Almost ten years ago, I called out a marketeer* who showed up in the comments at SJ to smooth over the gap between elitist lawyers who disdained the then-current fad of online legal marketing and the new lawyers who saw the internet as a way to shamelessly promote their wares.
It took time to hone their legal chops, gain the skills that would attract clients and establish their bona fides as good lawyers. It took no time at all to hire a marketeer who would create a persona to distinguish a young lawyer from the pack. There was one inherent problem, that there was no legitimate basis to claim any distinction, so they would basically bullshit their way around such arcane ethical prohibitions as not lying, conceal relevant facts like their admission a month before, and lay claim to being the most trustworthy, empathetic and experienced lawyer ever. I was highly intolerant of the scheme. I still am. Lying is lying, and this was all about fudging the edges of deception.
So when the marketeer appeared here to try to weasel his way between reality and bullshit, I was harsh in my condemnation. Of all places to come to rationalize why it was totally reasonable for lawyers to wear hot pants, SJ was a particularly poor choice.
Go sell your sleaze elsewhere. Do you really feel compelled to push the envelope here so that I’m forced to call you an unmitigated whore and utter disgrace. Go find some gutter to wallow and stay away from here.
Soon thereafter, I received an email from a lawyer, David Allen Hiersekorn, in support of his dear friend and paid marketeer, taking me to task for my attack
Your attack on Mark was undignified and demeaning to the legal profession. You engaged in baseless name-calling and – surprisingly for a lawyer – you did not present any argument to support your position. It was simply a tantrum. Because you completely failed to support your point, I had to read some of your other writing to get a feel for your position on these matters. Based on the statements on the main pages of your website, I think I have a pretty good feel for where your anger is coming from.
In a nutshell, it appears that you believe you are significantly better than other attorneys, and you dislike lawyer advertising because it frustrates your ability to advertise your superiority free from other “lesser” souls making competing claims.
So, rather than bemoan the sad state of legal marketing, I would suggest you take a look in the mirror and recognize that you are participating in the activities you claim to dislike. The only difference is that you feel entitled to your message.
In the end, it is merely ego. You have personally decided that you are good enough to advertise, while others are not.
He’s referring to my website, which hasn’t changed, other than things like addresses, since then. I posted his email here and solicited reaction. The comments are particularly fascinating to read years later,** and may both sound familiar today and give you some insight into how long I’ve been hearing the same stuff. It may give you an idea why the novelty has worn off.
Placentia resident David Allen Hiersekorn, license number 237471, was disbarred July 26, 2017, and ordered to notify his clients of the discipline and make restitution. The state bar found Hiersekorn, 48, had misappropriated more than $210,000 from a living trust he was hired to oversee. The state bar said Hiersekorn failed to participate in its prosecution of the matter.
Looking back, two points remain as true today as they did then. Integrity is something you either have or don’t, and it follows you throughout all your dealings. And I was a mean curmudgeon then and remain so today. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
If, by the way, you want to seize upon this post to take me to task for running SJ my way rather than your way, go for it.
*The marketer was Mark Merenda, who was well-regarded by his clients, but still a marketer. He has since passed away.
**At the time, the comments were nested. When I changed platforms years ago and moved things over, the nesting was lost. Sorry about that.
In the comments to the post about Hiersekorn’s email, you’ll see the name Grant Griffiths. At the time, he was one of the early lawyer/marketers, someone who promoted his legal marketing business by saying he was a lawyer who decided to leave the profession, but who understood the ethical and practical demands of lawyers. Grant was a great guy. He was not, however, entirely truthful about his status or how he came to be a legal marketer.