Pennsylvania lawyer's ad starring smiling thugs draws criticism

PITTSBURGH Fri Mar 7, 2014 5:18pm EST

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PITTSBURGH (Reuters) - A Pittsburgh lawyer's online ad showing smiling robbers, drug dealers and prostitutes flashing thumbs up and thanking him for getting them off the hook has garnered tens of thousands of views and drawn fire from a local bar association.

One fictional criminal pauses while climbing out a window, carrying a laptop to say "Thanks Dan," to the camera, while a pair of men carrying handguns offer a similar message before pulling ski masks over their faces in the three-minute, 27-second ad posted on YouTube by criminal defense attorney Daniel Muessig.

Muessig, a 2012 University of Pittsburgh Law School graduate, then makes his own pitch: "Trust me, I may have a law degree, but I think like a criminal."

The spot has been viewed more than 80,000 times since Muessig posted it on Thursday, and the 32-year-old attorney said he believed the tongue-in-cheek approach would appeal to possible clients.

"I wanted to connect with my potential clients in a way that people from my generation could understand," Muessig said in a Friday phone interview. "I wanted to give people something that would be memorable and entertaining."

Tom Loftus, spokesman for the Allegheny County Bar Association, said he found the ad "insulting to Pittsburgh lawyers and lawyers across the country, who take great pride in their profession."

He said he worried that the video could be misinterpreted: "There could be kids watching it, or people who don't even understand what tongue-in-cheek means, and what they'll see is: if you commit a crime this attorney will get you off without any explanation."

Muessig defended the spot but said he would take it down if law enforcement or a legal professional organization asked him to.

"It's a send-up of the cartoonishly amoral Jewish criminal defense attorney," he said. "The criminal justice system is broken, it creates a system where we are basically putting people on a conveyor belt to prison. If you want to get your ire up, get your ire up about that."

(Editing by Scott Malone and Richard Chang)

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Comments (5)
Dehumanist wrote:
“insulting to Pittsburgh lawyers and lawyers across the country”

hahahaha….I’m going to be laughing all day to that one!

Mar 08, 2014 5:49am EST  --  Report as abuse
Will80 wrote:
I’m not saying that all attorneys are dishonest and criminal in nature, but I’ve never met one who wasn’t.

The first attorney that I ever needed was after I my car was hit in the rear while stopped at a traffic signal, by a drunk driver who was traveling at a high rate of speed. When I contacted an attorney, the first thing he wanted me to do was to start wearing a neck brace, even though my neck wasn’t injured, and he wanted me to see his doctor, instead of my own. I told him no and tried three other attorneys who all wanted me to do the same thing. Since the police report supported my claim, I handled the matter myself and got what I deserved, which was to repair my car. The only medical costs that I asked for was the cost of a visit to my doctor to make sure that I was OK.

Obama is an example of the worst kind of lawyer and he is the most evil person to ever become President.

Mar 09, 2014 12:52pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
JamVee wrote:
Well . . . , all you prospective Defense Attorneys out there . . You need to carefully examine your own moral terpitude before you take up this particular calling.

There are only two kinds of defense attorneys; SAINTS or CRIMINALS. You’ll need to decide which one you will be, before you make it your “Calling”!

Mar 10, 2014 3:36pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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