At Least He Wasn't Tweeting For Clients

Jeffrey Partlow’s apparent lack of a law license hasn’t kept him out of the legal representation business over the last nine years:

A Dallas man arrested on suspicion of showing up to court intoxicated is now also accused of practicing law without a license.

Judge Andrew Bench summoned deputies to his Hunt County courtroom on Oct. 22, telling them that Jeffrey Scott Partlow was intoxicated.

After Partlow was arrested for Public Intoxication and held in contempt, presumably for the drunkenness, the judge decided to call the licensing authorities:

The judge was so angry that he called the Texas Bar Association to have Partlow sanctioned, only to learn no one by that name was registered with the bar.

"During the investigation, we determined that he was not an actual licensed attorney," Sheriff Randy Meeks said… He remains jailed in Hunt County on the contempt charge. The Hunt County district attorney is expected this week to present a felony case to a grand jury against Partlow for impersonating an attorney.

Assuming this is all true, I have some good news for Partlow. If he never hit the books actually studying criminal law, he might want to look up Faretta v California, 422 U.S. 806 (1975). If he does end up getting indicted, it’ll probably be under Texas Penal Code Section 38.122, Falsely Holding Oneself Out As A Lawyer:

(a) A person commits an offense if, with intent to obtain an economic benefit for himself or herself, the person holds himself or herself out as a lawyer, unless he or she is currently licensed to practice law in this state, another state, or a foreign country and is in good standing with the State Bar of Texas and the state bar or licensing authority of any and all other states and foreign countries where licensed.

Third degree felony, ouch. While it’s true that the doctor who treats himself has a fool for a patient, the Faretta decision gives Partlow the right to represent himself - legally - in his own criminal case. Might be his last shot at it. Somewhat off topic, the article also notes:

Partlow never advertised in a newspaper, phone book or online. All of his clients apparently came from recommendations from former clients.

Austin Defender and I were eating delicious crispy beef tacos (gratuitous plug for El Arroyo) over lunch yesterday and discussing the issue of how clients ought to pick their lawyers. I argued that criminal defendants would do themselves* a big favor if they asked everyone they knew for recommendations, rather than picking up the yellow pages to find the lawyer with the glitziest ad.

Who knows... maybe this guy was doing a decent job.

[*OK, they might be doing me a favor too, since I don’t advertise in phone books, or send mailers, and the vast majority of my clients come from referrals.]

Sparta Townson, CEO Of Internet Guru Girl

 From the internet guru girl blog:

Personal note from CEO of IGG:

While there are many ways to project your business on line, you have to make sure you feel comfortable with the company or person you are intrusting[sic] your site and online marketing to.

Make sure you understand what it does, what you expect from it, and know that IGG is telling you that the web works better than any other medium but you have to allow the features you’ve chose to work together.

 

IGG will not encourage you to do anything that isn’t in your best interest.

Thank you! Sparta Townson

Sparta is right. Outsource your marketing, outsource your ethics. Everyone in the blogosphere agrees.

That’s why I was surprised to have to give her a call. I had finished two conversations with horrified clients of IGG, who were completely unaware that they were paying her to spam my blog. One of those clients has been fielding phone calls from other bloggers who were kind enough to let him know that IGG was leaving comments like these:

[Name of Lawyer]
Divorce Attorney
Fathers rights Attorney
Family lawyer
Military family law

and

Houston Criminal Defense Attorney

When you are facing criminal charges, every aspect of your life is subject to negative effects. Not only is your freedom threatened, but also your relationships with family and friends, your job and even your health are at risk.

All comments came with the obligatory URL from a backlink bot. I received 30 to 40 identical comments to different posts in the space of just over an hour.

I let her clients know that if this little ole, rarely updated, and less frequently read blog was getting hit, that there were probably some of the bigger blogs on the block being targeted as well. And that some blogging lawyers don’t start with a “Hey, did you know what your SEO person is doing?” phone call… they just lash out with the name of the offending lawyer in the title of the post.

Sparta had already heard from at least one unhappy client by the time I spoke with her, but was not at all sympathetic to my plight. She asked if my blog was open or closed, and told me that since it was open, my comment section was fair game. What I got from the conversation was that she would damn well put whatever idiotic comments she wanted on my blog, and happily associate her client’s names to them, as often as she pleased, and that there was nothing I could do about it. Open blog, therefore the fault was mine.

I asked her if there were any other techniques she uses on behalf of her clients that she would like me to include in an upcoming post. She told me I was threatening her, and mentioned defamation of character, but hung up before I completed my next thought.

Sparta, it’s not a threat, it’s a promise. After all, you encourage folks to find out what an SEO marketer does before hiring one. I’m just doing my part.

Marketing Plan: Encourage Repeat Business

Received an email today inviting me to learn (no doubt at some up front cost to me) how I could:

motivate [my] best clients to return for more business.

I wonder if the spammer knows (or cares) that I only practice criminal defense.