Is this the real-life Better Call Saul?
Street-smart former lawyer Daniel Muessig produced a tongue-in-cheek online ad for his Pittsburgh criminal defense practice that has gone viral.
Muessig, 31, used to tour as freestyle rapper Dos Noun before experiencing a “quarter-life crisis” that sent him to law school at the University of Pittsburgh.
In part, the ad features criminals (actually actors) in the midst of committing various crimes enthusiastically saying “Thanks Dan!”
Later in the ad, Muessig looks into the camera and says…
When you’re charged with a serious criminal offense, you’re facing the fight of your life; you need a lawyer who understands you and understands where you’re coming from. Trust me; I may have a law degree, but I think like a criminal. Street knowledge.”
Lawyers have a well-deserved reputation of failing to return client phone calls or generally being non-responsive after they bank a client’s retainer. With that in mind, Muessig muses in the video that “A lot of criminal defense attorneys around town will take your money and then blow you off. That’s not me. I pick up the phone, I answer calls, I return letters, and I make jail visits. Because I’ll probably be there, visiting my friends anyway.”
In a radio interview, Muessig acknowledged that some might consider the ad controversial, but that he is also a big fan of innovative and entertaining marketing techniques as a result of his hip-hop background. “When you set out to make a commercial where you want to connect with people, potential clients, you can’t be happier than when it reaches a wide audience and provokes a big response … I was really just trying to use humor and thinking outside the box in terms of designing the ad to appeal to people that I think I can help…”
In a separate interview, Muessig — who apparently has rap videos on the internet as well — explained that his quarter-life crisis convinced him to make a career change. “It came down to my skill set: I’m never going to be a person who builds websites. I’m not going to be a doctor or scientist. But I’m good at improvisational argument, talking to people, reading, and writing. These are skills I got from rapping and freestyling, and stuff like that. And I’m good at running my own business… realized that if I could pass the LSAT and pass the bar — which were not exactly givens, by the way — I could become a criminal defense attorney, work for myself, do what I’m good at, and use it to help people.”
He also suggested that because he has a foot in both worlds, his street knowledge can help him connect and relate with his clients far more than most stodgy criminal defense attorneys. He insisted, though, that “That’s not to say rap music is inherently criminal — that’s very much not true. But rap put me in touch with a wide variety of people…”
As far as the “Thanks Dan!” ad is concerned, Daniel Muessig noted that “As crazy and heavy-handed as the commercial is, it’s a send up of that typical lawyer trope. Anybody I’ve actually represented in court can tell you that I’m conscientious, I care, and I work hard for my clients.”
What do you think of Daniel Muessig’s irreverent ad promoting his criminal defense work?