Saving Christopher McCann

Within the niche of criminal defense, there’s a subset of lawyers who do drunk driving defense. While they may technically fall within the larger niche, it’s a very different practice in that they are constrained to do high volume for low prices. There’s just no other way to survive as a drunk driving lawyer.

Which makes California DUI lawyer Christopher McCann’s monumental screw up more understandable.  I don’t know him. He may be a great DUI lawyer. Or not. I have no clue. But it’s clear that he’s engaged in every smarmy method of getting business the internet has to offer.  From using a  marketeer named Nader to do the guest post backlink scheme, to twitting DUi stories, to Youtube videos, to every  website gimmick known to marketeers, he’s there.

As a result, he’s attracted the attention of a few fellow blawgers, Brian TannebaumMatt Brown and even Alfie Jordan Rushie,  McCann, in a misguided effort to impress upon those who were critical of his marketing methods (he called himself “Mr. McCann” in a comment to Tannebaum, as if he was a grown-up chastising a five year old), he made some mind-numbingly foolish assertions.  Most notably, that he was justified in engaging in these smarmy schemes because he was too busy to behave better, and that it was somehow Tannebaum’s duty to call him if he took issue with his sleaze rather than McCann’s responsibility not to engage in sleaze. 

With Matt Brown, it was worse

Your problem is you republish [Tannebam’s] link and insult me again, and put me in a false light, without looking into the fact that that other lawyer is falsely portraying what happened so he can crowbar me into a point he wants to make. I answer my own calls and do my own work. I write content. I just don’t have the time or know how to find places to publish it. I hired someone more knowledgeable than me to find websites that would publish it to get my name out there. That neither makes me a bad lawyer, nor a “scumbag marketer.” All that lawyer had to say was “no thanks.” I get requests all the time. Instead he hides behind a computer and insults me and my colleague who stuck up for me.

McCann doesn’t know Matt. McCann doesn’t know how the internet works. He thinks he does, and he projects his misguided grasp onto Matt, but he has no clue. Tannebaum could have just said “no thanks” to McCann’s “scumbag marketing” scheme, but he chose instead to take note of it. That’s Tannebaum’s choice, and when McCann engaged a marketeer to run amok on the internet under his name, that was the risk he took.  Had he known better, he might have acted differently, but it’s no one’s fault but McCann’s. 

You have insulting me by clearly portraying me in a false light. As a private individual, that is actionable. I demand you remove any reference to me from that post and my comment.

If you do so, I’ll leave it at that. If not, I am going to explore my legal options against you and your partner who is cc’d on this communication.

Another empty threat by another clueless lawyer. Not only does the provide greater insight into McCann than his marketing methods, but the internet tends to respond poorly to such methods. Even more poorly than it does to sleazy marketing schemes.

That’s where Rushie entered the picture, because the blawgosphere does not take censorious threats lying down.

Quite frankly, you’re acting like a school child whose feelings were hurt and now you’re throwing a temper tantrum. And while hurt feelings might make you very sad, and Matt Brown is a big mean bully who hurt your feelings, I’m sure you understand that none of it is actionable at law. As a lawyer, you know better, and you should be deeply ashamed of yourself for trying to engage in petty and baseless intimidation.

If these kinds of childish antics are your way of trying to build an internet presence, congratulations, you have succeeded. You have earned an online reputation for using scummy marketing tactics, engaging in censorious thuggery, and trying to intimidate young lawyers with frivolous SLAPP lawsuits because they hurt your feelings (while apparently not threatening Tannebaum with a lawsuit for, well, whatever reason…).

So Christopher McCann has managed to screw up his carefully crafted internet persona on just about every level possible. Had he left it alone after hiring some guy named Nader to do the guest post scheme on his behalf, this would have faded into oblivion. Had he realized that he screwed up, and that he was dead wrong to demand that the blawgosphere go out of its way to accommodate him and his expectation that all the other lawyers on the internet were engaged in sleazy marketing just like him, then apologized for his egregious errors, it would have dissipated over time.

But McCann screwed up, doubled down, then doubled down again. 

Yesterday I sent McCann an email to find out whether he had learned from this, whether he came to realize that it wasn’t the blawgosphere that had wrongly maligned him, but that he had handled himself poorly.  There were two reasons I wrote him.

First, maybe Chris McCann is a damn fine DUI lawyer. Maybe he knows his stuff, takes great care of his clients and defends them zealously.  It’s just that DUI lawyers need to churn to stay afloat, and marketing makes that happen.  Lawyers whose practice demands constant marketing tends to have a blind spot there, but it doesn’t make them any less competent as lawyers.  So all the hubbub over McCann’s sleazy marketing and incredibly poor manner of dealing with criticism may not reflect his ability as a DUI lawyer. Or not. I have no clue.

Second, maybe Chris McCann’s lack of understanding about why his marketing and subsequent behavior has served him so poorly reflects one of my gravest fears about the internet and the blawgosphere, that lawyers jump in blindly, taught by marketeers, schemers and futurists that this is how they ought to act. No one tells them that trying to bluster their way through their screw-ups is far more likely to give rise to the Streisand Effect than make anyone bow to their lawyerly will. 

For a long time, I’ve pondered whether lawyers will come to the web with the understanding that guys like Eric Turkewitz offer. But “there Are 181,000 Social Media ‘Gurus,’ ‘Ninjas,’ ‘Masters,’ and ‘Mavens’ on Twitter.”  What chance does a guy like Turk, or me for that matter, have against this swarm?  And what chances does a guy like Chris McCann have of learning how to conduct himself properly when there are 181,000 voices telling him to walk the boulevard in hotpants?

So Chris McCann got his butt kicked on the internet, when all he wanted to do was market the crap out of himself and bring in as many “leads” as possible. Does that make him a bad lawyer? No. No, it does not.  But it also doesn’t make him smart enough to know when to stop digging that very deep hole that’s about to crash down on his head.  Given the choice of the road to perdition and the path of apologia, he gets to decide which route is right for him.  He chose.  He chose poorly.

I tried to help, but he didn’t respond to my email. So much for trying to save Chris McCann from himself. Don’t make the same mistake.

5 comments on “Saving Christopher McCann

  1. SHG

    My preference, Alfie, is to believe that McCann, had his introduction to the internet not been through marketeers and schemes, would have neither engaged in sleazy marketing nor reacted so inappropriately. My preference is to blame his grossly misguided ways on bad influences rather than his inherent preferences.

    If only he gave me some indication that this was true.

  2. Erika

    i disagree with the assertation that he has “every website gimmick” since he does not seem to have his own cartoon shark logo.

  3. SHG

    I didn’t say his gimmicks were really cool, like a shark logo. Everybody can’t have a shark logo.

  4. John Neff

    The coolest shark logo I have seen is a smiling shark. However it does seem to be a mixed metaphor.

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