • Zowzers says:

      Someone lives in or near Las Vegas…

      • smo0 says:

        Ah yes… the staple of our town… I’ve met him… he’s about 4 inches short than me… which would put him around 5’4″ ?

      • Chinchillazilla says:

        Not necessarily, there are many lawyers whose ads proclaim they’re the Heavy Hitter. I think the same ad firm must manage them all or something.

    • strawbabies says:

      That was until he got sued. I believe he now has to say he’s “A heavy hitter,” not “THE heavy hitter.”

  6. Mr_D says:

    Not a lawyer, but everybody in the Chicagoland area should know Eagle man. I’ve got something for you!
    Also- push it, pull it, tow it to Golf Mill Ford.

    • LanMan04 says:

      Look at those low rates!

      Do they still have the Golf Mill Ford commercials? I love how the guy goes to open the door on his car and it just falls off.

      Also, though now nationwide, you can’t forget “588-2300. EMPIRE!”

      Or the little old lady in the furniture store commercial: “On Grand Avenue!”

      • SisterHavana says:

        I thought the ad with the car door falling off was for Victory Auto Wreckers. “That old car might be worth money!”

  7. OneMHz says:

    Local car dealerships are as bad/worse. I remember one that was the usual grainy film, overamplified audio, terribly uncomfortable delivery… except, out of nowhere at the end, there was a plastic dinosaur superimposed to look full size…

    • raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

      I have vivid memories of a medium-budget toyota dealership from where I grew up as a kid … I could sing the entire jingle, 20+ years later. Dad got on my case for having it stuck in my head because I was singing a commercial, and thus giving someone free advertising.

      But dang it, it was, and remains, SUPER catchy! It was like they had professionals recording it or something. The video was super-cheesy, but then, it was the late 80′s, everything was cheesy … especially in southern California.

  8. GearheadGeek says:

    Jim Adler, the Texas Hammer! “I’ll HAMMER them for you!”

    • There's room to move as a fry cook says:

      There is a “Hammer” in every media market.

      • GearheadGeek says:

        Adler’s in 4 himself… Houston, DFW, Austin, San Antonio. I don’t know if he’s an ambulance-chasing franchise or just has lots of “associates.”

  9. ParingKnife ("That's a kniwfe.") says:

    Call the Strong Arm!

  10. energynotsaved says:

    These are a lot funnier than our metro Atlanta ads. I think I would have hired divorce EZ. I like him!

    • webweazel says:

      Yeah, I thought it was funny. Watched it twice. The line about the “illiterate boob at the courthouse” made me laugh. I like his attitude about the whole thing and he would probably move to the top of my list just for the sarcasm. His delivery does suck, though, he talks like a bored teacher with boring subject matter.

  11. psm321 says:

    Ally.com?

  12. JonThomasDesigns says:

    Even more annoying is Bob from Bobs Discount furniture

    • Nick1693 says:

      I just saw one of their commercials that basically said “If you don’t own a Bobopedic, you’re going to hell.”

  13. Murph1908 says:

    Car dealerships, I think, are worse than the lawyer commercials.

  14. Master Medic: Now with more Haldol says:

    Frank Azar is The Strong Arm (Denver). There’s one though that makes me want to punch kittens. It has voice saying when you hear this (Car crashing sound) then hear this (Cha Ching of cash register sound).

    • gc3160thtuk says you got your humor in my sarcasm and you say you got your sarcasm in my humor says:

      We have “Extreme” Akim Anastopoulo in South Carolina aka the strongarm or the hammer. But I read that lawyers can’t use nicknames in commercials anymore in SC. Interesting.

  15. Zarf says:

    Have you guys seen that old Picnicface video that makes fun of lawyer videos? It’s amazing. Larry THE SLEDGE Rosen! Something like that. I can’t grab the link from here, but do a Google search for it. Picnicface Lawyers should come up with it.

  16. bnceo says:

    Better Call Saul!

  17. mythago says:

    Seriously why? Because a lot of lawyers don’t understand that being smart or being good at lawin’ does not translate into “can substitute for professional marketers”.

    • jimmyhl says:

      You nailed it. Lawyers (and I am one) think they know EVERYTHING about EVERYTHING. Including things they know nothing about. When it comes to TV ads, they seem to take the easy way out when it comes to production values. Yes, there are ethical restrictions on content that don’t apply to other advertisers, but those restrictions do not necessitate the production of the poor efforts that typify most lawyer ads. There are exceptions and smart lawyers might do well to check them out and weigh them against their own stuff. In western Pennsylvania there is a personal injury lawyer named Edgar Snyder. His ads are visually arresting, informative and, most of all, not cheesy. He obviously does not cook them up himself at the kitchen table but rather depends on a professional agency. What’s more, Edgar makes serious coin. In other words, it can be done.

