Kevin Schreiber (kevin@cleanyourname.com) is an idiot.

December 20, 2012
Screen shot 2012-12-20 at 16.43.33 PM

Thanks, Siri. Now, find me some scummy SEO marketer in New York…

After yesterday’s post, you’d think that sleezy SEO marketers would understand that we don’t want what they’re selling.

Nope. Read the rest of this entry »


The 4 Hour Reputation, and How I Built My Zoning Law Practice

December 19, 2012

[Editor's Note: I wrote a piece about my zoning practice a little awhile back and then decided not to publish it. However, a few days ago I read this article by Rachel Rodgers in Forbes magazine. Her advice to other lawyers? Ditch the physical office and use social media to manufacture a reputation online, just like Tim Ferriss suggests in the book 4 Hour Work Week. The 4 Hour Expert method involves self creating publicity, and then using that publicity to perpetuate your self proclaimed "expertise." The idea behind the 4 Hour Expert isn't to acquire any actual expertise - just trick people into thinking you have them.

So who is Rachel Rodgers, and why is she in Forbes magazine?

To her credit, Rachel has implemented the 4 Hour Work Week model successfully. She started her own virtual law practice (called a "VLO" by cool fancy people), and declared it to be a success, thereby becoming a self-proclaimed authority on starting a VLO. How did she "become so successful?" According to this video (scroll to 19:45), Rachel initially used HARO (Help A Reporter Out) to get mentioned by a few "entrepreneur magazines", including Forbes and MSNBC, which she then used as "proof" that she is an authority. It was a great story for the press - young lawyer starts a fresh new law firm on the internet and becomes successful. However, it all sort of fell apart when put under some scrutiny.

Nevertheless, Rachel became a "4 hour expert" in starting virtual law offices by generating publicity for herself, and then using that publicity to manufacture expertise in starting VLOs. Now she sells the same "4 Hour" model to other people, which you can do with just about any area of law. But is the 4 Hour method really worth anything to a law practice in the long run...?]

Read the rest of this entry »


Your Legal Marketing is Invalid.

December 19, 2012

Today we received an email from “Jane”, a marketer who claimed she was “doing some research on bloggers in the legal field” and said she “found [our] site while [she] was researching websites that may be looking for guest bloggers.”

Already I know that she is either 1) lying; or 2) really, really bad at research. I think we’ve made our position regarding third party marketing pretty clear before, and we’ve surely never expressed an interest in guest bloggers.

Either way, I’m already not inclined to hire her for anything.  Read the rest of this entry »


A Night Like This

December 18, 2012

STRAIGHT CASH“Looks cold and rainy outside”, I think to myself. “I’d sure hate to be out there today…”

[DING] Google Reminder: Hearing before Judge Robinson today at 11:30…

No, don’t worry, I won’t be schlepping to the courthouse in bad weather. That’s for fogies. Evidentiary hearings are done on Skype nowadays. Which is good, because I’m so warm in my robe. How anyone practices law in a “brick and mortar” setting is beyond me… morons.

“Good morning, Judge Robinson. I emailed you all the defendant’s exhibits before hand. Just a sec… cat! Get down from the counter! Sorry about that, Your Honor. My cat is always up on the counter, such a bad kitty. In any event, the court and opposing counsel have been emailed my exhibits. Anyway, my witness should be logging into Skype shortly. If I may make a proffer, Ms. Jones is going to testify to…”

That went well. I think I’ll go to the gym and do some food shopping. Then maybe take a nap. Work life balance is important, you know.

[DING] “Dear Jordan: we need to schedule depositions. Please give me some dates you are available. Your office or mine?”
Reply: “I don’t have an office, and I will be on a beach in France all of next month, so we’ll need to do them over Skype.”
Opposing counsel: “Sounds great.”
Reply: “You don’t need to mail me a confirmatory letter. I’m a virtual lawyer, so I don’t get mail. Emails are all I accept.”

Oh cool, an email from a new client. How did I get this client? No, I didn’t meet them out at the bar. No, I didn’t meet them through a civic association, or through an organization I’m in, nor were they referred to me.

“Networking” and having a good reputation is for old people.

I did it the new way – by manufacturing a reputation on the internet. I wrote a blog post and Tweeted about taxes. Based on my blog and Tweets, this guy decided to trust me with some of the most important legal decisions in his life. How cool is that, eh? Here I am sitting on my couch, raking in new clients AND being a lawyer.

Read the rest of this entry »


A Day Like This

December 18, 2012

“Ah, discovery court…”, I thought to myself, “where the dreams of baby lawyers go to die.” Discovery court is a funny animal. It is a giant courtroom packed with about a hundred other lawyers, most wearing suits from JC Penny or with holes in them. The actual hearing usually lasts about 10 seconds, and the judge usually accuses both sides of acting like children. It always smells faintly of cigarette smoke and cheap cologne, with a just hint of booze in there.

