Scammy Lawyer Award Company Sends C&D To Website For Pointing Out Its Scammy Behavior

from the when-u-find-the-truth-defamatory dept

Appealing to someone's ego is profitable. Lawyers of Distinction names many, many lawyers to its "distinction" list every year. Some people believe this actually means something. But it doesn't, as Kelsey Butchcoe explained late last year in a post for marketing blog Mockingbird. A lawyer getting a letter from Lawyers of Distinction announcing their selection to the vaunted "top 10%" is, in reality, getting nothing more than unsolicited marketing materials.

Following up with Lawyers of Distinction provides curious attorneys the opportunity to spend $425-775 annually to obtain plaques, "crystals," and backlinks to their law firm websites from LoD. Following up further, as Butchcoe did, also uncovers the fact Lawyers of Distinction's prestigious awards emanate from a UPS Store in Las Vegas, Nevada.

This post did not make Lawyers of Distinction happy. The "in-house counsel" of Lawyers of Distinction, "Jesse Brodsky ESQ," fired off an emailed cease-and-desist to Conrad Saam of Mockingbird, demanding Saam do some impossible things -- like take the threat seriously and remove the post "from the internet." The email is embedded below, but we'll quote it in full here because:

A. It's really short
B. It's really dumb
C. It closes with a threat ensuring the body of the email will never be taken seriously.

It has been brought to our attention that you published an article titled "When the Top 10% Means Nothing." In this article, you include which is defamatory toward Lawyers of Distinction, Inc.

Your article is actionable and we will be initiating lawsuits against the author individually, as well as Mockingbird Marketing if this post is not immediately removed from the internet. Your post is rife with false and misleading information regarding Lawyers of Distinction, Inc.

For instance, you refer to our offices as being in a strip shopping center, when in fact we have a corporate office in a traditional office building. This is merely a small example of your intent to knowingly publish false and defamatory information, which is meant to harm Lawyers of Distinction's reputation and economic well being, at the same time trying to create a pecuniary gain for your marketing company.

If this article is not removed from the internet on or before the close of business on October 10th, 2017, we shall file a lawsuit seeking appropriate actual, compensatory and punitive damages. You have been warned and placed on notice. Every day of delay in removing this article will increase the damages we shall be seeking. Please govern yourself accordingly.

Conrad Saam has broken down the best parts of the C&D at Mockingbird, not the least of which is the demand the post be "removed from the internet," as though that were a thing people could actually do. I'm sure Brodsky ESQ meant "delete it from the Mockingbird website" but that just doesn't sound as (vaguely) threatening (and completely unenforceable) as "delete it from the internet." Combine that with "govern yourself accordingly," and you have some poorly-written fluff blustering about noisily in hopes of being mistaken for saber-rattling.

Saam has not removed the offending post from Mockingbird nor the internet beyond. Equally unsurprising, Brodsky and his strip mall law office have not filed any lawsuits over the supposedly defamatory post. Saam did reach out for some legal advice before posting the C&D, asking Florida lawyer Brian Tannebaum if he should be concerned about this lawsuit threat.

Here's what Tannenbaum suggested Saam be worried about in the context of this angry email from Lawyers of Distinction's in-mall counsel:

If I were you, the thing I’d be worried about right now is what you are going to eat for breakfast. After that I’d start concerning myself with lunch and then plans for the weekend. I’d put worrying about what you wrote right below whether you are soon to run out of toothpaste.

Being threatened by a lawyer who speaks for an entity that sells plaques to narcissists is low on the list of things to be worried about. There's nothing remotely actionable in the post targeted by the C&D. Nor is there anything actionable is Saam's follow-up posts, which provide more details about LoD's inner workings, as well as successful attempts to get a chicken and a dog recognized as "Lawyers of Distinction." (This is not the first dog to receive top lawyerly accolades from Lawyers of Distinction.)

Anyone receiving unsolicited emails from LoD should immediately flag them as spam, because that's all they really are. Or, if so inclined, an attorney could imagine it to be something flattering, and plaster his website with as many meaningless accolades as possible, as this Cincinnati lawyer has. Searching for "lawyers of distinction" reveals a great many lawyers have chosen to republish LoD's meaningless announcements, press releases, and supposed "top 10%" designations. This doesn't prove Lawyers of Distinction is legitimate. All it proves is appealing to egos is guaranteed to separate fools from their money.

Lawyers of Distinction certainly seems like an easy way for lawyers to waste their money. It will apparently allow almost anyone (or anything) to claim membership in the "top 10%" of lawyers stratosphere -- and it will autobill recipients $425-775 annually should anyone desire some overpriced memorabilia commemorating the time they got suckered on the internet. The "top 10%" designation means nothing, except to those willing to part with a chunk of their money and reputation. The problem is unsuspecting people looking for representation might believe this "award" -- bought and paid for by an attorney -- actually signifies better-than-average lawyering. Those are the people taken in by "services" like these. Those paying for plaques are only victims of their own hubris.


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  • icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 12 Jan 2018 @ 12:18pm

    Top 10% of what?

    Is that billable hours, hourly rate, number of cases handled per year, number of cases lost, number of cases won, number of bar complaints? Inquiring minds want to know!

    Also, LoD might related to Lawyers of Distinction, but it might also relate to Lords of Death. Somehow I am certain that there are other things LoD might relate to.

