Buffalo lawmakers irate at law firm ad set in council chambers

by Walter Olson on August 5, 2011

“What’s next? A dog food commercial?” fumed Council President David A. Franczyk, who says, as do colleagues, that they were never informed that a prominent local injury-law practice was filming a TV ad in its historic chambers [Buffalo News via WSJ]. The firm of Cellino & Barnes, which we’ve met previously on this site, says it has no plans to discontinue showing the ad despite the lawmakers’ displeasure.

{ 5 comments }

1 VMS 08.05.11 at 7:16 am

Council President David A. Franczyk and his colleagues are a bunch of jackasses (or are feigning lack of knowledge of a commercial filmed right under their noses).

In any event, the “outrage” shown by Mr. Franczyk further publicized Cellino & Barnes many fold beyond what the ad did, and no one without an intimate knowledge of the “historic chambers” would know or suspect that the ad was filmed there without this publicity.

2 Richard Nieporent 08.05.11 at 7:55 am

and no one without an intimate knowledge of the “historic chambers” would know or suspect that the ad was filmed there without this publicity

If that were the case, then why did the law firm bother to film the commercial there?

3 VMS 08.05.11 at 2:33 pm

The commercial itself (as far as I can tell) did not disclose where it was filmed. I will admit that the background does look nice, and it is an appropriate backdrop for the commercial (unlike images of exploding cars and other such nonsense that one sees since the SCOTUS said that the First Amendment trumps any limitations on decorum in lawyer advertising). I deduce that someone in authority gave them permission to film there, since I am sure that they did not just trespass with a camera crew and start filming. And if Purina thought that the historic chambers as opposed to the City park was an appropriate location for a dog food commercial, I would think that they have every bit as much right to film there. If the City were smart, they would rent the place out for advertising purposes to help offset the tax burden of running the place.

4 Richard Nieporent 08.05.11 at 10:06 pm

I deduce that someone in authority gave them permission to film there, since I am sure that they did not just trespass with a camera crew and start filming.

Not exactly. While the filmmaker had permission to film the building it was not for the purpose of making a commercial. According to the newspaper article “Filmmaker Peter McGennis had permission from the city’s special events office to film in the City Hall lobby and Council Chambers on Saturday, June 11. But he told officials he was reshooting some scenes for a film called “Queen City.”

An apologetic McGennis insisted that he wasn’t trying to pull a fast one when he decided to tape the Cellino & Barnes spot as part of the day’s shoot.”

5 Anonymous Attorney 08.10.11 at 11:38 am

Most states’ legal ethics codes prohibit lawyers from claiming the imprimatur of government power or association in their advertising or naming. For instance,you can’t name your law firm “The United States Law Firm”. Seems this filiming location skirts that prohibition. But plaintiff’s attorneys are kind of like the high school football jocks of the legal profession — they do what they please, and authority looks the other way.

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