People hate lawyers. That’s the trope at least.
The fact of the matter is, though, that at some point in your legal career, someone will hate you. And their hate will run so deep that they have to tell others just how much you’re a terrible shark/shyster/scumbag/bottomfeeder.
Now, back in the days before the series of tubes, it took a while for these whisper-down-the-lane rumors to be spread about town. But now, in the age of the internet, no one knows you’re a dog. And even internet dogs can type mean things.
There recently appeared in this blog’s comments a scathing rebuke of our firm by a person whose real name, IP address, email address, and Facebook account, I will mercifully redact. Note: I have never represented this person, nor have I ever met them, as far as I know.
While looking up a local bar’s phone number, I noticed an identical negative review on the Google Places page for my firm. There was a different (::cough:: fictitious ::cough) name used, but the similarities are striking:
In all fairness, his dog wanted custody over his bitch’s puppies, and I don’t do family law.
Webber Calvan? Really? That’s not even a good fake name. “Maxx Hornball,” now, that would have been funny.
But thanks to the wonders of the internet and my powerful investigative skills, I’ve determined that attempted-blog-commenter a.k.a non-client reviewer “Webber Calvan” is the friend of an opposing party in a case where I’m counsel. Swell.
Note: This is the second time I’ve had non-parties to litigation personally attack me or my firm’s online reputation. I presume that it will continue to happen from time to time.
When I first read the comment on my blog — which was never actually posted to it because we moderate all comments — I simply laughed it off. Then I saw it was posted on my former Google Places page, and I thought a bit more about whether to respond. What better platform than Twitter to take a quick poll?
Popehat offered sage advice: “The negative review is self-evidently stupid. Hellfire likely to generate Streisand Effect. Prudence, not grace.”
So here’s my prudent response: That old saying “you can’t make an omelet without breaking some eggs” — the legal equivalent of that is “you can’t do a good job as a lawyer without pissing some people off.”
Young lawyers, you will find that you make enemies as you continue in your legal careers. One day it might be a judge. Another day, it might be the prosecutor. Some days, you might irritate some person who thinks it’s a bright idea to try to write negative reviews about you on the internet.
You know what? Lawyers make friends on the weekends.
So, Mr/Ms “Weber Calvan,” to use the words of a wise French statesman:
I don’t want to talk to you no more, you empty-headed animal food trough wiper! I fart in your general direction! Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!