Updates to our Terms of Use

We are updating our Terms of Use. Please carefully review the updated Terms before proceeding to our website.

Tuesday, May 28, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Who Are the Wrong Lawyers?

January 9, 2017

Here’s an ethics question for you: If it’s unethical to promise in ads that you’ll get good results for clients, is it ethical to claim everyone else will get lousy results?

Milt Policzer

By Milt Policzer

Courthouse News columnist; racehorse owner and breeder; one of those guys who always got picked last.

[audio mp3="http://courthousenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/mp1517.mp3"][/audio]

Here’s an ethics question for you: If it’s unethical to promise in ads that you’ll get good results for clients, is it ethical to claim everyone else will get lousy results?

I asked myself this last week because I’m always challenging myself and have nothing better to do.

This was after spotting a press release from the Mesothelioma Victims Center, under this headline: “Family Members of Factory Workers Need to Contact the Mesothelioma Victims Center to Avoid Unknowingly Slowing Down the Compensation Process by Hiring the Wrong Lawyers.”

Who are these wrong lawyers?

As far as I can tell, it’s anyone not working for the Mesothelioma Victims Center.

According to the press release, the center wants people to call it “to discuss the fact that by not making the hiring of one of the nation’s most skilled and capable mesothelioma attorneys a priority, the mistake could literally cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars or more.”

And who are the nation’s most skilled and capable mesothelioma attorneys?

Apparently, it’s a secret. There’s no clue in the press release or on the center’s website.

And what is the Mesothelioma Victims Center?

An advocacy group?

A nonprofit charity?

Well, according to the center’s website, it’s an advocate that makes certain “our clients” get the best possible compensation and legal representation.

Sounds strangely like a law firm.

My favorite part of the Center’s website is the press release page that contains a series of releases, each one separated by the logo of a different news outlet. I guess we’re supposed to think those publications used the press releases, or maybe read them and threw them away.

I don’t know, but my favorite is “Auto Blog.” That’s where I get most of my legal advice.

The FAQ page is no help either. Apparently, no one frequently asks what the heck the heck the Mesothelioma Victims Center is – and all the answers are taken from the National Cancer Institute.

Well, it does show they’ve done some research.

This is mystery marketing at its finest.

Strange simile. Another question for you: What do guns and watches have in common?

Really, what do they have in common? This is not a riddle. I want to know.

I ask because this strangely specific sentence appeared last week in a ruling from the Seventh Circuit, United States of America v. Gates: “The Glock was thus as ‘dangerous’ in the defendant’s ‘use’ of it as if the pawn had instead been a Patek Philippe watch.”

I’m picturing the judge who wrote this struggling mightily to come up with something to compare the gun to, scratching his head, and then checking his wrist for the time ...

Ah ha!

Social media advice. Here’s a tip for your criminal clients: Don’t post pictures of all your activities on Facebook.

It’s fine to be proud of whatever you’re doing and to let family and friends see you at your best, but sometimes modesty is a better course.

The gang Facebook page should be restricted to vacation photos and cat videos (cute ones with kitties wearing your colors).

I know this because of an Eighth Circuit ruling last week in U.S. v. Payne-Owens, in which the court said that pictures on Facebook of the defendant posing with guns can be allowed into evidence at his trial for possessing those guns.

Someone needs to recheck their privacy settings.

Categories / Op-Ed

Subscribe to our columns

Want new op-eds sent directly to your inbox? Subscribe below!