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Professor Michael Schwartz: Lawyers Should Provide Sign Language Interpreters for Deaf Clients

Posted on Tuesday 1/26/2021
Michael Schwartz

(syracuse.com | Jan. 26, 2021) I’m a lawyer, and I’m Deaf. I write to compliment Attorney William Mattar for his television advertising of his firm’s legal services. Mattar’s ads are funny, endearing and most importantly, they are open captioned and therefore accessible for Deaf and hard of hearing viewers. The ads demonstrate Mattar’s inclusion of, and respect for, members of this community.

Under federal law, television commercials less than five minutes in length are not required to be captioned, so despite not being compelled by law to caption his commercials, Mattar is to be applauded for doing the right thing.

Not only are they accessible, Mattar’s commercials offer a model to legal providers who wish to advertise their services on television. His ads humanize him. He is shown in various contexts familiar to the viewers: a bowling alley where he gets only two points on a roll of the ball; a bar where he tells a joke that falls flat; watching TV with his mother; and writing a check in his office that brings smiles to his clients ...

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