Job Tips: Marketing Tools Of The Trade

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Most of the bar is probably too young to remember that lawyers didn’t always advertise. It wasn’t until Bates v. State Bar of Arizona in 1977 that the US Supreme Court upheld the right of lawyers to advertise, rejecting the prior ban on advertising as a rule of etiquette, not ethics. Today, attorney advertising is pervasive. Some large firms don’t really advertise, so much as they directly market. In fact, many of you in firms probably don’t give much thought to advertising. For others, it occupies a large part of their business and budget. Beyond just making sure it can satisfy the Lawyer Advertising Advisory Committee, the advertising has to be effective.  So, how do you do it? What are the tools an effective advertising attorney has to have in the toolbox? Do you have to have a website? A blog? A billboard? A memorable phone-number? A listing in the Yellow Pages (do they still exist)? A jingle? Does it really depend on the area of law you practice? How come we don’t see more advertising for business litigation? Is there a stigma to advertising? Fro those of you who do advertise, any tips to those who want to start?

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Anonymous
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Anonymous
June 5, 2019 3:40 pm
Anonymous
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Anonymous
June 5, 2019 4:37 pm
Reply to  Anonymous

I told my spouse from the moment he was identified, there was not a chance he would serve any time for this.

Anonymous
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Anonymous
June 6, 2019 2:24 am
Reply to  Anonymous

Hmm.. The local news said the discipline was because blood was not obtained for about 3.5 hours when the goal is to get the blood drawn within 2 hours. Was it the officer's fault, or was there some delay getting the JP "on duty" out of bed to ok the warrant?

Anonymous
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Anonymous
June 6, 2019 10:35 am
Reply to  Anonymous

Given the accident allegedly occurred around 4:48pm on a Thursday, I would hope we didn't need to roll a JP out of bed to approve the warrant.

Anonymous
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Anonymous
June 5, 2019 3:54 pm

I'd be interested in hearing thoughts on business litigation advertising. I'm a solo and I've done a number of smallish commercial litigation cases, and would like to get more similar cases. Obviously word of mouth recommendations are gold. But advertising for business litigation seems especially unseemly.

I guess the assumption is that businesses are sophisticated enough to proactively seek out and pick their attorneys based on their specific needs (which I think is a very debatable premise, at least for very small businesses). So public advertising would not be effective, and may even turn potential clients off.

Also, it seems to me that advertising for business litigation basically is advertising that you don't have enough work, which for attorneys can be read as a signal that you suck. Am I wrong?

Anonymous
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Anonymous
June 5, 2019 4:20 pm

I'm at a large, regional and mostly business-oriented law firm and I also am an originator of mostly business clients so I sort of know something about this. Having talked to some of my clients about this, they 1) at the very least, don't care about the billboard lawyers; 2) more likely don't respect them; 3) would never choose a lawyer based upon advertising anyway. Business clients tend to ask other businesses and their friends who they use.

I am all in favor of allowing lawyers to advertise how they want to. I just don't see it being productive for the types of clients that my firm wants.

Anonymous
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Anonymous
June 5, 2019 4:35 pm
Reply to  Anonymous

Most of the business-oriented firms in Las Vegas advertise. For example, most of them take out ads announcing lateral hires and awards.

Anonymous
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Anonymous
June 5, 2019 5:31 pm
Reply to  Anonymous

Yes, but they advertise in business-related publications like Nevada Business Magazine or other trade publications. I think the question implies less targeted advertising like TV, radio, and billboard. I agree with 9:20, I think business litigation clients either wouldn't give any weight to these kinds of advertisements, or would be less likely to retain them. I think an ad in NBM announcing lateral hires is a decent "top of mind awareness" reminder to the business community as long as it's not intended to serve as the firm's primary business development strategy, and an ad in a trade publications is a good idea since that's showing that the firm knows its niche and client base.

Anonymous
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Anonymous
June 6, 2019 12:01 am
Reply to  Anonymous

Targeted blogging with social media exposure (usually only LinkedIn) works VERY well for "sophisticated" prospects I.E. Business Litigation, Insurance coverage, Intellectual Property, Appellate etc.

