Fort Worth attorney Benson Varghese doesn’t call his law firm’s latest video a music video. He refers to it as a “lyrical poem video.” Not exactly sure what’s the difference, but who is going to argue with an attorney?
The music video, err lyrical poem, features Benson rapping about his firm, Varghese Summersett, a premier criminal defense and family law practice in North Texas. The video – “There’s No Substitution” – is another example of how Benson is changing the face of law by thinking outside the box.
“We pride ourselves on being different than other law firms,” Benson says. “We’re no strangers to video production. We have tons of YouTube and TikTok videos in which we talk about the law or answer legal questions, but I wanted to find a creative way to showcase the firm and our exceptional attorneys and staff.
“So, we came up with some lyrics and put it to background music. The only problem was I am musically challenged and literally cannot hear a beat. I really had to get out of my comfort zone. That’s not dissimilar from what we have to do as lawyers: It’s more than knowing the law, it’s also about being willing to take risks and try something different to stay ahead.”
Check out the video – and then keep reading to learn more from Benson about how and why this one-of-a-kind law firm music video came to be.
You refer to your video as a lyrical poem. How’s that different than a “music video?”
Well, as my wife will tell you, I have absolutely no musical abilities or even the ability to hear a beat. A lyrical poem is just a poem, a statement, that’s made over music. It’s not necessarily lyrics to music; it’s just that there’s music in the background of the spoken word. So, I guess that’s kind of a music video, but you know, the benefit for me is there was no requirement to have a pitch or tone or get the beat exactly right.
So would you describe it as a rap?
I will not do a disservice to actual artists who rap by calling what I did a rap. But did I binge-watch a lot of rap music videos to get some inspiration? Absolutely.
Who came up with the idea?
Well, when we first started the firm, we were inspired by a company in town that did advertising, and they made a video for themselves that was a spoken poem – or whatever we are calling this, a lyrical video. I always loved it. Unfortunately, by the time I got to a point where I could afford to hire them, they had been acquired by a different company. So, that company no longer exists. It then fell on us to make our own brand video, or lyrical poem video.
The lyrics are great. Who wrote them?
It was a collaborative effort. My wife Anna, who is also a partner and lawyer here, wrote a lot of it. I wrote a lot of it. Then, we met as a firm and took votes on which versions of the poem people liked better.
Ultimately, and probably to Anna’s chagrin – and because I was the one actually speaking it – I got to make a lot of decisions about what went into the final version. Arguably, hers would have gone with the music better, but I had to go with what I was most comfortable with because I was the voice.
What’s your favorite line or lyric?
“We bide our time
the perfect moments sought,
setting up for that perfect shot.”
Everyone seems to like the “setting up a shot like Mike” line, I think because Jordan made things look so effortless even though it took years and years of work, which translates so well to what we do. You know, we had to be in trials and get all of that experience to go in and make it look easy.
What is the message that you’re hoping to convey in this video?
Well, the message that’s not necessarily obvious is that, as trial attorneys, we have to master whatever subject comes across our desk. I might get a case in which there is a very technical matter or very specific subject matter that I’ve never come across before. So, let’s imagine that we have a white-collar case with a very nuanced issue with the financial records and how the accounting was done. As a trial attorney, it’s not enough for me to just go hire an expert to testify; I also have to master that subject.
So, music and rap is something completely outside of my comfort zone. And so I said, ‘I’m going to do this,’ and while I may not have mastered it, I would say I could put it up against anything any other lawyer has done and feel good about it.
To your knowledge, has any other Texas lawyer done something like this?
The only attorneys that I can think of that have done something similar – and that I thought was really good – are a couple of attorneys in Texas who have a song, “Don’t Eat Your Weed.” The difference is those guys actually have a lot of musical talent. They’re very good storytellers, and they’re very good at conveying messages through their music. Our video is very different. I have no musical abilities, but I’m trying to get across what our firm is all about.
You have a reputation for thinking outside the box. Is this law firm music video another example of that?
Absolutely, we are always trying to push the envelope while still staying on brand. There was certainly a lot of discussion within the office during the development stage about whether this matched our brand. And ultimately, I think everyone was happy with what we produced.
It’s important for us not to pretend to be something we’re not. So, for example, if I had tried to be a rapper, that obviously wouldn’t have been true. But I think people can understand that we came up with this poetry, and it’s heartfelt, and it’s authentic. That is ultimately, what we were shooting for.
What kind of music do you normally listen to?
I have a very eclectic taste in music. I’ll listen to everything from 70s and 80s rock, to old-school rap, to what I consider Texas country or red dirt music. So it’s a wide gamut of music. I’m probably behind on most of pop music; I really rely on the office and my wife to keep me up to date on that kind of stuff.
Who produced the law firm music video?
We have been working for years with a company called Crisp. They make excellent legal videos. And even with Crisp, who does legal brand videos, we keep asking them to do things they’ve never done before.
So last year, we produced what I like to call our “heist video.” Every time we meet with that company, they comment on how no one’s ever done anything like that before. And the same is true of this law firm music video. This type of video is not what they do, but this is what we asked them to do – and they always come through for us.
Were you nervous about recording it?
I was worried about recording it because, even though it’s not lyrics to a musical beat, I did still have to hit some sort of a rhythm, which I am not naturally inclined to do. I was also worried about how many takes it would require. Fortunately, I think we got it done in three takes, and it didn’t take the entire day like I was concerned it might.
What’s the feedback so far?
So far, folks have really loved it within the office, and everyone that seen it has really loved it. We’re excited to see if it resonates with the general public over the next year.
You held a competition on the day the video was launched in which you asked, “What does N95 have in common with our latest video?” What was that all about?
After we shot this video, unbeknownst to us, Kendrick Lamar also shot in the same place in his in N95 video. So we wanted to create some interest by asking that question. It just turned out that he shot in the Fort Worth Water Gardens, and we did as well. We thought that was a fun way to tie it in.
Is there another law firm music video in Varghese Summersett’s future?
I don’t know; it took a lot of work to make this one. I suppose that will just depend on the response we get.