If you have any delusions that law is prestigious, spend a day in discovery court and you’ll quickly learn otherwise.

Today it was about 35 degrees out and rainy, and I had left my umbrella at the office. Fine Philadelphia weather, just warm enough that it’s not snowing, but cold enough to make the rain feel downright miserable. And, of course, the only way to get to the courthouse is to walk a few blocks in the weather.

I reached the courtroom cold and wet. I must have been in this courtroom a thousand times; it felt routine at this point. But discovery court is always the same. Show up at 8:45am, sign in, and then wait for your case to be called, hopefully quickly. Sometimes you are there for 20 minutes, sometimes you are there well into the afternoon watching petty discovery disputes. The issues are always the same, too… “I asked for documents and they didn’t give them to me” or “She noticed a deposition but didn’t ask me for convenient dates.” I could probably argue a discovery motion in my sleep – my wife tells me that often I do.

Finally, Judge Marshall was looked up from his crossword puzzles and told the bailiff to call my case. I couldn’t blame the judge for being uninterested – I wanted documents but the other side didn’t give them to me. Judge Marshall probably hears this problem fifty times a day. Hopefully I’d be home in time to grab soup from my favorite soup place. They were usually out of soup by 2pm. And today was a soup day.

Although the issues in my motion were simple, we had exchanged a lot of correspondence. The motion, with exhibits, totaled over two-thousand pages. I decided to print out the motion itself and the relevant exhibits. If the judge wanted to see more, the rest was stored on my iPad. I don’t see why he would need them, though. This also keeps my costs down, as it gets expensive to constantly be printing out documents.

Thankfully, technology had moved forward. There is no need to waste money on unnecessary printing costs in the digital age.

But as I’d soon learn, maybe the courts haven’t caught up yet…

Read the rest of this entry »


Jury Duty.

December 13, 2012

I reported Monday morning to the Criminal Justice Center at 8am for Jury Duty. I think I was the only person remotely excited to be there.

I sat all day today in the Criminal Justice Center waiting to get called to a panel, watching scores of people groan as their names were called, trudging their way into voir dire. I waited for my name to be called.

And I waited straight through noon, when they let us out for lunch. And I waited when we got back from lunch at 1.00pm.

Finally, around 3.30pm, I heard my name and got my juror number — 65. We took the elevator up to the 11th floor and waited in the jury box. After sitting another 30 minutes, the crier came out and announced that we weren’t needed, and we should go back downstairs where they’d dismiss us.

Damn.

At least I got my $9.00 check to show for it. That, and a lack of sleep, since I spent another 8 hours making up for the work I missed.

Maybe I’ll have better luck next time.


I like porn….

December 13, 2012

I like porn.

Two people found our blog today using that search term. Should I be happy or ashamed?.


No, I Will Not Trade Yelp Reviews with You.

December 7, 2012

In case you didn’t hear, the economy’s bad out there. And I guess when the economy is bad, people will try to make a buck anyway they can. Including trading Yelp reviews, apparently.

Enter the email I received yesterday though our firm’s online contact form. It appears to be from an internet marketing group based in Brooklyn that even has a Facebook and Google+ page. I have never heard of them, and I have no idea how they found me.

Here’s the email — I have mercifully redacted identifying information. Read the rest of this entry »


FOP President John McNesby Can’t Stop Saying Stupid Things.

December 7, 2012

FOP President John McNesby Can’t Stop Saying Stupid Things.

Yesterday, I posted about the officers whose testimony was so incredible that the DA didn’t want to call them as witnesses anymore. Veteran attorney Brad Bridge of the Defender Association remarked that the officers were “among the most troubled in the department.”

The officers,

  • Perry Betts;
  • Brian Reynolds;
  • Michael Spicer;
  • Thomas Liciardello;
  • Brian Speiser; and
  • Lt. Robert Otto

were named in several Internal Affairs investigations and civil rights lawsuits alleging the use of excessive force, false arrests, and filing false reports.

Unsurprisingly, the shit has now hit the fan. Yesterday, the District Attorney withdrew charges against two men who’d been charged with drug dealing — all because of the lying liars of the Narcotics Unit.

From today’s Inquirer:

Two men accused of drug dealing had charges against them dropped Thursday after their attorney told a judge that five Philadelphia antinarcotics officers involved in their case had “partnered with drug dealers” in crime.

According to the article, defense attorney Larry Krasner argued to Judge Charles Hayden that:

“There was a group of police officers who essentially partnered with certain drug dealers, and they partnered with those drug dealers to do things that were both illegal and outright crimes.”

The Assistant District Attorney Bret Furbur remarked:

 “[T]he [District Attorney's] office, my higher-ups, have informed me the case is going to be withdrawn.”

