The California State Bar has issued a formal opinion about misleading representations by attorneys on their websites and blogs (Formal Opinion Interim No. 12-0006) and the reason is that too many lawyers are making claims that have no basis in reality.
Some claim to be recognized as one of the “Top 100 Trial Lawyers In America” but fail to mention that they simply paid $375.00 for the logo and trophy and did nothing to earn the purported distinction. Another popular one is that they train with the National College for DUI Defense (NCDD) when they have not attended one of its seminars in more than a decade. Others assert 20-plus years of experience even though their admittance date to the California State Bar was just five years ago (experience in what, you might ask?). Perhaps one of the most misleading website features is the rolling list of trial victories and DMV “set aside” orders on license suspension actions—without an appropriate disclaimer these assertions are unethical and subject to disciplinary action.
In addition to misleading websites, there is the related problem of false and embellished reviews on AVVO and YELP. Too many inexperienced attorneys have worked themselves up to a 10.0 rating by stacking the deck with an unrealistic number of five star reviews (50 or more in many instances). The reality is that most DUI clients are embarrassed about their arrest and want things kept as confidential as possible—except in unusual circumstances, they don’t just go to AVVO and write an on-line review unless they are solicited to do so. In other instances the reviews are just fake. With YELP, a review can be informative but it can also be the product of a friend just writing something real glowing, or a miscreant trying to sabotage a competitor.
If you are seeking an experienced, California DUI defense lawyer, do not be afraid to ask direct questions about actual experience and training, NCDD Board-Certification in DUI Defense, and whether the lawyer you are engaging will be handling all aspects of your case. Look behind the curtain—you deserve honest answers and a straight talking attorney.
I am Paul Burglin and I am an NCDD Board-Certified DUI Defense lawyer (as recognized by the American Bar Association).