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Pennsylvania lawyer Daniel Muessig's ad starring smiling thugs draws criticism

Lawyer's Commercial Featuring Smiling Thugs Causes Fire Storm

By Elizabeth Daley

(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."

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don March 11 2014 at 9:36 PM

All those lawyers handle clients like that everyday.We need them but they are all greedy hypocrites.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
spankster59 March 11 2014 at 5:44 PM

The poster boy for defense attorneys everywhere...

Flag Reply +4 rate up
pilot3388u March 11 2014 at 5:55 PM

What's the problem? He's just being honest. Don't we want honest lawyers ?

Flag Reply +4 rate up
bigdog March 11 2014 at 6:10 PM

Hey, he's a lawyer, all lawyers are dirtbags, especially criminal lwyers.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
mikegotcha123 March 11 2014 at 6:12 PM

How can you insult a lawyer? Don't pay him. The legal system is a joke. A judge throws a guy in jail. A DA gets a conviction. Five years later these guys have a criminal law firm defending the scum they put in jail the first time. It really is a joke. Besides, if you have a lot of money you generally get off.

Flag Reply +7 rate up
Hello Butch March 11 2014 at 11:07 PM

It is typical for America land of the free no matter who you kill.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
joeknowswoodies March 11 2014 at 6:16 PM

He used to be a used car salesman.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
ronji5464 March 11 2014 at 6:21 PM

Leave it in, truth in advertising.

Flag Reply +4 rate up
Ria March 11 2014 at 6:21 PM

This is not so different from the ads where people are gloating about "running a red light", "exceeding the speed limit" etc. but the advertising law firm got them off and their tickets dismissed. If they admit to the "crime" why shouldn't they pay the fine? Disgusting.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
billyboy March 11 2014 at 5:43 PM

Chill folks lol.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
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