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The Perfect Legal Argument

“If tigers are OK for ads, hawks should be too”

In another example of exemplary attorney behavior (of course behind Murdaugh) a South Carolina attorney said he’s being unfairly targeted by legal regulators for employing a screeching hawk as his mascot on local TV advertisements.  John Hawkins, founder of Hawk Law, said the South Carolina Office of Disciplinary Counsel is singling him out by threatening to sanction him for his ads, which the watchdog group has called objectionable to the legal community, according to The Post and Courier.  The ads in question feature a hawk and actors flapping their arms in hawk-like mannerisms to promote their personal-injury case settlements.

This is not just being discussed, or put in the public, this argument has made it to the Courtroom.  In court documents filed in federal court, Hawkins said the disciplinary counsel allows Texas-based Kirkendall Dwyer LLP to use a tiger as a mascot for its national “Law Tigers” network of motorcycle accident attorneys. Hawkins said the counsel reached a “secret settlement” with the Law Tigers when the firm pushed back against attempts to stop its ads. Hawkins is seeking documents from that settlement to back up his defense.

“If ODC has reached an agreement that allows Kirkendall Dwyer to use its Law Tigers brand that includes pictures, depictions and recordings of tigers, it cannot constitutionally investigate and prosecute John Hawkins for using pictures, depictions and recordings of hawks in his advertising,” Hawkins said in a court filing. “After all, a 400-plus pound animal that is known to maul, attack and eat people implies a greater ability ‘to obtain results’ than does a three-pound bird that eats mice, squirrels and other small animals.”

Hawkins is a former state legislator who represented Spartanburg County in South Carolina’s House of Representatives and Senate for a combined 13 years. A rival lawyer filed a complaint with the ODC about the advertisements in 2017 and then two more followed – one from a former Hawk Law associate and one by another competitor.  The ODC filed formal charges against Hawkins this year, threatening sanctions as severe as disbarment.

That’s when Hawkins filed his lawsuit, contending constitutional violations. Kirkendall Dwyer also filed a First Amendment lawsuit against the ODC which was then settled and dismissed in December 2020, although the terms were kept private.  Hawkins has vowed to continue the fight with two of the formal charges still pending.

Conclusion

First, the ODC (Office of Disciplinary Counsel) is the board that oversees attorneys in SC.  They work hard and do a good job.  Second, if your attorney advertising consist of people flapping their arms like birds or having a nickname, then Third why would any client want to work with them?  I am not saying the ODC is perfect and I am not saying this is not a good attorney, but what would make people that have real legal issues want to work with Law Firms and Attorneys who do not appear to to take full understanding of the importance of their job.

An attorney is the gate keeper of civil rights and freedom in this Country.  When an individual or a community needs help with the law, an attorney should be the person that steps up to assist.  If we as a profession can’t appreciate what we mean in society – how do we expect others to understand?  Our work is not about doing whatever it takes for the money, but it is doing the right thing for our clients.  As professionals lets stand on the merits of who we are and what we do.  Lets show our clients, community, and each other civility and respect.  If we act like a joke; then we become a joke – an Attorney Joke.

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