Inside the Courtroom

Local defense attorney Kirk Truslow has stepped into the world of blogging, at Inside the Courtroom. We can use more local bloggers with ideas and real experience, instead of the usual marketing advertisements that typically end up in the blog graveyard after offering nothing of interest to the legal community, and this one is off to a good start.
Kirk kicks things off with a post near and dear to the hearts of criminal defense bloggers, how saying you are an expert on the internet does not make it so. It is a cold, hard fact that many people charged with crime choose an attorney based on how much money an attorney spends on advertising, and with more and more attorneys spilling out of the law schools in an increasingly competitive environment, there are attorneys who are not 100% honest in their portrayals of themselves to potential clients.
The things that lawyers tell potential clients when they are trying to sell themselves never ceases to amaze me; for example, the scare tactics Kirk mentions in his post:

I have witnessed these Internet Made Lawyers in court, entering pleas of guilty as often and freely as if there were no such thing as a trial. I have seen the clients of these Internet Made Lawyers show great emotion after being saved from incarceration (when incarceration was not realistic even if the case had been tried).

Sometimes I think that lawyers don’t realize that the potential client on the other end of the line may end up talking to other attorneys before the day is over. When clients tell me they spoke with other attorneys before calling me, I usually ask them what the other attorney told them. I won’t comment on it unless it is dead wrong, or give them an opinion on the other attorney unless it is someone I truly respect and recommend, but it is good to know what lawyers are telling potential clients.
For example, in a case where the likely outcome would be PTI, a client told me that another attorney told them they were looking at a real possibility of jail time. On a first offense and a relatively minor charge. According to the client, the attorney told them there was the possibility that they could be charged with multiple other offenses as well, and they could get jail time on each of those offenses that they had not even been charged with. The attorney then explained that they would make sure the client did not go to jail.
I can only assume the idea is to scare the shit out of the potential client and his or her family, let them know the attorney is there to protect them, and then when they plead the case out to probation the family will be pleased because the lawyer saved the client from prison.
I’ve been told that other attorneys tell the client that they have connections, they know the judges and the prosecutors, and they can work out the client’s case on the golf course. Most attorneys know our judges, or should, but to suggest that I have undue influence over a judge’s rulings would be a lie and is expressly prohibited by the ethics rules that govern lawyers.
There are all kinds of sales tactics that can be used to make money in the criminal defense field. But, we are not selling used cars or vacuum cleaners – we are dealing with people’s lives and freedom, in a time of crisis. Why don’t we just tell people the truth.

2 Responses to “Inside the Courtroom

  • T. Kirk Truslow
    8 years ago

    I think it is a duty to advise a client of your opinion of another attorney if you are in a consultation if you have an honest, well grounded opinion, be it good or bad.
    Thanks for the vote of confidence on the blog and remember I appreciate negative feedback as much as positive anytime.

  • Maybe, but I am cautious because I do not want any person to say I “trashed” another attorney in order to bring in a client.

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