Their message may not carry the same weight as the self-evident truths immortalized by the Founding Fathers.
Their lyrics and harmonies might not rival the timeless artistry of Simon and Garfunkel.
But Waco attorneys Will Hutson and Chris Harris are becoming known for their simple, melodic message: “Don’t Eat Your Weed.”
The duo put a video of their song on YouTube in September, and it had been viewed 47,000 times within a few months. But about three weeks ago, Hutson said he checked the count again and it had grown to 64,000 views.
As of Friday, their song, “Don’t Eat Your Weed,” had been viewed 130,474 times on YouTube.
Encouraged and curious about the song’s growing popularity, Hutson said he researched their production on Google and found that quite a few radio stations across the country were playing the song, fueling the increase in views.
Hutson and Harris, who have been law partners for five years, now are fielding requests for interviews from morning radio shows. They have been interviewed on stations in El Paso and Salt Lake City and will be on Jonathon Brandmeier’s radio show in Chicago later this month.
“I don’t know if I would call it a sensation,” Hutson said. “It is more like just barely a feeling.”
Whatever they call it, the lawyers are being recognized around Waco now by strangers who have seen the video. A waitress who watched the video joked that Hutson was going to have to sing for his supper recently.
“This has just been exciting because we have a hobby that we can sort of use in business and it has been fun,” Harris said. “We started out just trying to generate hits on our website to make it more relevant. The best part of it is when you are out and someone who doesn’t know you recognizes you and says, ‘Hey, you are the ‘Don’t Eat Your Weed’ guys.”
Harris, 46, who has a general civil law practice, wrote the words with an assist from Hutson, 50, who practices criminal law.
The message, aimed at their criminal clients and potential clients, is don’t turn a simple Class B misdemeanor possession of marijuana case into a third-degree felony tampering with evidence case by eating the weed or throwing it out the window in front of a police officer.
“I have seen a significant number of cases that are charged as felony tampering with physical evidence that arise out of somebody trying to eat or ingest a misdemeanor amount of marijuana,” said 54th State District Judge Matt Johnson, who watched the video on YouTube. “Mr. Hutson and Mr. Harris have certainly developed a unique way to communicate with their clients or potential clients.”
While Hutson and Harris are having fun combining their love of music with their law practice, they say they aren’t worried about not being taken seriously by potential law clients.
“We just want people to hire us,” Hutson said, “either as lawyers or for their bar mitzvah.”
Harris initially had concerns.
“There are some lawyers’ commercials out there that are just so ridiculous, you wonder if somebody would take you seriously,” Harris said. “But what we were shooting for as to impart — these are not really like commercials, they are more like public service announcements — we were hoping to look like a couple of guys who are lawyers who happen to play guitar. That is what we were shooting for.
“Here is the thing. We in no way in the video advocate the use of marijuana or anything else. Someone said something on Facebook that made me feel good. He said these are the most effective anti-drug messages I have ever seen because you are not judging, you are not saying do it or don’t do it. You are saying if you chose to do it, you should be educated,” Harris said.
Of course, the video has created quite a bit of good-natured razzing among local bar association members.
“These guys are hilarious,” attorney Josh Tetens said. “They are fantastic attorneys. I just wish they could sing.”
Hutson, who also serves as municipal judge in Crawford, grew up in Mineral Wells and graduated from Tarleton State University. Harris grew up in Waco and graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University. Both are graduates of Baylor Law School.
Despite the success and growing popularity of the alumni duo, Baylor Law School Dean Brad Toben said he is not considering adding music classes to the law school curriculum. Likewise, there are no plans to hire Willie Nelson as a guest lecturer, Toben said.
“Their Texas bar licenses aren’t any good in Tennessee, so while the message is funny and spot-on, I don’t think they should plan on moving their practice to Nashville. Head to Luckenbach,” Toben said.
Both played guitar growing up. Hutson said he comes from a long line of “Arkansas hillbillies who played a lot of bluegrass.” Harris was in a band in college, and his daughter, Jaimee, is a singer and songwriter in Austin.
Formed by accident
But they formed their singing combo quite by accident, they said.
“Before Will and I were law partners, we were driving to a deposition or something and I started singing to the radio and he threw this harmony on top of it,” Harris said. “I said, ‘That is pretty good,’ and he said, ‘I know.’ So it’s like me and one Oak Ridge Boy.”
The pair have two other videos on YouTube. One is called “What the Hail is Going On?” and the other is “Shut Up.”
The “Hail” song informs people how to deal with insurance claims, and “Shut Up” is about Miranda warnings after arrest, with an admonition not to volunteer incriminating statements to police.
The attorneys are working on two other new songs and they have been invited to sing on the patio at La Fiesta restaurant.
“This has been a lot of fun,” Hutson said. “I have heard nothing but positive comments about our videos, even from prosecutors. One said he was talking to a friend in California who saw the video. Most of the people who watch it I don’t think view us as advocates. We are just trying to help and give sound legal advice.”