There are two types of legal blogs:

1. Look at me, I am great. AVVO likes me and I have (purchased?) all these "Awards".

2. Here is what is going on in your business/industry as it relates to legal issues

Mike Mills' blogs are great examples of the latter. Ask him how many years his blogs have been bringing him GOOD new clients in his practice areas. His blogs are the last three in the links section in the right column of this blog. They are also available at http://www.NevadaLawBlogs.com.

Helpful, educational blogs are much more cost effective than advertising (at a fraction of the cost) because they target your best prospects and bring them to you. Also blogs work in most practice areas.

Anonymous
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Anonymous
June 6, 2019 8:07 am
Reply to  Anonymous

Re: Mike Mills, I agree his blogs are great. As for the "GOOD" new clients, that's assuming that any insurance company is a good client.

Either way, I do agree with the blog comment.

Anonymous
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Anonymous
June 5, 2019 4:29 pm

The State Bar of Nevada are a bunch of cowards. If they really cared about the RPCs and Ethics, they would have stopped slogans as "In a wreck, get a check", however the bar knows that they do not have the budget to go after the billboard lawyers. Lawyers licensed in other states find the Nevada bar a joke when it comes to lawyer advertising. Some Nevada firms straddle the line with questions such as "Do you need me?" and other amorphous phrases.

Anonymous
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Anonymous
June 5, 2019 4:43 pm
Reply to  Anonymous

What is unethical about Lerners slogan? We do have the first amendment and some state bars have lost the argument they have the right to regulate speech if it is not misleading or untruthful. It has not been tested here, but I believe our state bar would lose too.

Anonymous
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Anonymous
June 5, 2019 5:49 pm
Reply to  Anonymous

Agree with 9:43. There's nothing unethical about Lerner's slogans. The fact is that most people who are in a car wreck that they didn't cause need and deserve compensation. He just found a catchy (or dorky, depending on your view) way to describe it.

anonymous
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anonymous
June 5, 2019 5:58 pm
Reply to  Anonymous

There is nothing wrong with 99% of the billboards and other ads out there, other than being a little too cheesy in some cases, and many, but not all, of the "billboard lawyers" have capable lawyers doing the heavy lifting behind the scenes. If you think the ads are bad here, you should try visiting Florida sometime.

Anonymous
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Anonymous
June 5, 2019 6:15 pm
Reply to  Anonymous

9:43–agreed that the slogan(In a wreck, get a check") by itself, is really rather meaningless, as well as being completely vague, and would not apparently constitute an ethical violation.

The way such firm, and other firms, currently advertise, there probably are no clear ethical violations that can be pursued. Over the last decade or two, most firms have kept their slogans and catch phrases sufficiently vague that ethical implications generally do not arise.

After all, although in the minds of some this slogan may be interpreted as they can receive a check within a very short period after an accident, that is not overtly represented, although it can be debated that such is what is being implied.

So, 9:43 is correct that if the Bar pursues anything in this area, they will probably lose. And if they attempt to do so, it betrays a lack of historical knowledge as to what type of representations raise ethical implications, and what type do not.

"In a wreck, need a check" would almost certainly not be found to be an ethical violation. But about 20 years ago, representations by advertising lawyers often went well beyond that, and offered specifics, along with a clear implication that your case could be handled just as expeditiously and within the same price range.

There would be examples offered like: "Standard fender bender, Sahara/Eastern, three trips to the chiropractor, and only $500.in body work to vehicle. Hired Attorney X and within nine days received a check for $64,000." or "Motorcycle accident, Decatur/Tropicana.$1,200. damage to the Harley, and a $800. medical clinic visit by client. Insurance paid for the repair to the Harley, and client's medical carrier paid for the clinic visit. Other attorneys then told client there was nothing else to be gained and to drop the matter. But client hired Attorney X and within 16 days received a check for$232,761!"

Aside form these testimonials either being totally fabricated, or at least ludicrously distorted as to vital info. being omitted, they tended to suggest that if a prospective client had endured something vaguely similar in any respects, that they could also expect timely compensation within the amounts proclaimed by the ad. Or, if they had a dissimilar but far worse situation than those recounted in the testimonials, they could expect a great deal more.

So, the concern centered around instilling unrealistic expectations and implying that cases which may have some similarities, would have similar results.

Those are the type of ads which raise ethical concerns. But ads with tornadoes spinning tons of money in the air, or attorneys in gorilla suits handing clients bags of cash…well if those undignified,(yet sometimes catchy and attention-grabbing), approaches work for certain people, and that's how they choose to select an attorney, so be it.

