WELCOME TO THE OFFICIAL RICHARD E GERSTEIN JUSTICE BUILDING BLOG. THIS BLOG IS DEDICATED TO JUSTICE BUILDING RUMOR, HUMOR, AND A DISCUSSION ABOUT AND BETWEEN THE JUDGES, LAWYERS AND THE DEDICATED SUPPORT STAFF, CLERKS, COURT REPORTERS, AND CORRECTIONAL OFFICERS WHO LABOR IN THE WORLD OF MIAMI'S CRIMINAL JUSTICE. POST YOUR COMMENTS, OR SEND RUMPOLE A PRIVATE EMAIL AT HOWARDROARK21@GMAIL.COM

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

UNLICENSED PRACTICE OF LAW

UPDATE: DIET SODA WILL KILL YOU. More in our continuing campaign against the slow poisoning of the american public by soda companies.

A study presented at a American Diabetes Association meeting this week shows that drinking diet soda is associated with a wider waist in humans. And a second study shows that aspartame -- an artificial sweetener in diet soda -- actually raises blood sugar in mice prone to diabetes...

Researchers found that the diet soda drinkers had waist circumference increases of 70 percent greater than those who non-diet soda drinkers. And people who drank diet soda the most frequently -- at least two diet sodas a day -- had waist circumference increases that were 500 percent greater than people who didn't drink any diet soda, the study said.

The article is here.
So- drink diet soda and get fatter. What a deal!


UPL. Unlicensed practice of law. Non-lawyers charging individuals to assist them in filling out legal forms and/or motions.

That's what several attorneys are saying the insidious Court Options is doing in charging clients to attend "workshops" to fill out and file seal and expunge motions.

Check out their website here and let us know what you think.

Court options directly solicits clients with letters that make it very clear they can do what lawyers can do for less. The aim and substance of "the pitch" is to not waste money on attorneys.

Should the Florida Bar (motto: "Dues Please") step in?

Should a group of attorneys get together and sue Court Options.

Or should you all sit around and watch your business being taken away by a bunch of unregulated semi-professionals?

It's your money and your clients that are being taken.



amend/j-MQC;rumpole at sea;gk


39 comments:

Anonymous said...

I agree that direct solicitation of clients is inappropriate and hurts our business.

But what's the alternative? Have the Miami-Dade Police administer diversion, much like it's done in Broward. Everyone knows how successful that is.

Anonymous said...

According to their website,
"This workshop is facilitated by an attorney that has experience in record sealing and expunction."

I think this probably avoids the UPL issue.
But what does 'facilitated' actually mean in this sense?
Because it also says the forms are completed with the assistance of staff.

Anonymous said...

Further reading of their site says the sealing workshop is "absolutely free of charge."
Hmmmm...

Anonymous said...

Bar and number of affected lawyers should sue as a class.

Anonymous said...

I think we're barking up the wrong tree with this. Assuming that they do have an attorney supervising the workshop, how is it any different than me having my secretary or paralegal complete all of the sealing and expunging paperwork for my client.

Anonymous said...

Lawyers suing would have no standing. Practicing law without a license is a crime and/ or infraction (depending upon the jurisdiction). Lawyers suing would be like a bunch of drivers suing a suspended driver for DWLS.

Anonymous said...

The county court pre-trial diversion programs should operate like the felony pre-trial intervention programs, that is, with in-court referrals and without direct mail solicitations by the pre-trial diversion businesses.

Anonymous said...

The SAO has FREE sealing and expungement workshops where there are volunteer private defense attorneys to answer questions.

Anonymous said...

The issue is not the seal and expunge workshop. The issue is the direct solicitations and the legal advice and promises that are made in them.

The solution is for the defense attorneyd and the police officers to get together and back viable candidates against the judges that are permitting or encouraging the direct solicitations.

Anonymous said...

Wow . . . if you filter feeders really need to worry about losing clients seeking expungements, to non-lawyers, maybe you should apply to one of the county court vacancies, where you'll get a steady pay check and a parking space.

the trialmaster said...

Only the bottom feeders file the motions to expunge and seal. Most trial attorneys do not have the time to handle such muldane tasks. The trialmaster does not handle motions to expunge.

Anonymous said...

I sickens me to see so many of my colleagues who claim to be champions of the poor and oppressed whining when a someone (be it the State, a non-profit organization or a company) comes along and offers them assistance far cheaper (and, in the case of diversion programs, more effectively) than the defense bar can.

The DUI attorneys whined like hell that the SAO was hammering offenders. Now they whine that they're losing business and that the program's availability should be kept a secret until arraignment (God forbid that some poor schleb would realize that he can get a case reduced without a lawyer's help).

Now people are complaining that Court Options' helping folks fill out forms to get cases sealed and expunged is UPL? Even though it's free?