    • erratapage says:

      Heck, most of us (lawyers, that is) are targeted by the shadiest of marketing professionals who want to sell us prepackaged crap commercials, websites and stationary at outrageously high prices. When we don’t get the 1-800-Lawyers people calling us, we get overpriced prepackaged crap pushed to us through West and Lexis/Nexis. When I create marketing materials, I work with graphic artists and marketing professionals who don’t typically work with lawyers. I can’t afford a decent commercial, so I don’t do them.

  18. Underpants Gnome says:

    and yet my favorite lawers Bob Loblaw and Phil Ken Sebben are fictional.

  19. richcreamerybutter says:

    The 1-800-victim2 ads are always delightful!

    Question: is Raymour & Flanagan a regional or national chain (I don’t want to risk giving them a page hit to find out)? They have the most consistently awful regional-appearing ads I’ve ever seen.

  20. Jesse says:

    I think most Nebraska Cornhusker fans have an issue with a certain TicketExpress commercial that’s been airing this year.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RMrlSg9HC80

    Facebook deleted!

  21. hosehead says:
    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      Is that a released/aired commercial, or did he make that for youTube? If it’s the latter, I must applaud him for taking a very smart route.

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      Wow, really?

      “My name is Bruce Gates, and my law office, the law offices of Bruce S. Gates..” REALLY? WHODATHUNK?

  22. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

    None for Trolman, Glaser, and Lichtman?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2u2q78DQMs Stuck
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Eck-dlk0n4 Machete
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0tOLe_KkKu4 Fan
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KoDNdTXx-7U Power

    Who I really hate is John Harris from JK Harris. I hear those commercials everyday, and sometimes my company glitches and plays two of his commercials in a row. Ehen he goes “Hello, I’m John Harris” I want to beat him. The other is Binder & Binder. They claim “No one bothers/harasses their clients. No one.” and I always ask the TV if I don’t pay my bill, will they send collections after me, because then someone would be harassing their clients, which means they would have to stop, right?

  23. framitz says:

    I remember when it was illegal for lawyers to advertise on TV… Those were the days.

    • dpeters11 says:

      Add prescription drugs to that. “Ask your doctor if xxx is right for you!”

      Lawyers, car dealers and furniture stores (usually the home of a dancing Abe Lincoln) are the worst.

      • Fafaflunkie Plays His World's Smallest Violin For You says:

        Hear hear! Mind you, up here in the Great White North, it gets even funnier when it comes to prescription drug ads: by law, you can mention what the drug can do without mentioning the name of the drug, or you can mention the name of the drug and not mention what it can do for you. But not both in the same ad. Which means we see ads like this.

  24. SugarMag says:

    The Barry Glaser “pee on my leg” line is over the top. It is a local commercial for me, lucky me.

  25. anewmachine615 says:

    I’m gonna say that since lawyers were banned from advertising for so long, they’re just clueless about developing effective ads.

  26. Clyde Barrow says:

    I kind of liked the DivorceEZ ad and he got right to the point but he was a bit rough but hey, aren’t divorces rough in the first place? lol.

    But my fav firm ad is the J.G. Wentworth with the ad that has the bus full of people singing opera and the driver turns around to the camera and says, “it’s your money, use it when you need it”.

  27. Clyde Barrow says:

    At first I thought that squirrel was talking with an Eastern Indian accent then I realized it was trying to sound like a Mexican, and a bad Mexican accent at that.

  28. Cactus Wren says:

    Because lawyers who advertise on TV are unbelievably sh&%!y.

  29. RP_Fan says:

    The reason the ads are so stupid is because they target audience is stupid. These attorneys are smart, and they know their client base is not. So, they advertise to the lowest common denominator in society in a way that indirectly, and sometimes more directly, legitimizes shady legal practices and the entitlement mindset. “Someone must pay.” “Get the money you deserve” etc etc

  30. daemonaquila says:

    As an attorney in a city full of firms with some of these bloody awful ads, I at least can explain why they’re so bad. Many of the ads are pre-made by a handful of attorney advertising companies, sold to one firm per city, and customized (just a few seconds’ worth of video manipulation and/or new video) for that firm. The ads play to the attorneys’ egos in the worst way, along with usually being very pushy and loud. Unfortunately, since these ads often play most during late nights when prospective clients are sleeplessly watching TV, they get the repetition and the ads are very effective in that sense. Honestly, the “badness” makes them memorable – we had clients who’d come to our firm and be scathing about the ads… but the client came in nonetheless. Other ads are locally made, but again they tend to mimic the style of the awful mass ads (since that works well for a lot of lawyers) and can be even worse ego-boosts for the attorneys who run them. Now that I’ve left the firm, I’ll also be advertising… but I don’t think I can bring myself to run those kinds of ads.

  31. edcrowle says:

    It looks like DivorceEZ has been hit with the rebranding bug. They are now the Divorce Deli, and that work of art website he mentions is in its full glory at http://www.divorcedeli.com where it appears that divorce is fun!