Those ads have consistently found to not raise ethical implications.

Anonymous
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Anonymous
June 5, 2019 6:42 pm
Reply to  Anonymous

In response to 11:15, I hear what you are saying, and agree that "in a wreck, need a check?" makes no specific representations as to time case will take or amount which will be received.

However, if,as you indicate,it becomes problematic if unrealistic expectations are instilled in the listener, can't this occur without specific representations as to time it will take, or amount of money to be received?

People these ads are geared to are quite desperate, and many are not particularly sophisticated, etc. To me, "In a wreck, need a check?"
would be interpreted by some of these people to mean that the check can arrive within a very short period and solve all their immediate financial issues, including this month's rent and car payment.

Your concern that the offensive ads are the ones that raise unrealistic expectations. You seem to believe that can only happen when specific time lines, and specific settlement amounts, are suggested.

But I think this slogan, although vague, is absolutely geared to having desperate people, who need and want money quickly, to believe that if they retain the attorney a fat check will arrive in the matter of a few short weeks. That's the psychology behind it. Again, in addition to being desperate, the hard truth is that many of the people who respond favorably to such ads are not terribly sophisticated, and are not terribly bright. That, in conjunction with their financial desperation, is why they are targeted.

So, I understand that these vague slogans have not been found to violate ethical canons, and I'm not taking a positon on that one way or the other. But you suggest that the acid test,as to whether something raises unrealistic expectations, and therefore also raises ethical implications, is largely controlled by whether specific time lines and specific amounts are offered in the ad.

But even vague statements and slogans can instill unrealistic expectations in really desperate people with little or no knowledge of how the system works.And that, I believe, is the intent behind such ads.

Anonymous
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Anonymous
June 6, 2019 2:31 am
Reply to  Anonymous

You all are lost wandering around in the free speech argument. Regardless of the ethical and constitutional arguments, the billboard/TV advertising demeans the profession.

Anonymous
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Anonymous
June 6, 2019 4:13 pm
Reply to  Anonymous

Enough said . . .call

Well you all know the rest!

I agree with 7:31

Anonymous
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Anonymous
June 12, 2019 5:22 pm
Reply to  Anonymous

What about "don't take it in the rear twice"? How do we feel about that? Legit sign I've seen on I-15 south near blue diamond for a PI attorney.

Anonymous
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Anonymous
June 5, 2019 4:41 pm

Eglet’s love relationship with Prince is over. I am sad now. True love isn’t real.

Anonymous
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Anonymous
June 5, 2019 4:45 pm
Reply to  Anonymous

oh?

anonymous
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anonymous
June 5, 2019 4:48 pm
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“Eglet Adams.” Saw that yesterday. Anyone know the story?

Anonymous
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Anonymous
June 5, 2019 5:04 pm
Reply to  Anonymous

This was predictable. Eglet has had a lot of partners over the years. The only ones who have stuck with him are Tracy and Adams. A few of the breakups have been ugly. Read some of the court filings from when Eglet broke up with Richard Harris!

Anonymous
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Anonymous
June 6, 2019 5:54 pm
Reply to  Anonymous

Prince was going to leave about three years ago but Adams talked him into staying. Dennis Prince can be a real jerk, but he is an excellent trial attorney. Adams is a water boy for Eglet. Neither he nor Tracy could actually try a case.

Anonymous
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Anonymous
June 5, 2019 5:12 pm

I am planning on going solo and was wondering what banks people would recommend and insurance companies. I will likely start mostly in civil litigation but plan on transitioning to other areas.

Anonymous
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Anonymous
June 5, 2019 5:22 pm
Reply to  Anonymous

Bank of Nevada

Anonymous
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Anonymous
June 5, 2019 5:27 pm
Reply to  Anonymous

I went out on my own in 2016 after 7 years at different firms. It was difficult in the beginning. Now it's great. I should have done it a long time ago.

My bank: https://www.westernalliancebancorporation.com/bank-of-nevada-home/contact-us

My broker: https://www.charlestoninsurancegroup.com/

Ask friends and colleagues for advice along. Best of luck to you.