Please.

We should be more concerned about the lawyers who charge people a month's pay (or more) to get deals they can get on their own or do things they can do themselves. Talk about unprofessional and excessive fees! Of course, no one wants to do anything about that......

I'd hope that the "affected lawyers" sue as a class as 7:21 suggested. I'd love to see their claims for lost wages. It would shine the light on the absurd fees they charge.

I hope the Bar looks into these issues........for far different reasons than those complaining about the programs.

BTDT

Anonymous said...

Wake up. It's called tort reform. We are all being eaten away by insurance companies or other paralegal companies assisting on divorces, immigration, or seal and expungement proceedings.

I like the spelling of the second blog, "expunction" for expungement.

It's sweeping across the nation and it has affected all states in different forms.

In California there are no depositions until mediation or arbitration. And workers' comp is being eaten away slowly.

My only advice is to not put all your eggs in one basket or to have a backup plan.

Anonymous said...

"I think we're barking up the wrong tree with this. Assuming that they do have an attorney supervising the workshop, how is it any different than me having my secretary or paralegal complete all of the sealing and expunging paperwork for my client."

Well said.

And I will add, the difference between nothing and no difference is still no difference.

Anonymous said...

11:50,
'Expunction' came straight from the Court Options website.
I thought it was was weird too, nut I looked and found the following:

Expunction:
Noun 1. expunction - deletion by an act of expunging or erasing

expunging, erasure

deletion - the act of deleting something written or printed


So I guess it is a valid word.

Owns a dictionary said...

Expunction is a word.

Idiot.

Tired of stupid postings said...

Hey Trialmaster,

You don't file motions to seal / expunge?

Why, are all your trials which keep you so busy resulting in convictions?

Get off your high horse. Filing these motions for a fee is nothing to be ashamed of. Making sure something is completed properly, filed properly, and appearing for your client in court so they don't miss a day of work is a legitimate service.

There isn't an attorney out there who relies on doing only expungements. But if you are offering good service to your client, this last step is integral, and may help someone keep or get a job.

We work to make a living, and all of you who begrudge us for complaining when we see our livelihood in jeopardy are presumably doing the same. Unless all your trials were cases taken pro bono, shut up you tool.

42 waist x 30 length said...

You are dead on about the diet soda.

I have a large diet coke to go with my double quarter pounder with cheese, large fries, and sixpiece mcnuggets.

My waist just keeps expanding.

Inexplicable.

It's like light beer. I have 10 or 12 during happy hour with a dozen extra hot buffalo wings, and the ultimate nachos. I don't lose an inch. I'm thinking of switching to Michelob Ultra- its low carb. I think it will make a world of difference.

the trialmaster said...

4:14...I assure you that none of my criminal cases are pro bono. I do not accept court appointments. After one of my usual victorys I send the clients to any monkey who can do the motion to expunge, and I tell them to save the money, see the clerk, fill out the kit themselves.My work is over when the jury says "NOT GUILTY".I do not have the time, or patience to do the work of a bottom-feeder like you.

Anonymous said...

Google search lead me to this Blog site, whew thank you for the link to the free non-lawyers, I have the dough for a real lawyer but in this case I get what would cost me $1000 for free.

Thank you for blogs!

Anonymous said...

Diet soda? Really? A health threat? Damn. I smoke two cigars a day, drink at least a glass of scotch when I get home, eat steak, love beer with it, and will have at least 10 hot dogs over the weekend. Thanks to your post, I will stay off the diet soda.

Anonymous said...

To 4:01:

Yes, I learned a new word. A drop in the bucket compared to:
a. Flesh it out, not "flush" it out.
b. Sleight of hand, not "slight" of hand."
c. A flag waves, not "waives."
d. Than used interchangeably with "then."
e. It's used interchangeably with its.

Anonymous said...

4:14 - couldn't agree more.

For all of my first-time offender clients, I expunge or seal their records. I consider it part of my service and a very important one at that.

Anonymous said...

The Trialmaster is Angry Gurl's feminine personna.

Anonymous said...

BTDT, the DUI BOT program requires defendants to sign a confession and waive all objections to its admissibility at trial (some BS the SAO here copied from Broward) if they drop out or are bounced out of the program.

Defendants may have a great MTS or other good defenses but the SAO is not going to tell them that and will try to get them to PG or get in BOT. Only a CDA can properly advise a defendant about his or her real options.

You need help... said...

Hey Trialmaster,

you use the term bottom feeder derisively, however you should know that lobsters, crab, shrimp and other delicacies are bottom feeders. People pay big money for the bottom feeders who do the dirty work.

I'm sure you fancy yourself a shark, but you should know that many species of sharks will feed on anything that they can get their teeth on, including garbage, and dead fish. Their sleek exterior is highly deceptive, as they are merely opportunistic feeders, taking what comes easiest.

