Monday, April 18, 2011

The Future Of The Legal Profession: How To Ethically Lie About Your Fake Office

So much discussion about the future of the legal profession is running around the internet these days that you may begin to think that the people talking about it actually know what they are talking about. Look a bit closer and you will see that the so called "future" is being described by those who are tired of practicing, addicted to tech, have no real substantive practice to speak of, and generally make up things to bolster their self-fulfilling prophecies. In essence, those that talk about the future of the legal profession these days are mainly spewing their vision of the profession. A vision that many "real" lawyers don't share.

One vision I do share with these "future of the legal profession" idiots, is that the future includes more acceptable lying. You know, pretending you have a certain amount of experience, or credentials, or yes, even a certain type of office.

Which brings me to the topic at hand.

Why do some lawyers put photos of their office building on their website? I don't have a picture of my office building on my website. Maybe I should. Maybe one day I will. But when I do, it will be a picture of the office building where I have an office, with a desk, and people working for me and with me. It will not be a picture of the building in which some timeshare company owns a floor and of the address I own for $100 a month.

Which leads me to the answer to my own question. There are lawyers who put a picture of the building in which their "office" is located in order to create an impression that they in fact, have an office there. When in fact, I, as well as many other lawyers know (not potential clients though) that in each city there are Class A office buildings that have a floor rented by a "Regus" type company that in turn, provides fee-for-service office solutions for lawyers and other businesses.

A lawyer can have merely the address to receive mail, or someone answering a dedicated phone line, or conference room time, office time, and yes, lawyers can actually rent offices and work there like in any other place. But for the most part, in this "future of the legal profession," lawyers buy the address and pretend (lie) that this is actually where they practice.

Cool, huh?

Welcome to the future.

.Located in Miami, Florida, Brian Tannebaum practices Bar Admission and Discipline and Criminal Defense. He is the author of I Got A Bar Complaint.Share/Save/Bookmark


The Wolf said...

Are you against lawyers using these types of offices, in general, or just them creating a fictitious image of themselves (and their practices) on the internet?

Brian Tannebaum said...

I think this type of office situation is great for lawyers who don't need to have a full time office. But when a lawyer pays merely to have the address for mail purposes, and have someone answer a phone, and then puts a picture of the building on their website as if to say "look at me, I work in a big shiny building," it's lying. Plain and simple.

Anonymous said...

A lawyer that puts a picture of a class A building on his or her webpage is trying to convey a message about the quality of the lawyer's service. This is true regardless of whether or not the lawyer works in the building. Of course, the bar has rules against this.

In my opinion, a more important point is what to do about this. I hope we do not get rules relating to the posting of office pictures. Such a rule would be silly. The bar is a mandatory organization and it should limit itself to rules which are absolutely necessary and enforceable.

Aaron said...

It's the difference between ethical and professional conduct. Putting a shiny building that your office isn't in is misleading, but probably not a violation of the ethics rules. We call ourselves professionals, and if that's to mean something, we have to be better than silly tricks like this.

Also, my word verification is close to "regurgitator". Brian, I like your verification software.

Stephen Stanfield said...

I think this website is a good example. The guy markets himself as a "Gainesville Defense Lawyer" even though I've never seen him a Gainesville courtroom, but the building shown on his website is the Federal Courthouse in Miami.

Brian Tannebaum said...

To my cowardly anonymous lawyer who left a comment about whether I was going to call a friend a liar, read carefully.

The post was about lawyers who put photos of the building on their websites. Find me a website of his where he has a photo (oh, you just figured out what the post said?) and yes, I'll call him a liar.

If you have anything else to say, do yourself a favor stop thinking your anonymous here and use your real name. Act like the member of the Florida Bar that you are. There's nothing to be afraid of.