Sunday, July 5, 2009

Super Lawyers: The Best Criminal Defense Lawyers, Are Prosecutors

I've gotten bored with Super Lawyers.

I'm actually bored with all these magazine collections of lawyers, purporting to be just incredible advocates and therefore worthy of the privilege of buying overpriced ads, overpriced plaques, and publishing overused announcements letting the public know that you, in fact, are just awesome.

Clients think it's cool, they enjoy looking at the worthless plaques, dated as late as 2007, in my office lobby that make them think they made the right decision. The plaques for 2008 and beyond are not forthcoming, much to the chagrin and suprise of the marketers who call and congratulate me on my newest opportunity to spend money to let everyone know how great these people think they think I am. My parents recently called to congratulate me on again another year of Super, probably disappointed that they were more interested in the accolade than I.

Frankly, I look at these lists, and some of the lawyers aren't all that Super. Maybe they think the same of me. I don't vote, don't send emails saying "I voted for you, so, ahem.......," or otherwise solicit votes.

I think these awards-masked-as-revenue-generating-ad-books pick good lawyers, and some duds. Nothing's perfect.

But in Gainesville, Florida, apparently two Super criminal defense lawyers, are prosecutors.

Yes, Alachua County Assistant State Attorney Jim Colaw is a Super criminal defense lawyer, devoting 100% of his practice to criminal defense. Only problem is that he's a prosecutor, and always has been I hear.

Not to be out done, Gainesville Federal Prosecutor Francis (Frank) Williams, is also a Super Duper criminal defense lawyer.

Most troubling, is that the way I verified these two were prosecutors, was by checking the Florida Bar website. Super Lawyers, did check this website, I trust? Colaw's email address is "sao8" as in "State Attorney's Office 8th Circuit, and Williams email is the well known "" that is assigned to all federal prosecutors. They, work at the United States Department of Justice.

A retired prosecutor friend of mine used to say that he acquitted more defendants in Miami than any criminal defense lawyer.

Maybe that's what Super Lawyers meant.

Located in Miami, Florida, Brian Tannebaum practices Bar Admission and Discipline and Criminal Defense. Read his free ebook The Truth About Hiring A Criminal Defense Lawyer. Please visit



Anonymous said...

You mean to say that advertisers don't tell the truth??????

Dave Lorenzo said...


Windypundit said...

How is a prosecutor pretending to be a defense lawyer not an ethical violation? If he did it in person---interviewing a suspect being held by police, say---it certainly would be, right?

Brian Tannebaum said...


These two prosecutors did nothing of the sort. They simply were listed as criminal defense lawyers due to Super Lawyers lack of, well, I don't know - reading?

Windypundit said...

Oh, so Superlawyers just lists people without even asking them? Way to fact check...

gorden said...

Why you think like this!!!

Criminal law firms

South Florida Lawyers said...

I completely agree -- it's mostly a moneymaking venture, with the plaques, special ads etc.


When Bad Lawyer Advertising Happens, It's The Children Who Suffer.

Yes, there is a ton of transparently bad advertising & "fact checking" out there when it comes to lawyer advertising & law firm marketing. In my experience, it has alot to do with the fact that law schools don't teach us anything about how to market a law firm, there are hardly any decent CLE programs on the subject and most lawyers run around with a inside-out perspective on marketing. So compared to the owners of just about any other kind of business too many lawyers haven't a clue about why & how clients REALLY go about choosing a lawyer. Especially a criminal defense lawyer!

So the saddest thing is that instead of being home with their kids too many lawyers are out there working extra-hours to earn the money to then pour down the advertising drain. And for the most part (like 80%) DOESN'T EVEN WORK.

Why? Because contrary to conventional wisdom, credentials are not at the top of the list of what clients are looking for when hiring a lawyer. (chorus: ESPECIALLY a criminal defense lawyer!)

But since so few lawyer ads give clients what they are REALLY interested in knowing they just settle for the best of bad and so that's what too many lawyers go around thinking is "good enough."

Beth Ann T said...

So how does one find a good criminal defense lawyer? Frankly I'm looking to hire in Colorado, and entirely confused if there is anyway of knowing who's "good" and who's "Overpriced and full of hot air."

Brian Tannebaum said...


ask for a referral. Find a few people in your community that you trust and ask them, or ask another lawyer you know. Referrals are the best way. The internet is a sewer, created by marketers.