The Daily

But, Wait! There’s More!!

When I started practicing law in 1988, there was only one advertiser in town. His office was in Hollywood, Florida and his tag line was, “the light is always on”. I used to think about the abuse his cleaning staff may have endured for forgetting not to turn the light off at night. Later, other local lawyers picked up that beat. Before the Bar got around to writing rules to govern ads, I can remember one particular fellow who filmed himself being interviewed dramatically outside the Broward County Courthouse by a fake newsperson (the microphone emblazoned with a big W followed by his initials). When I was in law school in Virginia, I remember seeing an ad in Maryland during which a person crawled from highway wreckage to a phone booth (yes, they really did exist). The tag was, “If you have a dime, you have a lawyer”.

I left my Father’s practice in 1995, opening my own office in Fort Myers, Florida. We continued to work complex cases together over the years, all over the State. The only thing he ever asked me once I was on my own was not to advertise. I’d spent enough time working with him in the old fashioned way to understand that he meant it. I could sense what it would mean to him if I wasn’t able to honor the promise.

We’re launching updates to the website soon, including a series of videos for the YouTube channel the developers insisted we create. The video process gave me the opportunity to reflect on the work I did with my Father and the work I’ve done on my own. It was difficult, trying to cut clips that didn’t reek of what he used to derisively call “champerty and barretry”. I felt self conscious throughout, trying to navigate my way through the work of a lifetime (two, in fact) without wandering over the edge into advertising. Even relatively innocuous stories that certainly came nowhere near Bar Rule offense and may fall short of shilling – but clearly approaching self-promotion by any other name – felt like a breach of my promise to my Father.

But he was always  the first to insist that I be my own man and stand on my own merits. So I assume he’ll cut me slack in that regard.

I was driving around town the other day and passed a billboard. Smiling down at me from above was the giant photo-shopped figure of a lawyer (who I know) naked save for bikini brief lying on a beach somewhere. They don’t make a tag line capable of overcoming that kind of judgment. Merits speak for themselves.

Thanks Dad.

The Thompson Law Firm