There are two types of lawyers: Those that have a reputation, and those that try to create a reputation.
As many of the readers here are law students or recent admits to the Bar, I ask you - will you earn your reputation through the good and bad that you do, or will you simply use the internet, yellow pages, TV, and mailers to pretend that you are a good lawyer?
In this economy, there are lawyers surviving on their reputation, and those creating a false reputation in order to survive.
So yesterday my brothers and sisters who toil daily in Houston's criminal courts, took Andy Nolen to task.
Andy Nolen is a Houston Criminal Defense "Lawyer" with a huge internet presence. According to those who are well known and respected in Houston, his courthouse presence is not as "big."
Recently, a discovery was made that on a Yahoo.com review page, every Houston Criminal Defense Lawyer was trashed by "someone" named "Jerry K," and Andy was lauded. That review page now appears to be empty.
The unknowing internet cruisers, looking for that cheap criminal lawyer, we're sure they'd found the perfect lawyer.
But I look to these real reviews posted yesterday by real lawyers, with real reputations.
Take Murray Newman, a former prosecutor now defense lawyer.
"I also dealt with Andy Nolen. His contribution to the reputation of the Defense Bar never held a candle to any of those he dared to insult."
Or Cynthia Henley:
"I know he has been in trouble with the State Bar. In the past, I've wondered what people are thinking when they hire him"
Or Paul Kennedy, who asks Andy:
"And what does it say about your sense of ethics? You don't seem to think it's a problem to have someone post fake "reviews" about other attorneys. Is there any line you won't cross? Is there any conduct that makes you cringe?"
Or John T. Floyd:
"By engaging in this kind of “despicable” behavior, Nolen has violated a fundamental ethical responsibility that requires every attorney must maintain the highest standards of professional conduct. This ethical responsibility exists not only when an attorney is dealing with his/her client or the general public but also in his relationship with others members of the bar."
Or the Immediate Past President of the Harris County Criminal Defense Lawyers Association Mark Bennett who sums up this charade as any leader of the criminal defense bar would:
"Among the lawyers panned by “jerry k.”: Don Becker (again, twice on this day), Todd Leffler, Dan Corrigan, Doug Durham, Dane and Leslie Johnson, Dennis Slate, Larry Douglas, Dan Gerson, Jeff Purvis, Mekisha Murray, David Breston, Paul B. Kennedy, Joe Salhab, Cynthia Henley, and John Floyd (again). Every one of them is at least ten times the lawyer Andy Nolen is.
We knew already that Andy Nolen was a lousy unethical lawyer; the true tale is told by the most recent real review on Andy Nolen’s Yahoo Local page:
Did not show to court on first day. this is not good."
Whether Andy did this himself, or someone else did it for him, is irrelevant. This story was posted all over the net yesterday, all day.
Andy's response: silence.
Click here for what a search for "Andy Nolen" looks like now on Google.
The phrase coined by comedian Andrew Dice Clay comes to mind: "I didn't do this to you, you did this to you."
Located in Miami, Florida, Brian Tannebaum practices Bar Admission and Discipline and Criminal Defense. Read his free ebook The Truth About Hiring A Criminal Defense Lawyer. Please visit www.tannebaumweiss.com