The whole thing falls apart without each member of the food chain doing their part.

And your response showing contempt for everyone around you - "bottom feeders" and "monkeys" -'shows me that you are probably not a terribly popular guy, and deep down it bothers you.

Every good trial attorney will file the paperwork for their client if asked. The fact that the MUNDANE paperwork is beneath you shows that in addition to the contempt you have for your fellow attorneys, you have equal contempt for your clients, and the courts. The only thing that suits you is being the center of attention in trial, which helps you overcome your insecurity. Even your pseudonym screams "look at me, I'm great."

Douche.

Anonymous said...

11:02

best comment ever.

Rumpole said...

6:15- there isnt a thing you consume that is as dangerous as a diet soda. So keep it up.

Anonymous said...

The PD has Sealing and Expunging Workshops.

Anonymous said...

dear 11:02. Kudos on a profound observation and awesome cross-examination of one of the self-aggrandizing idiots on this blog. No one likes a braggart and you hit the nail on the head because the finest lawyers do not brag, in fact the greatest lawyers have clients who do not want publicity for themselve or the client giving press conferences. The criminal defense bar in Miami/south florida is arguably the best in the whole country and for every publicity seeker there are 10 attorneys just as good if not better that you may not have even heard of. Know let me put on my sigmund freud cap and dissect you. You are a woman, you are well educated and are frustrated because you do not have adequate outlet for your trial skills either in your present job or current schedule. You are sophisticated and above pettiness yet your desire to chastise an egomaniac leads to the conclusion that you are conflicted as a defense attorney, defending guilty people because your rant is reminicient of what one would expect from a prosecutor, or you are a current or former prosecutor. You also are sexually frustrated because of the vast panoply of derogatory insults you could advance you chose to use a word which causes one to fixate on the female anatomy. You have such anatomy and your fixation on it means you are either very proud of it and would like to share it with others, are ashamed of it and wish you had a penis, or are thinking about it because you have become so in love with it that you play with it and clean it constantly and won't let anyone else have access to it, which by the way is very selfish, unless of course you are a gross fat smelly pig and in that case you can keep it. I deduce that you are not a pig based upon the intellect you showed at 1102 which means you know how to do that which signed your name as. I hope to never have to be cross examined by you but would like to see you in trial against the master, who is only a master of his own domain because if he had a real set and he would not be so insecure as you pointed out. respectfully ; a real trial master.

Anonymous said...

Court Options and Advocate have been doing this for years.Thank Slom and Maer for the past year in qallowing their expertise in Sealing/Expunction.When fault is ashown in the programs the wagons of the State and Judiciary circle.The programs are a money making proposition for someone even though they do little to help in Miami Dade County.

Anonymous said...

9:24...........big deal. All these guys have to do is comply with the program for what, six months? Additionally, we all know that people are bounced out for a first technical violation. Getting through the program is no big deal.

Regardless, we all know that there are very few cases with legit MTD's. I'd be much more willing to buy your position if I thought there was a chance in hell that the average defense attorney would take a quick look, decide there's no MTD at no charge and tell their potential clients to take PTD. The reality is that they just want the client. It's not really about the potential MTD or anyone's rights.

BTDT

Anonymous said...

Seriously, let me get this straight. You guys are upset that people are catching on to the fact that they can get something done in the justice system for a lot less AND without using the services of an ALMIGHTY ATTORNEY? Three-quarters of the stuff you guys do can be done by a trained chimpanzee! And please...no hate mail from the chimp lovers. How about actullay using your education at trials, not telling a client with no priors that you really had to work a prosecutor to get him Pre-Trial Diversion!

Anonymous said...

As for direct solicitations of clients how many of us send flyers to Felony, Misdemeanor & DUI defendants? He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone...

Anonymous said...

Rumpole- question--- diet soda vs. smoking. Diet soda is worse?

Anonymous said...

11:02, you wrote a nice post, but, please, don't take the "trialmaster" seriously. He's just a blog character (or a nickname that several posters use) that likes to get a rise out of people. I just ignore him.

Anonymous said...

when i was a prosecutor i worried to death over my cases and worked very hard. i now know that a nursing home resident with dementia with one week of training could get a guilty verdict in a dui manslaughter or child sex battery victim case and most felonies.

Weighed and Measured said...

July 1st 11:23;

Jesus Christ. Your analysis is so close to spot on, it is a little scary. One problem- I am a guy. Not sure how that affects the rest of your analysis.

But still, since you hit the nail on the head in so many of your points, I have concluded that I am authoring way too many postings. I'll have to cut back after this one.

Maybe you are my ex wife?

Anonymous said...

Trialmaster, you do realize you cannot expunge a not guilty by jury verdict, right?