Showing posts with label advertising. Show all posts
Showing posts with label advertising. Show all posts

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The morning mail

I have a client who received a handful of moving violations recently and was forced by the justice of the peace to plead guilty to one of them. Not wanting to have a conviction on her driving record, we filed an appeal to the county court.

We received notice from the district clerk's office of the setting for the appeal. Then the lawyer letters began pouring in. These are some snippets from the various letters she received:
"Public arrest records form the Harris County District Clerk's Office indicate that you have recently been charged with a criminal offense. This is a serious matter. You could go to jail and be fined thousands of dollars."
"Over the next couple of days, we suspect that you will receive many letters from attorneys trying to get your business. Selecting a GOOD attorney is the first step to freedom and clearing your good name. We urge you to put a lot of thought into who you hire, since your good name and your life are at stake."
"The Harris County District Attorney's Office employs assistant district attorneys to prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law. They do not have your best interests at heart."
"As a former Harris County Assistant District Attorney, I am familiar with the various courts, their staff, the judges and the thinking of the DA's Office. They trained me, and I can use the skill and knowledge which I gained as a Prosecutor to aggressively defend your rights."
"I know how prosecutors are trained to build a case against you and I will work hard to defend your rights and your freedom...My rates are fair and reasonable and can be as low as $200 for misdemeanors and $600 for felonies depending on your situation."
All of this over a traffic ticket set for an appeal. The letters are mind-boggling. The scare tactics employed are questionable. The claims from former prosecutors turned defense attorneys that their experience as a prosecutor somehow makes them more qualified to defend you are laughable. At least one attorney made a point of stating that he was not a former prosecutor. The prices quoted for representation are shameful. One did offer to reduce the fee by $100 if that attorney was hired prior to the second setting, however.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

And what do you think of the emperor's new clothes?

About once a week I get a phone call from someone with some firm that does search engine optimization -- whatever that is. Everyone of these folks tells me they can get my website to the top of Google or Yahoo! They all tell me they represent a handful of other attorneys in Houston that are already on top.

The fun comes when I ask them just how they plan on getting my website to the top of the search engine rankings. They can never answer the question. They give me some gobbledy-gook about optimizing this and leveraging that and that they will have me at the top within a week or two.

Then I ask them how their other clients (some of whom I always know) would feel about them promising to put someone else on top of the rankings. I mean, if you're telling me you can put my website on top, I'm sure you told the same thing to the attorneys you signed up. That doesn't sound too ethical to me.

As an attorney all you really have is your reputation -- harm that reputation and you harm your ability to stay in business. Do you really want firms that act in such an unethical manner representing you to all the world? Do you really want those firms to post content under your name?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Giving credit where credit is due

Yesterday's post on the New York attorney free speech case neglected one important detail. Mr. Bluestone's attorney was none other than the author of Simple Justice, Scott Greenfield.

Said Mr. Greenfield in an e-mail from earlier today:
What a great victory for attorney free speech. I wonder who the hard-working, yet handsome and urbane, attorney who represented Bluestone might be? We owe him a deep debt of gratitude.
We all hear it when we lose a case -- here's some credit for a great win, Scott.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

State bar advertising rules may not apply to blogs

In November 2003, New York malpractice attorney Andrew Bluestone began faxing out copies of his one-page Attorney Malpractice Report. The faxes contained contact information for Mr. Bluestone as well as an essay dealing with some facet of attorney malpractice litigation.

New York solo practitioner Marc Stern received 14 of these faxes between November 2003 and March 2005. He eventually filed suit, alleging that Mr. Bluestone's faxes violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 as well as the Junk Fax Prevention Act of 2005.

In his defense, Mr. Bluestone argued that the faxes were not legal advertisements because the newsletter was an informational message and the contact information was merely an "incidental advertisement."

The trial court disagreed and ruled that the faxes were legal advertisements for Mr. Bluestone's services and awarded Mr. Stern $1,500 for each of the faxes he received.

In June of this year the New York Court of Appeals reversed that ruling, holding that the faxes were informational messages per the FCC and not unsolicited advertisements.

According to Matthew Goldberg of the American Bar Association's Litigation Division, this decision is important to legal bloggers (or blawgers) because it could affect state bar association's attempts to regulate attorney speech on the internet. In fact the Florida Bar has said that websites "cannot be easily categorized as either information at the request of a prospective client...or as advertising in a medium that is totally unsolicited and broadly disseminated to the public."

So, is this blog advertising? Or is it informational? In fact, are all legal blogs advertising or are they a source of information? Should state bar associations be able to regulate the content that appears on a legal blog? More importantly, should state bars be able to regulate the content of any blog that is authored by an attorney - regardless of the blog's subject matter?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

I'm calling you out, Andy Nolen

In the old days, marketing in the legal profession was scoffed at. You built a reputation over years and you worked hard to protect it. It worked great for established firms and attorneys - but it made the cost of entry into the "club" prohibitive.