  32. Keavy_Rain says:

    I take it no one else here is from Sacramento, because I have yet to see any mention of the “Jesus Freak” injury lawyer with the easiest phone number to remember (444-4444)

    No joke, the dude runs ads with his granddaughter, talking about how you should put your unwanted kids up for adoption instead of getting an abortion and how he’ll pray with you and send you a free Bible if you call him. The whole thing seems kinda weird to me. I’m cool with a lawyer being religious, but I don’t know if I want a lawyer who’s gonna give me a free consultation, prayer session, and Bible in the same phone call.

    Abortion ad with granddaughter: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=18RJuoufh6A

    Prayer and free Bible ad: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ixFJCTrFKGY

    Again, not bashing the guy and he seems legit in terms of his love of Jesus, but it just seems odd that he’s pushing his faith-based stuff and his professional stuff with his ads and law firm.

  33. drjayphd says:

    (sigh) And when will we ever see an attorney’s ad of Vern Fonkian proportions?

    To wit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ItWpoUMbqJE
    And let’s not forget the greatest holiday-themed ad ever: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fplj61Y5QME

  34. sendbillmoney says:

    For #11, I nominate the outfit looking for plaintiffs who have tardive dyskenesia. The creepy low-level background music will forever be the Tardive Dyskenesia Theme for me.

    :: twitch ::

    I’m suing.

    • gc3160thtuk says you got your humor in my sarcasm and you say you got your sarcasm in my humor says:

      That the Goldberg Law Firm. I hate that son of a bitch with a passion. I always get the words retarded dyskinesia stuck in my head instead of tardive. Actually thanks you reminded me to look that disease up cuz it sounds made up.

    • gc3160thtuk says you got your humor in my sarcasm and you say you got your sarcasm in my humor says:

      That the Goldberg Law Firm. I hate that son of a bitch with a passion. I always get the words retarded dyskinesia stuck in my head instead of tardive. Actually thanks you reminded me to look that disease up cuz it sounds made up.

  35. ElizabethD says:

    I dunno. The local car dealership ads give the lawyer ads a run for their money. Could be a dead heat in the “worst of local ads” category.

  36. Megladon says:

    How about the j g wentworth ads where people yell out there window “ITS MY MONEY AND I WANT IT NOW”. They get like 6 of these idiots to do it before moving on to whatever else they talk about. ITS MY MONEY AND I WANT IT NOW! Yea, that doesnt get old.

  37. Peter Nincompoop says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cLfmqQePqCU (:31 mark all the way to the end)

    2-for-1 special on Cleveland’s finest local “personalities.” Burl Robinette looks like he’s pretending to be a lawyer in his dead empty office.

  38. mischlep says:

    Where is Jim “THE HAMMER” Shapiro?

  39. summeroflove says:

    I have to say though, although they are for the most part unbelievably stupid, I have a fondness for the commercials for whatever law firm (good commercial!) that has that one with the woman with the paper cut. I totally love it when she says “Machete!!” over and over. The punchline being that there are some cases that even they can’t win.

  40. ianzu says:

    My favourite thing in lawyer ads is when there’s some innocuous action (such as a lawyer walking up the stairs) and the word ‘dramatization’ appears in the bottom corner of the screen.

    Like we’re going to be upset. “Hey, can I talk to that lawyer that walks up the stairs?”
    “Sorry sir, he doesn’t actually walk up stairs. That was the magic of television.”
    “Consarn it!”

  41. SassySoy says:

    now you have just made these the best commercials(in the companies eyes). There so awful, they are getting free publicity. >.>

  42. thisistobehelpful says:

    Damn I hate that stupid squirrel. Every time I watched Maury that little bastard popped up in ALL the commercial breaks. Ruinin my babymamadrama time. Plus what gives with the accent?

  43. Conformist138 says:

    You want the most obnoxious commercial ever? I change the channel or turn the TV off entirely when I see/hear this guy come on.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2XLuZqKWidI

  44. MongoAngryMongoSmash says:

    The Berger & Green one is from the Pittsburgh area and I laugh at it every time. The explosions are sooo over the top. In those cases you need a mortician not a lawyer.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rOPhpYswPaQ
    These guys are a bit wacked out, too. You’ve got Pony tail boy and Abraham Everett Coop there.

    The funniest sign I ever saw for a law firm was Bickers & Bickers Attorneys At Law. Could they have gone into any other profession?

  45. DeathByCuriosity says:

    Scene: bunch of fatcat insurance guys sitting around looking smug about how they’re going to defeat some injured person in court.

    “Hahaha, so who’s their lawyer?”

    *looks nervous* “Dan Davis.”

    *scary “DUN” sound*

    “….settle.”

  46. MustWarnOthers says:

    Consumerist!!

    I need help, ASAP

    I developed Mesothelioma and I have no idea what to do or who to call!!!!!

  47. Gekas says:

    Bob Goldwater’s ads are pretty creepy.