A YouTube video of an angry man slicing household goods and a car in half in response to separating from his wife – which has been viewed more than six million times and been covered by media outlets across the world as he sought to sell his share on eBay – has been revealed as a stunt by lawyers.
The video ‘Für Laura’ by ‘Martin G’ (watch below) received coverage from Samoa to Pakistan, and China to Peru. Many UK outlets reported it, including The Mirror, Independent, ITV and Metro.
But yesterday the Deutsche Anwaltauskunft – an online legal magazine operated by the German Bar Association – said that it was behind the video.
It said the idea “was to humorously point to a problem that is not only relevant in Germany: too few married couples take precautions for the case of a possible separation – for example with a marriage contract. The event of divorce then often ends in bitter fights under which not only cars and furniture suffer but especially the effected couples and their children”.
Swen Walentowski, press spokesman for the German Bar Association, added: “We are very pleased and would have never expected that our message could reach millions of people worldwide in such a short period of time. No one here expected the numerous interview requests about the fake story and fake divorced husband Martin G from all parts of the world.”
All of the items do exist and will be auctioned, with highest bidders told the true story behind them. Mr Walentowski said: “We don’t want to make money but spread our important message for couples. So any cent coming in will be donated to charity.”
Lawyers will give you any number of reasons why their win-loss rates in court are not accurate reflections of their legal skills. Yet a growing number of companies are evaluating lawyers by this standard – compiling and analysing lawyers’ litigation track records to help consumers and businesses make more-informed hiring decisions. The shortcomings of evaluating lawyers by win rates are many. Not least of them is that so few cases ever make it to a win or loss. Of equal concern is that, in the nuances of law practice, it is not always obvious what constitutes a win or a loss.