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Battle of the Law Firm Videos: Evan M. Levow v. Michael H. Silvers v. Gomez Firm v. Meshbesher & Associates

By Neil J. Squillante | Monday, April 28, 2008

Once again it's time for Battle of the Law Firm Videos. This time we'll channel the WWE and pit no fewer than four law firms against one another. (No hitting below the briefcase, gentlemen.)

The Big Levowski ...

We begin with Even M. Levow, a New Jersey lawyer who specializes in DWI cases. In his video, State vs. Chun: The Biggest Case in New Jersey DWI History (video no longer available, possibly because of this review), Levow discusses his involvement in the Chun case, which challenged the use of the Draeger Alcotest, a computerized replacement for the traditional breathalyzer.

Levow claims that his experience in the Chun case enables him to better defend you should you find yourself on the receiving end of that test. I believe him, but Levow doesn't explain what happened in the Chun case.

A Google search shows that one month before Levow posted his video, the New Jersey Supreme Court held that the state police could use the Draeger Alcotest, but it imposed a number of requirements.

Perhaps Levow felt that this mixed decision was too complex for his YouTube video, but he talks up the Chun case to such an extent you can't help but wonder about its outcome.

Aside from death and taxes, the other certainty in life is that lawyers get paid to spin facts to suit the circumstances. And Levow is a lawyer. Levow should have simply noted that he helped impose certain requirements on the Draeger Alcotest, and that if the police don't follow these procedures you might walk. And just like that he could have explained the outcome of the Chun case.

Enough about the substance. Let's get to the mechanics. The video is well-produced. It shows Levow with a courthouse as a backdrop and his firm's phone number and Web address below. Levow clearly rehearsed. He handles himself well in front of the camera. At 1:52, the video might be a little long, but that's a minor quibble given Levow's good stage presence.

Regarding the accompanying copy, Levow lists his contact information, but because he fails to use the http prefix with his URL, the firm's Web address is not a live link. Also, the copy consists of one big paragraph — and it's poorly written — clearly not the work of a professional copywriter.

Is This a Legal Video or an Aaron Spelling Production?

When you play Michael H. Silvers' video, Los Angeles Personal Injury and Car Accident Attorney, you might think you got Dan Tana-rolled.

This clever video features a slide show of bus, car, motorcycle, truck, and train wrecks while a funky soundtrack plays. Thanks to the photos and accompanying titles, we learn that Silvers handles just about every imaginable vehicular accident without any exposition by Silvers himself. Yes, he practices in LA. Did you have to ask?

Unfortunately, Silvers forgets the golden rule of Hollywood — don't screw up the ending. The video ends with a blurry photo of Silvers staring into the camera with a bookcase behind him. Given the slick nature of this video, Silvers should have used an action shot of himself — perhaps walking up the courthouse steps or maybe examining the scene of an accident.

The accompanying copy reads like a cheap classified ad, which is a shame given the creativity that clearly went into the video. Silvers does link to his firm's Web site.

CHiPs, Esq. ...

John Gomez of the Gomez Law Firm has a potential winner in his video, San Diego Auto Accident Attorney, but it needs some editing.

Gomez, who looks a bit like Erik Estrada, makes a number of good points. For example, he tells viewers not to immediately accept blame for car accidents as he runs through a list of variables such as the sobriety of the other driver, road conditions, misplaced or missing road signs, etc.

Also, the video makes excellent use of graphics, including a split screen effect for bullet points and a title below Gomez that wouldn't look out of place on a CNN broadcast.

But at 3:18, the video is too long. Gomez doesn't have the screen presence to pull off such a long monologue. Worst of all, the opening title promotes the agency that created the video. Would BMW allow its ad agency to promote itself at the beginning of its advertisements? No, and neither should any law firm.

The accompanying copy is short and sweet, but it contains a typo (it uses "than" instead of "then"). Also, Gomez does not list his firm's contact information or Web address.

Ishtar, the Sequel ...

Steve Meshbesher of Meshbesher & Associates in his video of the same name has a lot of experience and good information to pass along, but he cannot make a convincing case thanks to poor production values. He sounds like he's in a cave. You can hear traffic outside his office. The camera faces his sun-filled office windows, resulting in a washed-out picture.

As for the script, it sounds extemporaneous, which is fine if you're Robin Williams. Steve is not. If he wrote the script, he didn't rehearse it enough.

Unfortunately, the accompanying copy is also a letdown. It contains a typo ("Meshbesher & Associates should be the Law Firm of you choose"). Who wrote this copy? Who proofread this copy? A 20-page brief will always contain a typo or two. But a typo is inexcusable in a 40-word blurb.

And the Winner Is ...

No one wants law firms to benefit from online videos more than I do. This explains my tough love in these ongoing reviews. Law firms should not create videos on their own nor should they hire posers who have clearly run up against the Peter Principle. Conduct due diligence and hire a true professional who will tell you to edit your script, rehearse, etc.

Michael H. Silvers is the winner today. His simple, slick video gets the job done better than the others. Just change that photo at the end and re-upload.

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Topics: Law Firm Marketing/Publications/Web Sites | TL Editorial | Videos
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