Victims. Victims. Victims.
August 1, 2006 5:33 AM   Subscribe

"I may be an SOB, but I'm your SOB." Jim "the Hammer!" Shapiro, a personal injury lawyer, had some of the craziest commercials in Rochester NY, [despite living in Florida]. The best commercials are here [avi / youtube] and here [avi / youtube]. While he admitted he could not "rip out the hearts" or "hand you the severed heads" of those who hurt you, he promised to "hunt them down and settle the score." Shapiro & Shapiro were sued for malpractice in 2002 for $1.9 million, and their website has been "under construction" ever since. Web archive has a great glimpse from May 2000. You call. I hammer.
posted by yeti (33 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You call, I hammer!
posted by delmoi at 5:41 AM on August 1, 2006

Staple of my college years. I always liked the cheap hammer animation.
posted by Mayor Curley at 5:45 AM on August 1, 2006

Jim "The Hammer!" Shapiro, apply directly to forehead. Jim "The Hammer!" Shapiro, apply directly to forehead.
posted by revgeorge at 5:55 AM on August 1, 2006

Jim "The Hammer!" Shapiro, apply directly to forehead. Jim "The Hammer!" Shapiro, apply directly to forehead.

NO! Make it STOP!
posted by gregschoen at 5:57 AM on August 1, 2006

So he's a Maccabee?
posted by Astro Zombie at 6:05 AM on August 1, 2006

I don't remember any of those The Hammer ads, despite growing up on Buffalo TV. The Shapiro & Shapiro name is familiar though, I wonder if it's the other Shapiro that I remember? These guys always seemed super shady.
posted by antifuse at 6:11 AM on August 1, 2006

And I'm pretty sure that Fred 'The Hammer' Williamson is the only man who can claim the title of 'the Hammer'.
posted by gregschoen at 6:12 AM on August 1, 2006

Tom Delay
posted by Balisong at 6:20 AM on August 1, 2006

Balisong: Well played.
posted by gregschoen at 6:20 AM on August 1, 2006

Don't forget the Pope.

And Torquemada.
posted by staggernation at 6:27 AM on August 1, 2006

I went to RIT, and that phone # is forever ingrained into my brain. I'm always trying to explain the spectacle that was "The Hammer" to my friends... now I can show them. This makes me so happy. Thanks, yeti!
posted by Roommate at 6:32 AM on August 1, 2006

I love the fact that he never specifically says he sues drunk drivers. He sues drunks. Like, you could go to him if you lost a bar fight or found yourself in a codependent relationship.
posted by staggernation at 6:32 AM on August 1, 2006

And Al Rosen.

(Scroll down to 1946; there are of course better pages for Rosen, but they tend not to mention his "Hebrew Hammer" moniker, presumably because it's seen as un-PC. And you gotta love the insanity of "who goes on to play for the Cleveland Indians and almost destroys baseball with his union demands for higher salaries"; I hope that's an undigested quote from some early-'50s paper rather than the current opinion of the Eagle.)
posted by languagehat at 6:36 AM on August 1, 2006

I knew someone who worked in his law office in Rochester. He'd show up once every three months and walk around barefoot.
posted by Lucinda at 7:06 AM on August 1, 2006

Watching television in Buffalo and Rochester, one would think Western New York is the legal capital of the United States. Seriously, lawyer commercials air far more frequently in Buffalo than in any other city I've visited or lived in.
posted by elmwood at 7:36 AM on August 1, 2006

Revgeorge you made me cry... Haven't laughed this hard in weeks!
posted by lorbus at 7:57 AM on August 1, 2006

Personally, I found the buzzo and cd archive commercials to be the most bizarre. And it seems like car dealership commercials are a degree or two more absurd when I was in Rochester (the "you can't stack cars" guy has something not quite right about him)....maybe it's all the chemicals Kodak has dumped into the river.....
posted by blind.wombat at 8:15 AM on August 1, 2006

Well, if we're going to talk car commercials, we have to bring in the immortal Cal Worthington (three-minute RealAudio montage of classic ads featuring Cal with skunk, snake, elephant, bear, etc. etc.).
posted by languagehat at 8:33 AM on August 1, 2006

blind.wombat - wasn't it the Record Archive...? (the guy with the record costume yelling "record archive is the place to go"). I met Buzzo a couple times and when you could understand him he was hilarious, but mostly, you couldn't understand him.

My favorite was the House of Guitars commercials with 1970 Armen footage... with afro. Even if the place was the worst place to buy a guitar since they basically stacked brand new guitars on top of each other.
posted by premortem at 8:58 AM on August 1, 2006

Part of the lawsuit against him was that a paralegal handled the whole case and settled for, I think, $80,000 which would typically have been 7 figures for the plantiff's injuries. It came out that Shapiro has never tried a case in court. Ever.