Now we are hit with a barrage of attorney ads on billboards, newpapers, television, radio and the internet. Every attorney knows that it's not enough in this era to have a good name, you must be able to market your services.

Some choose to market themselves based on what they can do for the prospective client. They hold themselves out to be an expert in a particular area of the law, they publicize their credentials, they publish papers and legal guides, they speak at various functions. They put together a web site and maybe a blog.

Others choose to smear their colleagues with lies and half-truths. Instead of telling the client what they can do, they spend their time badmouthing other attorneys. They use shills to publicize negative comments, they use "SEO" firms to disseminate lies.

Houston criminal attorney Andy Nolen is one such attorney.

Now I don't usually go and bad mouth my colleagues. They may be my competitition for the client facing a drunk driving charge, but they are also my brothers-in-arms when it comes to defending the Constitution. I have friends who will take the time to answer a question or e-mail a form or brief if I ask; and I am more than willing to do the same.

Andy Nolen, on the other hand, is but a warm bucket of spit. His idea of marketing? Having someone post fake "reviews" of other criminal defense attorneys on Yahoo! while simultaneously posting glowing "reviews" of Mr. Nolen's lawyering prowess.

Hey, Mr. Nolen, at some point in time we all need someone to stand with us. Just who do you think is going to stand by your side? Who's going to have your back? You burn enough bridges you end up stranded on an island all by yourself.

And what does it say about your sense of ethics? You don't seem to think it's a problem to have someone post fake "reviews" about other attorneys. Is there any line you won't cross? Is there any conduct that makes you cringe?

Hal Holbrook had a great line in Wall Street when he told Charlie Sheen that a man has nothing left but his character when he looks down into the abyss and sees nothing looking back. Mr. Nolen, the evidence of a man's character is not what he says, it's what he does when no one else is watching.

I just have one question remaining -- just how many times has this reviewer been arrested for theft, possession of marijuna and driving while intoxicated? Well, make that two -- how many times has he been a guest of the county at the Grey Bar Hilton?

ReviewsAdd RSS

Power, Tim - Power Law Firm

Humble, TX
All Law Firms

Review Date: 07/23/2009

when i called these guys acted like i wasn't good enough for them
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Don D Becker

Houston, TX

Review Date: 07/23/20091 comments

kept me waiting in court wondering if he was showing up, then rushed me out after taking my money...thabks a lot!!
Was this review helpful? 01 Report Abuse

Piercy and Landry, Attorneys at Law, LLP

Pearland, TX
All Law Firms, Criminal Lawyers

Review Date: 07/23/2009

chatged a lot of money and acted like they didn't care about my case
Was this review helpful? 01 Report Abuse

Todd A Leffler, Attorney at Law

Houston, TX
DUI Lawyers, Criminal Lawyers

Review Date: 07/23/2009

Never returned my phone calls, my sister called him and he was realy rude
Was this review helpful? 01 Report Abuse

Corrigan, Daniel J - Corrigan Law Firm

Houston, TX
All Law Firms

Review Date: 07/23/2009

Maybe this guy is better at traffic tickets.....not good on my weed case

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Houston Criminal Attorney John Floyd

Houston, TX

Review Date: 07/23/20091 comments

I didn't thinbk this guy was very bright and wanted like way too much money..get real
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Purvis, Jeff W - Crenshaw & Purvis Law Office

Angleton, TX

Review Date: 07/23/2009

had a dwi, paid a bunch, got the same deal everyone gets i later learned
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Mc Cormick, Jack - Jack Mc Cormick Law Offices

Conroe, TX
Family Lawyers, All Law Firms, Criminal Lawyers

Review Date: 07/23/2009

What can i do about my weed case? didn't get a straight answer
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Mekisha Murray, Attorney at Law

Houston, TX

Review Date: 07/23/2009

Didn't feel comfortable with this lawyer. Hired someone else.
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Breston, David A

Houston, TX

Review Date: 07/23/2009

Mr. Breston seemed like a nice guy but he costs too much.
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McNabb Associates, PC

Houston, TX
Criminal Lawyers

Review Date: 07/23/2009

NOT THE GUYS FOR HARRIS COUNTY COURT, WHO KNOWS ABOUT FEDERAL COURT
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Don D Becker

Houston, TX

Review Date: 07/23/2009

HIRED THIS GUY FOR A THEFT CASE, WENT TO JAIL WHEN I COULDA GOTTEN OFF
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Elton R Mathis Attorney at Law