Anonymous
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Anonymous
June 5, 2019 5:56 pm
Reply to  Anonymous

Bank of Nevada was recommended to me, but at best they have been adequate. They are only open 9-5, never any weekends. No online deposits. They hold funds when they shouldn't and don't necessarily make it easy to do business. I would switch to my credit union if they had an IOLTA account.

Anonymous
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Anonymous
June 5, 2019 7:21 pm
Reply to  Anonymous

Citi advertised that it allowed the easy creation of separate trust accounts for each client and so I tried them because I thought that would be important at the time. The branch and corporate and the website (now reportedly improved) were awful. (The bonus was after I closed the accounts, Citi's error overdrafted the IOLTA and so I got a mini-review from the State Bar over $0.21. New solos need that stress!)
(I'm now at WF and have no complaints but I don't really need heroism.)

For insurance I have been surprised and impressed by LPins.net.

Bonus answer that you didn't ask for: I love love love lawpay (now as integrated with clio which I don't love now that I have an associate). The concept of having credit card processing fees hit a separate account simplifies trust accounting so much.

Anonymous
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Anonymous
June 5, 2019 7:26 pm
Reply to  Anonymous

Clark County Credit union.

Anonymous
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Anonymous
June 5, 2019 7:33 pm
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12:21 here. I spent way too much time on infrastructure, if I can streamline any of that for you as you make decisions about being solo, reach out at quandmememe@gmail.com

anonymous
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anonymous
June 5, 2019 8:28 pm
Reply to  Anonymous

Anyone else have an opinion of WF re IOLTA accounts and business accounts in general? They get lots of bad press but have been OK with me so far.

Anonymous
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Anonymous
June 5, 2019 9:05 pm
Reply to  Anonymous

I like them. Have personal accounts there.

Anonymous
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Anonymous
June 5, 2019 10:26 pm
Reply to  Anonymous

Bank of Nevada is good. Nevada State Bank is not.

Anonymous
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Anonymous
June 5, 2019 10:42 pm
Reply to  Anonymous

Bank of Nevada equals the State Bar of Nevada.

Anonymous
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Anonymous
June 5, 2019 11:45 pm
Reply to  Anonymous

3:42 My experience with Bank of Nevada equates to 10:56 am. I don't think that on their best day B of N will ever be as good as the State Bar of Nevada. They spend a lot on advertising and sponsoring Legal events. I don't they spend anything on internal systems, customer care or employees.

Saddest part is that the people in the branches are great. BUT they have no support. And if I ever need anything by phone or online, I feel like Ben Stein: "Bueller? Bueller?"

And if you ever want to escalate a problem to Robert Sarver..he's too busy running his basketball team to even listen or get involved in my banking challenges

Anonymous
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Anonymous
June 5, 2019 11:48 pm
Reply to  Anonymous

Bank of Nevada is a step above Bank of America.

Anonymous
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Anonymous
June 6, 2019 12:07 am
Reply to  Anonymous

Clark County Credit Union is great if you are a Mormon male.

Anonymous
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Anonymous
June 6, 2019 2:53 am
Reply to  Anonymous

My trust account is WFB, specifically, Sunset & Stephanie in Henderson. I walked in and mentioned a lawyer's trust account, and they said, IOLTA? They are the #1 WFB business bank for WFB in S. Nevada. Never had a problem.

Anonymous
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Anonymous
June 6, 2019 3:15 am
Reply to  Anonymous

Doubts about BofA. Its online systems are good but it has been cutting branch services for years and now its pathetic. For example, in the branch where I bank there are three staffed mini offices for sales, one greeter and usually only one teller (the drive thru and merchant window were done away with years ago). The message is clear: If you aren't buying something from us today (BofA has gotten big time into selling broker services), then go stand in a line for 20 minutes.
Also, clients with a Trust have reported difficulties in adding authorized signors to accounts and with retail services.

Anonymous
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Anonymous
June 6, 2019 3:49 pm
Reply to  Anonymous

I have used both BofA and Wells and both are good. Their small business bankers are professional and helpful. Avoid Nevada State Bank like the plague though.

Anonymous
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Anonymous
June 6, 2019 8:17 pm
Reply to  Anonymous

Wells and B of A signed up business accounts for services without authority. I would rather eat at Firefly and risk food poisoning than banking with them.

Anonymous
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Anonymous
June 5, 2019 5:54 pm

I've noticed that most of the billboards are tombstone type ads with just firm name, phone number and picture–yet almost none of them have a website listed. Anyone know why that is? Do they think people will just remember the name or number and look it up?

