Are Viral Law Ads a New Internet Reality?

After a duet from two lawyers in Waco called “Don’t Eat Your Weed” made the rounds on the internet, some say we could see more legal advice through viral videos.

By Michael MarksJuly 15, 2016 11:41 am,

By now, you’re probably familiar with the Fort Worth lawyer who calls himself the Texas Law Hawk.

Criminal defense attorney Bryan Wilson has made a name for himself with what you might call outlandish commercials. They’ve received tremendous attention and have reportedly helped Wilson attract clients. But he’s far from the only Texas lawyer to embrace an advertising gimmick.

Will Hutson and Chris Harris are Waco lawyers whose ads dispense legal advice through the power of song.

So please shut your mouth ‘cuz you’re making it worse.
Take a hint, just call us first.

Don’t Eat Your Weed is their most popular song on YouTube, but they’ve also cut tracks about suing insurance companies and exercising your right to an attorney.

Hutson and Harris take a different tone than Wilson, but none of the videos are exactly standard legal advertisements. So will making silly ads with the hope of going viral soon be the norm for lawyers?

Ray Panneton, an attorney with the Talaska Law Firm in Houston, has written about legal marketing for Texas Lawyer magazine.

Panneton says these kinds of videos are a new trend in law ads.

“People joke and say, the legal market is about a decade behind everybody else,” he says. “In terms of lawyer advertising, these viral videos are actually pretty new.”

Within the community, Panneton says lawyers may be saying to themselves, Why didn’t I think of that? But lawyers’ perspective on viral ads likely has more to do with what sort of law they practice.

“If you’re a corporate lawyer, you’re probably looking at these ads as an abomination to the legal profession,” he says. “However, if you are a personal injury lawyer, they’e targeting their audience and they’re doing it very well.”

For more serious legal jobs like in mergers and acquisitions, Panneton says an ad like this would probably put them out of business.

“(Clients) want that sense of buttoned-up law,” he says. “Whereas if you’re a personal injury lawyer that deals with everyday people on a daily basis, these are the kinds of things people like.”

Law school grads carry a lot of debt and Panneton says a lot of young lawyers are becoming their own brands. The Texas Law Hawk got a Superbowl commercial earlier this year. One Houston lawyer, Panneton says, has a Poké stop in front of his office to invite people to stop by. Panneton says between 2013 and 2015, Texas licensed 9,000 new lawyers so the changing demographics of Texas’ lawyers may be part of why we’ve seen these kinds of viral ads.

“You’re going to see these attorneys really utilizing modern media in a way I don’t think we’ve ever seen,” he says. “If we keep growing at this number, there’s going to be more younger lawyers than older lawyers. These younger lawyers are motivated – they’re looking to make a name for themselves.”

Post by Hannah McBride.