Also a good sense of humor, though you may disagree with his message.
Or you may not.
Accused criminals are entitled to a defense and defending them is an honorable profession, even though many of the accused will in fact be guilty. I'm not entirely sure about the legal ethics of suggesting to potential criminal-law clients that "laws are arbitrary," but especially since it's true that at least some of them are (see The Emergency Sasquatch Ordinance, supra), I think he's got a First Amendment right to say that.
No crimes were actually committed in the making of this ad, according to the disclaimer at the end. The ones depicted are "dramatizations."
With that out of the way, here are a few minor criticisms.
First of all, lawyer advertising of course has to be true and not misleading. Beyond that, lawyers have a First Amendment right to advertise just like anybody else does. Here, the basic facts set forth in the ad are basically true. Sadly, Jamie Casino's brother and a female friend were killed in 2012 (a suspect has since been indicted). The local police chief made a statement that said "there were no innocent victims" in the incident, but later retracted that. There is of course no way to know whether any of this actually motivated Casino's switch from criminal-defense to personal-injury lawyer as he claims in the ad, but no reason to doubt it, either. So the facts stated appear to be true (although it's really not possible to check the accuracy of the ridiculous "reenactments").
There are, however, a few questionable choices we could discuss.
For one thing, ads can get a lawyer in trouble if they are "likely to create an unjustified expectation about results the lawyer can achieve...." Here, I don't think the Super Bowl ad does this—I'm thinking more of the earlier one that briefly appears in which Casino is throwing money (gold pieces, even!) at the camera. That might be interpreted to suggest that hiring Casino is a sure-fire way to get paid, but that is probably well within the kind of "puffery" that is allowed in advertising.
Then there is the fact that the name of the firm is "Casino Law." Yes, it is named after Jamie Casino, but "Casino" may not be his real name, at least judging from the fact that his brother's last name was "Biancosino." If he changed it to suggest hiring him would result in a big "payoff," that might be an issue, but if anything I think it weighs in his favor because winning at a casino involves significant risk. People may not realize that, but that's not his fault.
As Rolling Stone suggests, it is a little problematic that the ad depicts him desecrating a grave and smashing a grave marker, even if he does it with a flaming sledgehammer named after his dead brother and to a badass metal soundtrack. Georgia law doesn't seem clear on this, but that might well be criminal trespass or criminal damage to property in the second degree (had it actually happened). Even if we forgave him that particular act, writing "CASINO LAW" in huge flaming letters across the entire cemetery would definitely be an offense.
I guess the thing that comes closest to a real issue is the fact that Casino describes his former criminal-defense clients as "the most cold-hearted villains," the kind of person he doesn't represent anymore. Rule 1.6 (Confidentiality) requires a lawyer to keep confidential any information gained during a representation, including information that might be "embarrassing" to a former client if disclosed. Luckily for Casino, however, he doesn't mention any particular client, so I doubt this could be considered a breach of confidentiality. Personally I would be more concerned about the reaction of the cold-hearted villains themselves than I would about an ethics charge anyway.
Ultimately, the only real issue here is probably whether you think the ad is in bad taste. Well, OF COURSE it is in bad taste. But as the comments to the Georgia rules note, "questions of effectiveness and taste in advertising" are highly subjective. Regulating them too strictly would infringe on the First Amendment. Besides, it's not like this is the worst attorney ad out there. (Other examples for your perusal.)
At least in terms of production values. You have to admit it's totally solid there.
According to reports today (Deadspinand Rolling Stone, for example), the ad embedded below ran in Savannah, Georgia, during the Super Bowl. (Thanks, Jessica and James, among others.) The lawyer responsible for it reportedly bought the entire two minutes of local airtime for this epic work, which either recounts a true story of how tragedy changed the direction of his life forever or is a trailer for a new TV series on the USA network, probably starring Nicholas Cage.
So as not to delay your watching of it, I'll leave it at that for now:
I'm not speechless very often, and obviously I wasn't here either, but this brought me to the brink of speechlessness.
"At some point a man must ask why God created him."
Sorry, I should be more specific—this is the atrocious lawyer ad I mentioned last week that featured the appallingly stereotypical depiction of a Chinese person. See "No, I Don't See Anything Wrong With This Lawyer Ad. Why Do You Ask?" (Nov. 26, 2013). The law firm and production company involved are pointing fingers, and the law firm is getting the better of that contest, I think.
The firm named in the advertisement, McCutcheon & Hamner, P.C., quickly posted a comment on its Facebook page saying that the firm's YouTube channel had been "hacked" and that it "did not approve the latest advertising commercial" created by Definitive Television. That is a little ambiguous, but as I noted last week, there did not seem to be any evidence that the firm had any connection with the thing, which the production company could have created as a promo spot for itself, for all we know. Although how it got onto the firm's YouTube channel remains a mystery for now.
On Monday, December 2, Above the Law received a statement from Definitive Television saying that it knew nothing about any "hacking" and denying any involvement with the law firm's YouTube account. (The statement showed more evidence of literacy than the YouTube comments I mentioned last week, but not much more.) Definitive Television went on to accuse ATL of libel (which is highly doubtful complete bullshit) and said ATL's criticism of the video was itself racist (which is just baffling).
Later that same day, ATL got a statement from McCutcheon & Hamner saying that it had reviewed its financial records and had confirmed that neither it nor anyone associated with it had paid for or authorized the offensive video. The firm said it sent Definitive Television a cease-and-desist letter, that DT had refused to desist, and that the firm was considering its legal options.
I guess the one thing I can say for sure at this point is that the television Definitive Television creates is definitely terrible television. If you thought it wasn't possible to lower the bar for lawyer advertising, of all things, boy were you wrong.
Update to this update: A great post on this over at Popehat, where Ken explains that Definitive TV's legal threat is "complete bullshit" and why that is so, and notes accurately that the Definitive TV guy writes a little like a Nigerian email scammer.