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I have been telling the stories of my early days in the legal profession. On the whole they were fun. It all felt quite miraculous—I had gone from a lowly sergeant in the USAF—one who was often resented as I was the only women or in an early infiltration of women into a previously make career—electronics. Then, little more than 2 years after I drove from Biloxi to Los Angeles I was a lawyer! No one could say I had accomplished nothing or was not smart. I had proved I was—and now I could do amazing things.(No one realizes how many things you could do on your word alone back then.) Being an attorney was indeed an amazing source of power. But it was still fun then. There was no public and ugly sniping between counsel, and no one seemed to hate us… yet.

There was no attorney advertizing back then. For decades—nay centuries—it had been taboo. (Yes, I know that’s hard to believe, but it is true.) “The organized bar traditionally took the position that a lawyer was not permitted to actively publicize his services. In effect, it was presumed that every lawyer had an established clientele, or that a lawyer’s reputation for good work would inevitably lead others to seek out the lawyer’s services. Under this approach, direct publicity for lawyers was strictly controlled.[1] Morgan, Thomas D. (2005) Legal Ethics, p. 145. Thomson-BarBri. ISBN 0-314-15633-X.”

Even now, we are not permitted to “solicit”—I know I know—hard to believe but again… true.   “A solicitation shall not be made by or on behalf of a member or law firm to a prospective client with whom the member or law firm has no family or prior professional relationship, unless the solicitation is protected from abridgment by the Constitution of the United States or by the Constitution of the State of California. A solicitation to a former or present client in the discharge of a member’s or law firm’s professional duties is not prohibited.  (http://avvoblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/ca-attorney-advertising-rules.pdf)

Bates was decided in 1977 but the trend to change the culture did not catch on right away, and Larry Parker was not up and running in 1983. He was admitted to the Bar in 1973 but the “My attorney got me…’’ ads were not everywhere. The infamous “Larry parker got me 2.1 million” ad aired in 1986 so I guess the die was cast—but it was not until the OJ Simpson trial (in my unscientific opinion) that things got REALLY bad.

What the public does not know is that of Larry got the guy in the ad 2.1 million he’d have had to have been a paraplegic. The ad was so misleading (an attorney may not  “(3) Omit to state any fact necessary to make the statements made, in the light of circumstances under which they are made, not misleading to the public…”  that the California legislature passed what I call the “anti Larry Parker” law. Prest-0 change-o–the ad changed to “Larry Parker got me… You know the story.” Thus Larry avoided actually saying anything misleading–while equally clearly doing JUST what he did with the original ad. Making it sound like anyone could get rich quick. People still believe this. It has never been true.

As an attorney it disgusted me. It still does.

So why am I bitching about this today? Because I busted my butt to help the son of a friend and got… well no respect. No appreciation. Almost no money—and then asked to AGAIN jump in and help the lousy businessman/son… only to be told I had “not done anything.”

No one would EVER think that to be asked for help and then be unable to deliver it (because necessary documents were never provided) would upset the attorney. We all know attorneys are—let’s list:

  • sharks
  • bottom feeding
  • worthy of being buried under the sea
  • rich
  • heartless
  • NOT worthy of braking for…

WANTING to be useful, helpful or able to give an accurate answer? Ha.

Well GUESS WHAT? THAT (being unable to give a good answer) made me crazier than the UTTER lack of appreciation. It STILL bothers me that I cant be sure this kid had any cause of action because he could not be bothered to fax me the contract. He thinks he can find an attorney to do this “on contingency.” This will so not happen. But hey–the ads make it sound easy, right?

No, there is no respect. Thank you Larry Parker. And thank you Robert Shapiro, Legalzoom and the entire misleading advertising industry.

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  1. September 29, 2013 at 10:02 pm

    There is definately a great deal to find out about this topic.
    I really like all of the points you have made.

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