I’m a big deal. I have a blog. The ABA even gave me a little badgy thingy despite the fact I placed last. Regardless, I’m a badass. Check out what my enduring internet fame has given me:
Is my plea going to get better? Do prosecutors quit giving offers after it’s set for trial?
Can I possess a firearm?
Or have a look at this one:
The police are at my door. I’m in New Jersey. What do I do? Need free advice ASAP. No money, LOL.
I’m making these up, of course, but the real ones are worse. Trust me.
Sadly, these types of messages are the fruits of my labors. I’m no Eric Mayer of Unwashed Advocate fame (have a listen here), but I work the interwebs real good. They get me the clients. And by “clients,” I mean people who have real problems that will take time to solve but who have little if any chance of ever actually hiring me to help them. In most cases, I’m not even admitted to practice in their jurisdiction.
This is all my fault. When we got a fancy new website, the web guy insisted we needed to create a dialogue with visitors. I was skeptical, but he persevered. Our website ended up with a little contact form.
After a series of progressively more complex captchas, the messages from “captaindonkeydong” with a url of “bigweinerpills.biz” telling me I would one day become “a most famousest of the bolggerz” stopped (for the most part), but something far more troubling began. Real people began asking serious legal questions I could not possibly answer in an email.
I pride myself on being on top of things. I don’t neglect calls or emails. I don’t ignore people. When someone needs a lawyer, I call them back as soon as I possibly can. It pains me to leave any message unanswered. My current situation is my own unique version of hell, though admittedly a mild one.
I’m left playing email inbox whack-a-mole trying to respond to people who need real help but who I know are simply not a good fit for my law firm. I should’ve known this would be a problem. Although I was never one for religion, I still recall this one from Sunday school:
As you sow, so shall you reap.
If I earn a client by writing some words that appear on the internet, what have I really done to earn that client? What should I expect?
I’ve sown the easy seed. Why should I expect to reap the kind of client lawyers are rightfully supposed to earn with years of tireless work on behalf of the people they became a lawyer to help?
Needless to say, the contact form will be long gone very soon. I guarantee that’ll be the last time I let a web guy’s insistence trump my gut reaction to a suggestion.