    In addition, since Lawyers of Distinction is incorporated, shouldn't that be LoDi? :-)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That Anonymous Coward (profile), 12 Jan 2018 @ 12:43pm

      Re: Top 10% of what?

      I miss LoD they used to crack the best games...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Jan 2018 @ 1:56am

      Re: Top 10% of what?

      Top 10% of Lawyers in the hell filled with meaningless dog shit they have to stand in upside down?

      Obviously because everything's upside down, they're technically on the bottom, but HEY! they have a $10 crystal plaque.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Christenson, 12 Jan 2018 @ 12:42pm

    Once upon a time...Who's Who in X...

    In my grandfather's basement, I found a "who's who", a directory of eminent businessmen.

    Then, I went to college and got an offer for "who's who in american college students". Decided I'd never seen it, trashed it!

    There's a long history here!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Jan 2018 @ 12:43pm

    Wait a minute here. If this company is bilking lawyers out of their idiot tax, I say good for them, and do it more.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Jan 2018 @ 5:14pm

      Re:

      The lawyers buying into it aren't losing anything though. They're paying for a service and getting it. The ones losing are the potential clients that are influenced by it, who think they're getting "top 10%" quality services and probably paying "top 10%" fees in conjunction. The scam's effects flow downhill, like most marketing schemes.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Jan 2018 @ 1:19pm

    Distinction

    "This doesn't prove Lawyers of Distinction is legitimate."

    I dunno - I haven't bothered to do the percentage math to check the 10% claim, but most gullible is a distinction.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Jan 2018 @ 1:36pm

    This is really Popehat, right?

    It's such perfectly prototypical trolling that I can only guess it's one of their masterpieces and express my dumbstruck awe at their unrivaled mastery of the game.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Jan 2018 @ 2:17pm

    Pretty much all "awards" are bogus and bought and paid for. The Stevies? Bogus. Want to be on a top company for females? Bought (funny thing in the past, Novartis was on the list while facing a class action from females.) About the only business award that I know of that is real is the E&Y Entrepreneur of the Year awards.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      An Onymous Coward (profile), 12 Jan 2018 @ 2:58pm

      Re:

      In defense of your purchased EotY award? Or are you on the "selection committee" (accounts receivable)?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 12 Jan 2018 @ 3:04pm

      Re:

      females

      How do you do, fellow automaton.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Jan 2018 @ 1:59am

      Re:

      The Oscars are fake.

      Jurassic Park was popular, so they gave the award for special FX to a french film about a knight drinking out of a toilet.

      Fellowship of the Ring was refused awards because Sir Ian McKellan is gay and openly supports gay rights movements.

      People buy Emmies, Golden Globes etc all the time.

      Hell the MTV Music awards used to have pre-awards ceremony BIDDING via meetings with major record labels.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Conrad Saam, 12 Jan 2018 @ 4:02pm

    Thanks

    Thanks for the coverage. I may have spent a little too much time authoring that post, b/c it was so much fun. Interestingly, after a week's respite, LoD is back up and running - posting their latest scam victim on FB and Twitter. Brazen.

    -Conrad

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Mischelle Davis, 12 Jan 2018 @ 4:32pm

    Unleashed. On the internet nobody knows you’re a dog.

    My little dog gets her 15 minutes of fame as the recipient of a Lawyer’s of Distinction award. We made the little acceptance speech video as a joke for the office staff to enjoy but now it’s a thing’. Too funny.

    Remember The New Yorker cartoon from the 90s? On the internet nobody knows you’re a dog.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      carlb, 13 Jan 2018 @ 8:12am

      Re: Unleashed. On the internet nobody knows you're a dog.

      Wikipedia has an entire article listing non-human animals who have obtained university degrees from various diploma mills. Quite amusing.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Jan 2018 @ 9:09pm

    Who is Jesse Brodsky ESQ?

    Jesse Brodsky is listed at the "In-house Counsel" starting in 2015, despite being listed as attending school until 2016, and not passing the bar until at least mid-2017 (or later). His Linkedin profile lists him as still being a student.

    The Florida address listed is actually a 'virtual office'. A company mailing address and office listing there costs $69 per month. Not quite up to the level of a strip mall..

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    orbitalinsertion (profile), 13 Jan 2018 @ 6:38am

    emanate

    This sounds hilariously Platonic here.

    The "top 10%" designation means nothing,

    Some people will know to turn and walk away from an office displaying these plaques or crystals.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Yes, I know I'm commenting anonymously, 13 Jan 2018 @ 12:46pm

    $425-775... Math!

    I would not mind paying 425 minus 775 dollars annually.
    I'd even accept the plaques and other knick-knacks (It's 0.80 EURO per 40 liters of general waste disposal here.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Tanner Andrews (profile), 15 Jan 2018 @ 10:37am

    Persistence

    I do not think I have received their spam since 2016, but that is most likely due to them falling into some spam trap. I cannot truthfully say that I miss them, since I still see other geniuses like:

    I have had solicitations from all of these since the most recent from lawyersofdistinction.com so I am confident that there are plenty of alternatives for those who are desperate for dodgy advertising or other peculative opportunities.

    At that time, by the way, their address did look like a strip shopping center with a UPS store. Nothing against UPS store operations, I have used them myself when I needed to get packages out quickly. But it makes a poor substitute for a real office, imagine trying to meet clients at such a place!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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