Naturally, it logically follows that the DA realized there was a substantial credibility issue with the narcotics unit officers. Further, it makes sense that when you’re trying get convictions (as ADAs are wont to do), it helps to call witnesses who are believable. Since these officers proved wholly unreliable, why would the DA want to call them as witnesses any longer?

But instead of noting that maybe, just maybe, FOP5 should raise the bar and suggest that their officers take that oath to tell the truth seriously, McNesby points the finger at District Attorney Seth Williams:

“[District Attorney Seth Williams] has no idea how to run the office. He doesn’t know the ramifications of what he’s done. He’s not just gotten these guys transferred, he’s tarnished their careers.”

He must have a variation on Tourette syndrome, where the afflicted impulsively says stupid things all the time. He just can’t help himself! Blaming the DA for FOP5 officer’s poor conduct that renders them incredible — now that’s really incredible.

After I shook my head in disbelief for a few minutes, I decided to put fingers to keyboard and pen this open letter.

Dear John:

I think you might find that the officers’ “tarnished careers” is the result that they’re 1) lying under oath; 2) the DA’s office realizes they’re lying under oath; 3) they’re constantly being sued under §1983 for civil rights violations; and 4) they’re all the subject of several IAB investigations.

Oh, John, reputations are important. When you have a reputation for being a dirty cop who does whatever he can to get a conviction, well, that kind of taint is difficult to remove. But these reputations don’t just appear out of thin air — they’re earned and well-deserved.

And when an officer’s reputation is such that even the DA doesn’t believe them anymore — well, that’s it’s not the DA’s fault. In fact, I’m pretty certain that DA Williams knows exactly what he’s doing by refusing to use them. He should be commended by refusing to rely on officers with combustible pants.

Maybe — just maybe — this will teach other officers out there a lesson. When you swear to tell the truth and the whole truth, you do it. When you swear an oath to preserve and uphold the law and our constitution, you do it.

Sure, I understand that you’re the president of FOP5, and since it’s an elected position you have a reputation to upkeep among the members. But your reputation with the citizenry, at this point, is nil. And you’re not helping the public perception of the PPD as working to protect their own first, the public second.

When you rush to defend even the worst of the police force, you tarnish the best of FOP5 as well.

So next time you point your finger at the DA for refusing to call dirty cops to the stand, think about where blame really lies.

Or just keep saying stupid things; you seem to excel at that.

In the meantime, Mr. Williams, keep doing the right thing.

[Ed. — Defense attorney Michael Coard, in his article "The 4 Most Annoying White People in Philadelphia" has the following to say about Mr. McNesby, which made me chuckle:

He wants all criminals jailed forever. So who’s gonna wear the blue uniforms, drive the white cars and beat the black people up when the good cops’ shifts end?]


Six narcotics police transferred because even the DA doesn’t believe their testimony.

December 6, 2012

Six narcotics police transferred because even the DA doesn’t believe their testimony.

File the following statement by FOP president John Mc Nesby under “irony” or “taste of own medicine”:

John McNesby, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5, said that the transfers were based on “unfounded accusations” by the District Attorney’s Office and that the allegations should have been investigated first.

“When you’ve got an aggressive group of officers, you’re going to have people who aren’t happy,” McNesby said. “These guys took a lot of guns off the streets, took a lot of drugs off the streets. They did a lot of good work for the city.

Right, John. Because the “good work” they do means that they should be able to run roughshod over the rights of the citizens of the city. Enforcing “the law” is paramount — everyone else be dammed. Truth, Justice, and the American Way? Those are for some big blue boy scout in tights.

Besides, it’s not like they ever threatened anyone’s life while in the line of duty, right?

When the officers caught up to him, Conolly said, he got out of the car with hands raised, but [the officers] threw him to the ground and choked, kicked, and punched him as he yelled for help. [Officer] Liciardello, he said, put a gun to the back of [Connolly's] head and told him, “We are the cops. If you don’t shut up, I will put a . . . bullet in your head.”

The article finishes with this gem:

McNesby has maintained the innocence of those officers.”It’s a sad day,” he said, “when you have the criminals in the city dictating where cops are going to be working.”

No, John. It’s a sad day when police feel and act like they’re above the law they’re sworn to uphold. And last I checked, it was the District Attorney’s Office that didn’t want to call these officers any longer because they’re lying liars:

According to multiple sources, the District Attorney’s Office recently informed Ramsey that prosecutors no longer wanted to call the officers to testify in drug cases. Those sources said the District Attorney’s Office had determined that the officers’ credibility was too badly damaged.

By the way, these are the officers who are no longer credible:
Transferred to the center city district:
  • Perry Betts
  • Brian Reynolds
  • Michael Spicer
  • Thomas Liciardello
  • Brian Speiser were transferred to Center City districts or the traffic unit.

Transferred to South Detectives:

  • Lt. Robert Otto

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