The Ethics of Parrotghazi: Be a Fucking Lawyer.

The next time I get the idea to toss my hat into the ring on a Twitter war like Parrotghazi, someone make sure to smack me firmly, yet somehow gently, in the crotch. Since the post went live yesterday, I’ve found myself quoted on People.com, retweeted God knows how many times, and somehow intimately involved in the sordid tale of how two lawyers have embroiled themselves in a war over custody of a tweet.

I’m glad people are enjoying reading about this, and excited they’re reading about it here, but Jesus Christ I now know more about parrots than I ever wanted to know. So let’s go in a different direction. Let’s look at the worst case scenario in Parrotghazi, and the legal stuff that has been brought into play in it.

I’m going to warn you before we start, I’ve already started drinking tonight.  But really, I want to be clear that everything that follows is completely speculative, and I’m only using Parrotghazi and Mr. Adler as an example of how a lawyer using social media can go horribly awry.  I’m not accusing Mr. Adler of a damn thing, it’s just the “what ifs” here allow for a fun exploration of ethics and social media for lawyers.  Mr. Adler has asserted he stands behind the originality of the tweet and the representation of this case, and he’s entitled to the benefit of the doubt on that.

If Mr. Adler wants to get his side out here, I’ll gladly post his version of events, unedited, to this blog.  Trust me, in this situation nothing would make me happier than to do a full retraction.  I don’t like talking about other lawyers.

Continue reading “The Ethics of Parrotghazi: Be a Fucking Lawyer.”

“Shut The Fuck Up”: Lawyers Behaving Badly

Holy fuck, so how about that Parrot thing?  That was wild.  Why do you think that got so popular?  Righteous indignation?  Maybe some joy in correcting the record?  It’s possible, but I got another theory.

People really like it when lawyers fuck up.

Continue reading ““Shut The Fuck Up”: Lawyers Behaving Badly”

Parrot-Ghazi: The Twitter Saga 

[Updates at the end, including some prior tweets from Mr. Adler, a response from Mr. Dent, an explanation of the long odds, and an interview on this tweet Mr. Adler gave to the BBC]

So yesterday a marginally funny tweet showed up on the page of a lawyer from Philadelphia.  Since us attorneys are so well known for our sense of humor, it of course went viral.  A hearty chortle was had by all, and people went on with their daily lives.

So, Michael Adler is a Philly lawyer who, from his website, seems to specialize in business law.  This means nothing, because I can say my areas of practice are geared towards protecting the intellectual property of one-armed left-handed underwater basket weavers.  That doesn’t mean I won’t take a divorce if it walks through my door with cash in hand.  I certainly will.

I have to say, Mr. Adler’s tweet was pretty amusing, too.  I saw it last night and it gave me a brief smile, and I don’t smile.  Joviality hurts my blackened soul.  Apparently it was a slow news day as well, because the tweet even deserved a bit of a human interest story, getting a post on BillyPenn.com written about it.

Adler said disputes over dogs are relatively in common in divorces, but the parrot provided a new challenge… verbalization. In other words, they can talk. Therefore, they can talk shit.

So he spoke with other lawyers for advice this morning before coming up with “the idea of just agreeing not to say anything nasty in front of the parent.”

However, it appears one of those “other lawyers” may be @ParkerLawyer, who tweeted this back in September:

Those are…really similar.  Oh shiiiiiiit, we about to get all Cease & Desist up in here!

Before we continue, let me say:  I have no opinion on any of the people involved.  I don’t encourage anyone else to form one.  Reserve judgment until the facts are in.

Continue reading “Parrot-Ghazi: The Twitter Saga “

“The Customer is an Idiot”: Not being a client’s employee

There was a time when an attorney was a respected professional whose wisdom and advice was sought after by the members of the community.  We were more than sharks in suits who went after the highest dollar amount, we were learned men of an honorable profession.  Neighbors would come to our offices for not only legal advice, but life advice.  Our opinions were held in high regard, and we were viewed as trusted mediators and advocates for our clients.

Abraham Lincoln once said the following about lawyers:

Discourage litigation. Persuade your neighbors to compromise whenever you can. As a peacemaker the lawyer has superior opportunity of being a good man. There will still be business enough.

First, WHAT THE HELL …Mr. President?  “Discourage litigation” is the worst business advice ever!  How on God’s green earth am I supposed to hit my billables if everyone is being reasonable about easily resolved legal issue?

Seriously, though, the very fact that quote exists tells you something about how lawyers used to be viewed.  We weren’t “legal services providers,” we were the educated men who solved problems in a fair manner and ensured justice was carried out.

I’m going to let you in on a secret of modern legal practice:

Our clients don’t respect us. At. Fucking. All.

Continue reading ““The Customer is an Idiot”: Not being a client’s employee”

Champerty Champions: Betting on Litigation

I think I mentioned before that I’m the son of a plaintiff’s personal injury attorney.  Essentially, growing up, this meant my family’s fortune was pinned onto the misfortune of others.  Paying a water bill for my father wasn’t a matter of billing time so much as it was a matter of hoping someone got bit by the neighbor’s dog or t-boned by a semi truck.  There were Christmas’s where a wrongful death suit meant a new Nintendo, and there were nights where a bad jury verdict meant the family was playing Uno by candlelight and filling up empty gallon jugs with water until the utilities were turned back on.  Feast or famine was the name of the game in those days, and all because of the concept of a contingency fee.

Which is why lawyers, like shitbirds of all stripes and colors, turned to lenders to meet their normal expenses.

Continue reading “Champerty Champions: Betting on Litigation”