Hempstead, TX
Adoption Lawyers, Family Lawyers, Estate & Probate Lawyers, Divorce Lawyers, Criminal Lawyers

Review Date: 07/23/2009

SMALL TIME LAWYERS WITH SMALL TIME SKILLS, GET SOMEONE ELSE
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Garcia, Israel Attorney - Garcia Jr, Israel B - Garcia Law Offices

Houston, TX
Accident Lawyers, Criminal Lawyers

Review Date: 07/23/2009

NEVER RETURNED MY PHONE CALLS AND JUST WANTED TO TALK ABOUT MONEY
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Stewart, Keith Attorney - Stewart & Stewart Attorneys at Law

Conroe, TX
Real Estate Lawyers, Estate & Probate Lawyers, Criminal Lawyers

Review Date: 07/23/2009

don't hire these guys, at least not for a houston case, they clearly didn't know anyone in the courthouse
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This is a nice man, but i didn't feel that criminal law was his primary interest.
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Simpson, Allan - Simpson Allan

Bellaire, TX
Family Lawyers, All Law Firms, Criminal Lawyers

Review Date: 07/23/2009

dont go here for a criminal charge-they dont know nothing about it
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J Cole Brooks, Attorney at Law

Houston, TX
Landlord:Tenant Law Attorneys, Family Lawyers, Estate & Probate Lawyers, Criminal Lawyers

Review Date: 07/23/2009

overpriced ripoff, money, money,money...what about my life
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Douglas, Larry B - Douglas Larry B

Houston, TX
All Law Firms

Review Date: 07/23/2009

Maybe it was me, but i got the impression this guy still wants to be a prosecutor.
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Gerson, Dan B - Gerson Dan B

Houston, TX
Criminal Lawyers, All Law Firms

Review Date: 07/23/2009

Thjis guy was ok, he jusn't didn't seem to have much to say about my case
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Stewart, Keith Attorney - Stewart & Stewart Attorneys at Law

Conroe, TX
Real Estate Lawyers, Estate & Probate Lawyers, Criminal Lawyers

Review Date: 07/23/2009

don't hire these guys, at least not for a houston case, they clearly didn't know anyone in the courthouse
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Durham, Douglas M - Durham Douglas M

Houston, TX
All Law Firms, Criminal Lawyers

Review Date: 07/23/2009

I could tell this guy was a former prosecutor, he still actrs like one.
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Johnson, Dane DWI /DUI - Johnson & Johnson Law Firm, PC

Houston, TX
Criminal Lawyers, DUI Lawyers

Review Date: 07/23/2009

cost a fortune, barely even saw me, rushed through my case
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Reyes, George - Gd Reyes & Association

Pasadena, TX
Real Estate Lawyers, Insurance Lawyers, All Law Firms, Criminal Lawyers, DUI Lawyers, Elder Law Attorneys, Bankruptcy Lawyers, Estate and Probate Lawyers

Review Date: 07/23/2009

hired him, went to jail, lost my job, he didn't help me at all
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Johnson, Leslie Lawyer - Johnson & Johnson Law Firm, PC

Houston, TX
DUI Lawyers, Criminal Lawyers

Review Date: 07/23/2009

Pompous, this guy acted like he was the president or sumthin and treated me like i was trash.
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The Law Office of Dennis W, Richards

Houston, TX
Accident Lawyers, Litigation, Criminal Lawyers, Real Estate Lawyers, Sexual Harassment Lawyers

Review Date: 07/23/2009

Not happy at all with his handlinmg of my criminal case.
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Power, Tim - Power Law Firm

Humble, TX
All Law Firms

Review Date: 07/23/2009

when i called these guys acted like i wasn't good enough for them
Was this review helpful? 01 Report Abuse

Don D Becker

Houston, TX

Review Date: 07/23/20091 comments

kept me waiting in court wondering if he was showing up, then rushed me out after taking my money...thabks a lot!!
Was this review helpful? 01 Report Abuse

Piercy and Landry, Attorneys at Law, LLP

Pearland, TX
All Law Firms, Criminal Lawyers

Review Date: 07/23/2009

chatged a lot of money and acted like they didn't care about my case
Was this review helpful? 01 Report Abuse

Todd A Leffler, Attorney at Law

Houston, TX
DUI Lawyers, Criminal Lawyers

Review Date: 07/23/2009

Never returned my phone calls, my sister called him and he was realy rude
Was this review helpful? 01 Report Abuse

ReviewsAdd RSS

Corrigan, Daniel J - Corrigan Law Firm

Houston, TX
All Law Firms

Review Date: 07/23/2009

Maybe this guy is better at traffic tickets.....not good on my weed case
Was this review helpful? 01 Report Abuse