Recently, I was told I was the "laughing stock among us Gen Y Lawyers," supposedly by a Gen Y lawyer, although I don't know, as the comment was anonymous.
I don't know what a "Gen Y Lawyer" is. I also don't know what a "Gen X" lawyer is. While people grew up in both generations, and there are people that define the stereotypes of each - whether lazy, entitled, dependant on their parents for living expenses, unwilling to conform to anything remotely evidencing a standard law practice, or merely angry at the prior generation - there are those in each generation that don't fit the mold.
Rachel Rodgers, whom I've written about before, whom others have written about before, is still parading around the internet claiming to be the lawyer for Gen Y entrepreneurs. She's started Rachel Rodgers TV, and has provided legal advice - yes, Rachel, legal advice, on how to fill out legal documents to stay out of legal trouble.
Let me say that again:
Telling people how to fill out legal documents in a way that presumes to prevent legal issues, is legal advice.
I don't care what generation you come from, how successful you think your online law practice is, or how much you couldn't care less about ethics rules - giving advice on legal documents to avoid legal issues, is giving legal advice.
You Gen Y'ers may hate me, may think I'm "mean" and not understanding that you are the future of law, and I better get on board, but I need you to know that giving legal advice is giving legal advice even if you keep stepping all over yourself to claim it's not legal advice.
So Rachel has done her second edition of Rachel Rodgers TV. On this episode, although she doesn't begin with a shout out to her "party people," she shows a disclaimer. Then she gives legal advice (but it's not legal advice because she says it isn't.)
Now after the following video was posted, I was made aware a couple commented on the site that it was, in fact, legal advice. Those comments have not appeared - surprise surprise. I did see this appear, although I'm not sure it appeared after these more experienced lawyers that actually know what they are talking about, posted their still un-released comments:
[Dear viewer: I think its pretty obvious that this is general information, designed to be educational and not legal advice, and then Rachel keeps stepping all over herself to back track and stammer with: The business owner asked a much more specific question, and I have generalized it here. I am sure you know that I cannot speak to your specific situation and in no way guarantee that the information provided in this video will apply to your situation or would work for your business. Furthermore, this video does not create an attorney-client relationship (I am sure you know that, too),
The above doesn't change that the following, even with the video disclaimer, is legal advice:
So for those that worship Rachel, think that she is "all that" (for you Gen Y party people), understand that when a lawyer like Rachel gives legal advice, it's legal advice. I know, I know, I'm mean, I'm a bully, I "just don't understand." Rinse and repeat.
But you're wrong. Your parents may have never told you that you're wrong, but you are.
Any client that takes her advice on this video and then has a problem, is damn sure going to say they did it because this lawyer on the internet told them to.
Is it worth it?
Well, from what I understand about the stereotypical Gen Y lawyer, getting on the internet is what's important. Rachel has said that ethics should not be used as a weapon against Gen Y.
So I'll put my weapon away, again.
Anonymous comments are welcome as long as they say something relevant and half-way intelligent and arent a vehicle for a coward to attack someone. I trust you understand.
Located in Miami, Florida, Brian Tannebaum practices Bar Admission and Discipline and Criminal Defense. He is the author of I Got A Bar Complaint.