Lawyer’s Local Super Bowl Commercial Goes Viral: Are Florida’s Rules too Stringent?

National and local advertisements aired during the Super Bowl gain almost as much attention as the Super Bowl itself.

During this year’s Super Bowl, James Casino, a personal injury lawyer, ran a local advertisement in Georgia. The story line in the advertisement highlighted a “criminal defense lawyer who defended ‘cold-hearted villains,’” until the police became allegedly involved in Casino’s brother’s tragic murder. According to the Huffington Post article, Casino “used to defend accused criminals, which he now calls villains. Now, he’s here to defend you. The reason he does this is because the cops are also villains to him.”

After the Super Bowl, Casino’s ad went viral and  many magazines praised his creativity. However, the Georgia State Bar president did not join in on this sentiment. Although there was no ethical violation according to the Georgia rules, he stated that “‘most members’ of the Georgia Bar did not approve of what he calls Casino’s ‘sensationalism’ and ‘over-the-top graphics’ as an attempt to get business.”  Defending his advertisement, Casino stated that nowhere in the commercial was he “begging for people to call [him].” Additionally, there was no website listed, or “catchy slogans” present anywhere in the commercial.

Advertisements like Casino’s commercial are highly regulated by the bar, and lawyers have to be careful how they present themselves. Misrepresentation on an advertisement can lead to ethical violations. Consider, for example, Casino’s advertisement under Florida’s stringent advertisement rules. E.g., Florida Rule 4-7.15 (advertisement with dramatization, image, sound, or video that appeal to potential client’s emotions is unduly manipulative).”

For more information on Casino’s commercial, please click here.

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