BTW, I am the Easter Bunny. Hop! Hop!
posted by sluglicker at 9:08 AM on August 1, 2006

premortem - yea, it was Record Archive. I've been out of Roch. for a few years least I was kinda close :)
posted by blind.wombat at 9:13 AM on August 1, 2006

Buzzo! Armand! Wow, you guys are taking me somewhere I never thought I'd visit again. And I'm loving it.

For whatever reason, I recall "Big B Buzzo" being the same guy as The Record Archive Guy -- when clearly they're not. Must've been the chunky-fun dorkiness of each that makes my memory lump them together.

Meanwhile, my brother (back in Roch) tells me that the Hill TV guys are just a sad, run-down electronics-repair shop now. That's a big step down from running with the Shapiros and our record-hocking friends.

Sigh. I wonder how Goodman's (husky boys...where the prices are always good, man) is doing...
posted by diastematic at 9:23 AM on August 1, 2006

antifuse, I wouldn't worry much about not having seen these ads. I grew up in Buffalo too, but never saw the ads until I went to college at Cornell - they played these in Ithaca quite regularly. My friends and I always enjoyed these commercials during our college years. I especially liked the progression from "whoa, this guy's a little nuts" into violent rantings and random image montages of fire, broken stairs, mashed up cars, etc. flashing in the background.
posted by misskaz at 9:39 AM on August 1, 2006

Living in Chicago in the early 90's, I always looked forward to the unintentionally hilarious Eagle Man insurance commercials.
posted by Scoo at 10:18 AM on August 1, 2006

I grew up in Rochester and went to RIT. So many characters from that damn city. There is most certainly something in the water.

Holy God, a Rochester thread on Metafilter....complete with my old, err....Roommate (seriously!). Haven't seen you in YEARS, Roommate. Email me.
posted by quite unimportant at 10:18 AM on August 1, 2006

Guys, this is metafilter. Y'all are supposed to be a bunch of crackerjack internet researchers, right? I'm surprised no one has yet done the basic research to find out that Mr. Shapiro is no longer licensed to practice law in either New York or Florida. (I haven't checked to see if he's licensed in other states, though I seriously doubt it.)

First, the New York bar suspended Mr. Shapiro back in 2004 for both his false and misleading TV commercials and a solicitation letter he sent to a comatose patient three days after a train hit her car.

Choice quote from that opinion: "In contrast to the image [Mr. Shapiro] depicted in the commercials, [Mr. Shapiro] has never tried a case to its conclusion and has conducted approximately 10 depositions."

Though the opinion states that Mr. Shapiro was to be suspended for a year, the New York Bar Association's website reports him as suspended through June 2007.

Second, the Supreme Court of Florida suspended Mr. Shapiro's Florida license in 2005 due to his New York suspension. That opinion is only available on LEXIS, but is so short that I repost it in its entirety here:

"After reviewing the report of the referee and considering the briefs, the referee's recommendation is approved. Respondent is suspended from the practice of law for one (1) year, effective, nunc pro tunc, May 6, 2005. Respondent shall comply with all terms and conditions set forth in the report. Further, the Respondent shall not be subject to reinstatement until he is reinstated by the State of New York.

Judgment is entered for The Florida Bar, 651 East Jefferson Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-2300, for recovery of costs from James J. Shapiro in the amount of $ 1,282.25, for which sum let execution issue."

A search for James or Jim Shapiro on the Florida Bar's website comes up with no attorneys practicing under that name. However, considering that New York hasn't reinstated his license yet, it's safe to say that he's not practicing in Florida.
posted by saslett at 10:25 AM on August 1, 2006

saslett writes "First, the New York bar suspended Mr. Shapiro back in 2004 for both his false and misleading TV commercials and a solicitation letter he sent to a comatose patient three days after a train hit her car."

A dishonest, misleading, ambulance-chasing lawyer? That's unpossible!
posted by clevershark at 10:52 AM on August 1, 2006

with all these wacky Crotchester commercials it kinda makes you wonder what a Nick Tahou's commercial would consist of.... actually, seeing the joint whilst sober would probably turn everyone away.

I miss Wegman's.
posted by premortem at 3:15 PM on August 1, 2006

posted by premortem at 3:18 PM on August 1, 2006

premortem - I miss Wegman's

I did too, until my office moved to Fairfax and I discovered a Wegman's right down the road..... =)
posted by blind.wombat at 4:25 PM on August 1, 2006

My favorite part was how he made his name sound like three complete sentences. I'm Jim. The hammer! Shapiro.

Man, I saw those commercials so many times in Ithaca. Thanks for the reminder!
posted by Sibrax at 7:39 PM on August 1, 2006

That's hilarious. I was first exposed to this guy's spots when we first started getting Fox Rochester here in Western Canada. I noticed it's been a while though.

Aside: I once worked with a guy who was the spitting image of the bald guy from Cellino and Barnes.
posted by evilcolonel at 6:31 PM on August 2, 2006

Ahhh, Cellino and Barnes! THOSE are the ones that I remember from Buffalo TV! :)
posted by antifuse at 4:35 AM on August 4, 2006

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