Anonymous
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Anonymous
June 5, 2019 6:04 pm
Reply to  Anonymous

Good question / observation.

Anonymous
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Anonymous
June 5, 2019 7:52 pm
Reply to  Anonymous

Probably. Nobody puts in the actual website. They just google the firm/attorney name. Come to think of it, I almost never type in website names. It's either in my shortcuts or I use google to get to the link.

Anonymous
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Anonymous
June 5, 2019 6:51 pm

I've always been pleased with the service provided by City National Bank. They don't have the largest number of locations and have the same limited M-F hours of a typical large bank but have always gone above and beyond when it comes to service efforts.

Anonymous
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Anonymous
June 5, 2019 11:50 pm

I am accepting my first contested Family Law matter. I have been told opposing counsel tends to behave dreadfully and that the judge assigned to the case will not reign her in.

The advice I received is not to treat the matter as if it is in a "real court." Attorneys made it seem like the rules be damned, and that I should only accept highly contested family law cases against difficult opposing counsel if I can think quicker on my feet than the opposing counsel, can shout louder, and be more effective than them into turning matters into a Jerry Springer type event.

They explained that much of this advise was premised upon the very difficult, emotional and combative attorney I will be opposing, but that this advise was also largely offered based on the court that this will be in.

I tend to be a guy that is reasonably effective(at least I perceive I am) with complying with the basic and necessary rules as to filings and deadlines, and expect opposing counsel to do the same.

But these lawyers tell me that if I try to make too much of an issue of the opposing side's flagrant disregard for the rules, that the opposing counsel will get on her soap box, act indignant, and holler that we are here to protect children, and not to allow these children to be sacrificed upon the pyre of someone's hyper-technical rule book, and that there are NSC decisions supporting her view, etc.

This sounds like it will be a complete and utter nightmare. And, more disturbing yet is that all three attorneys all pretty much made the same observations.

And I don't want to publicly drag personalities into this, so I'm not comfortable revealing the name of opposing counsel, although I did identify her gender in order to use the proper pronoun when discussing her.

I also don't want to identify the judge, although the attorneys told me that this is a judge who will not only permit this approach by opposing counsel, but may even reward her for it.

The attorneys told me that, of the judges currently presiding over divorce/custody matters, that I would have been fine if the case had been assigned to Duckworth, or Ritchie, or any of the trio of bald judges whose last names each begin with "H"(don't remember all three names).

But I drew none of those five, so it appears I need to be prepared for a brutal, Kafkaesque circus.

They made it sound so bad that the only constructive advice they could offer was to be totally prepared, state my positions calmly yet firmly, and not to take the bait or blow my cool, or raise my voice, no matter what the provocation is from opposing counsel.

But beyond that they said real tough break–bad court, weak judge, and utterly obnoxious and contentious opposing counsel.

Can anyone give me any advice or room for hope, without asking me to reveal the identity of the judge or opposing counsel? Can it really be THAT bad?

Anonymous
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Anonymous
June 6, 2019 3:14 pm
Reply to  Anonymous

Peremptory = $450

Anonymous
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Anonymous
June 6, 2019 3:53 pm
Reply to  Anonymous

There is another factor to consider going in. GET PAID UP FRONT! If you aren't getting paid, then six months in, the reset of the bullshit you are worried about is 100x worse. I promise.

PS: Sounds Like Patty Vaccarino and Judge Lisa Brown
Am I close?

Anonymous
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Anonymous
June 6, 2019 5:54 pm
Reply to  Anonymous

If that is the combo. 4:50 is dealing with, I bet 4:50 never accepts another Family Law case.

Anonymous
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Anonymous
June 7, 2019 3:18 pm
Reply to  Anonymous

Make sure your client understands your style. In my experience, family law clients think crazy behavior = good lawyer.

Anonymous
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Anonymous
June 5, 2019 11:54 pm

Most family law cases are not like that. Not nearly so bad. But the three attorneys who advised you probably did so not so much on account of their view of the court in general, but apparently based on you needing to be ready for the onslaught of a really obnoxious, ruthless attorney.

And yes, if the judge is not strong enough to control matters, the attorney will tend to get way with a lot more than if it were a civil or criminal matter at the RJC.