Adventures in lawyer advertising: Battle of the Hammers

For years, personal injury law advertising and violent imagery have gone hand in hand. Only in this field would we get a video of an unhinged attorney smashing a pickup truck into a parked car and call it an advertisement. The more they can yell or blow things up, it seems, the better.

Keeping with the tradition of aggression, we have not one, not two, but three different personal injury lawyers who have branded themselves “The Hammer.” But in the dog-eat-dog world of personal injury law, there can only be room for one Hammer. So who should win the rights to the title?

Should it be Lowell “The Hammer” Stanley from Virginia, who compares personal injury law to making sausage? Or Jim “The Hammer” Shapiro, the personal injury attorney possibly from New York (or Canada or Florida), who claims he loves to play rough? Or our entry from down South, Jim “The Texas Hammer” Adler, who is supposedly meaner than a junkyard dog?

Which Hammer should reign supreme? Let’s review the evidence….

Lowell “The Hammer” Stanley, hailing from Norfolk, Virginia, makes his case entirely through an extensive YouTube presence. Show this guy a camera and he will yell at it.

Stanley holds himself out as the “Avenger for the Injured” and assures us that size matters, in terms of client recovery anyway (clever there, Hammer). In my favorite spot, the Hammer conjures scenes from The Jungle as he informs us that “getting you a fair settlement from stingy insurance companies is a lot like making sausage, you don’t want to see it done.”

If you haven’t had your fill of Lowell Stanley yet, there is a seemingly endless supply of commercials to watch, including this one, this one, and this one.

To sum it all up, someone has created this awesome montage that transforms Stanley into a rapper, and features the likes of Hulk Hogan, Steve Urkel, and, of course, MC Hammer:

Well done, sir.

The next Hammer in contention is a fellow with a sketchier past. Jim “The Hammer” Shapiro used to advertise in the Rochester, New York area by way of predictably low-budget commercials featuring a lot of monotone and screaming. Like Stanley, Shapiro has a large YouTube presence showcasing his finer work.

With catch lines such as “I sue drunks” and “I love to play rough,” Shapiro makes a compelling case that he truly is The Hammer of all hammers. There are other videos, including one where he just yells the word “victims” over and over again. Shapiro loses points to Stanley in the remix department, though, because his montage can’t even compete. I mean, they couldn’t conjure up footage of even one dancing 80s star?

But nothing can top the ad where Shapiro professes: “I cannot rip out the hearts of those who hurt you. I cannot hand you their severed heads. But I can hunt them down and settle the score.”

OK then. If that’s not a lawyer who will fight for you, I don’t know what is.

According to Urban Dictionary (yes, this guy has an Urban Dictionary entry), Shapiro’s tagline was, “I may be an SOB, but I’m your SOB.” Nice.

But before we hand the Golden Hammer Trophy to Shapiro, it’s time look at The Hammer’s dark side. In 2002, The Hammer was nailed with a $1.9 million malpractice verdict after he accepted a $65,000 settlement on behalf of a car crash victim who was in a coma, despite never having met his client. As it turns out, the settlement undervalued the victim’s injuries and didn’t pay his medical bills. It also came out during videotaped testimony (because why would the lawyer be at the trial?) that Shapiro had never tried a case, hadn’t lived in New York for over ten years, and let subordinates such as paralegals handle his cases while he lived in Florida.

Not cool, Hammer. I’ll be taking that trophy back now.

Our last contestant under consideration is Jim “The Texas Hammer” Adler. As always, we have a slew of ads, courtesy of the magic of YouTube.

Adler promises, “you call, I’ll hammer” in the requisite Texas drawl, while assuring us that he bites, given that he’s “meaner than a junkyard dog.” There are other videos out there, but where Adler really seems to wander off the path of sanity is when he starts talking about the possible bankruptcy implications “if you get hit by a UFO….” Sure, why not?

Adler makes an admirable effort to market to potential Spanish-speaking clients in this spot, where he promotes himself as El Martillo Tejano. So, he’s not just The Texas Hammer, but the Spanish Texas Hammer, too.

Sadly, there is no remix video for the Texas Hammer. It seems his fans don’t love him as much as the other Hammers’ fans do. Or maybe they have more important things to do with their time. Either way, it is definitely a weakness in Adler’s case.

So, who is the Supreme Hammer? I have to give this one to the Avenger for the Injured, Lowell “The Hammer” Stanley, for the sheer number of crazy commercials he has put out, although I confess that the scale was tipped by the awesome rapping montage. But I will give a special Foreign Language category award to Jim “The Texas Hammer” Adler. Keep up the good work, sir. And Jim “The Hammer” Shapiro — I’m pretty sure that a huge malpractice verdict and a confession that you’re not even really a lawyer take you out of the running. Feel free to slip out the side door while no one’s looking.


Adventures in Lawyer Advertising: Battle of the Hammers
Natasha Lydon
September 25, 2012
Above the Law

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