A blog by Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer Brian Tannebaum. Commenting on criminal law issues of local and national interest.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Listening In On A "Double Your Income Call."

The email was one of many I, and other lawyers, receive:

I am hosting a free teleseminar on August 10, 2011 entitled:

"How to Double Your Criminal Defense Practice Income Without Spending One Extra Hour In The Office”

What I will reveal in this call will enable you to design and implement a strategy to boost your practice revenues and boost them quickly! These are proven techniques

One hour, on the phone, a free call, the tips I needed to build my dream practice, only 200 lines available, RSVP now.

So I did.

And then I waited. I waited for the email: "Sorry Mr. Tannebaum, we're all full (because we know who you are and are not letting you near this call.)

It never came. I guess I'm not that famous. Damn.

I got plenty of auto follow-up emails from her, but not the expected, "sorry folks, parks closed" one.

The host?

Rachel Kugel, admitted to the Bar in 2005.

I don't know her, don't know anything about her reputation as a lawyer, just this, and this.

Here's what happened on the call.

It was an interview type conversation. A seemingly drooling questioner, and Rachel answering the questions. It was like an infomercial on the phone. Just enough was said to get people to want more.

The first thing was about who she is - "I'm not a marketing coach." "I don't teach what I don't do." "My primary income comes from being a lawyer."

OK. Sounds good.

She told of her history - solo right out of school, and a half-million in income two years later. There were also hints that that number is now one million.

Now everyone is listening.

The overriding theme was that this can be done, as a criminal defense lawyer, with little work. That kept being said over and over again. It sounded attractive to the young, desperate "how to make money as a lawyer" lawyers, although Rachel made it clear it was for all lawyers. There was no doubt that the strategy was to let people know over and over again that making money taking other people's lives into your hands was "easy" and required "little work to implement."

The system involves getting clients to hire you. It has nothing to do with actually representing them. It is all about "being first" to get the client, convincing them you are "the expert" to handle their DUI or shoplifting case through forms and other tactics, (these two types of cases were mentioned over and over again, no other examples of cases were mentioned), and charging more while obtaining these clients without having to be in the office by "leveraging technology," (read: e-mail, etc...). At one point Rachel said that potential clients get messages from her that make it seem that they are actually coming from her (read: auto, canned, messages.)

She referred to her many vacations and stress-free life, her "Park Avenue address" where she only has to go there "when I want." The questioner thought that was absolutely amazing. I think it's probably a time-share Regus type deal.

She revealed that her average fee is $4,000. This would mean that on average, she opens 250 cases a year or, on average, over 4 cases a week.

The talk was all about the smaller cases. She said that a lawyer she knew said he would take on high profile big murder cases for the sole purpose of getting hired on smaller cases like DUI and shoplifting. I found that interesting, because in my 17 years, I have found that most lawyers who do high-profile murder cases do them to get other high-profile murder cases or other high-profile cases. But maybe I'm wrong.

The word system started to be mentioned. At one point, the questioner said "we've heard system, system, system," and then he asked her to elaborate. This was exactly 45 minutes in to the call.

It's $1297, although we were told it's worth tens of thousands of dollars.

But wait, there's more.

For the callers, a couple "bonus" items, including a personal coaching call from Rachel.

And for us, $997, with a 90 day guarantee that it will work.

Rachel at one point said one of her goals was to "return honor" to our practice. I have no idea how teaching lawyers to convince clients (whether it's true or not) that you are the expert for their shoplifting case is going to "return honor" to our practice. I think there's plenty of honor. Teaching lawyers to make money by strategic marketing tools that are less than a face to face meeting with the new client, isn't real attractive to me.

I don't know how many people were on the call last night, or how many signed up - you can do the math.

And that's my report on the call.

Rachel did say one thing that I liked - that when clients get her on the phone they have already decided to hire her. That's something I've strived for - to get rid of the, as she says "tire kickers."

Although when clients hire me, it's not because they are dazzled with my strategy, my leveraging of technology, or my ability to make it seem like I am actually talking to them.

It's because they need a good lawyer, I hope.

Brian Tannebaum is a criminal defense lawyer in Miami, Florida practicing in state and federal court, and the author of The Truth About Hiring A Criminal Defense Lawyer.Share/Save/Bookmarkokdork.com rules Post to Twitter

Monday, December 05, 2011

If A Post About TSA Fell In A Forrest...

I haven't spent much time talking about the TSA. Unlike my good American Mark Bennett, I still fly. I have plenty of other things that invoke my anger, but the recent allegations of a strip search of some old lady at JFK Airport have caused me to write.

I write not to express outrage at the notion that airport security would ask some old lady to take her pants off, I write to ask what the point is in even talking about it?

What's the point of pounding the keyboard to rant about the unbelievable power of TSA and the cowards in Congress who allow it to continue?

Very little will ever change.

TSA can do whatever they want because our air transportation system has had no terrorist attacks since 9/11/01. As long as that stat remains, they can do whatever they want. If they want to make changes to their search tactics, they can do that, but no elected member or members of Congress are going to say something like "enough with the old ladies and kids."

The fear is that one day a terrorist group will use an old lady or 5 year old kid to bring down a 747, and then of course the member of Congress who advocated reasonableness in airport security will be defeated at the voting booth. And no one wants to be defeated at the voting booth. No one.

The philosophy of TSA is simple - everyone is a potential terrorist. Everyone.

Last week I was at Tampa International Airport where in front of me was some middle aged mom with her husband. She clearly looked like she was headed to see her kids for the weekend or some other non-terrorist activity. But, yes, Al-Queda could have recruited her and deep inside those mom jeans could have been a device ready to kill everyone on their way on a Friday morning from Tampa to Toledo.

TSA spent a lot of time with her - gloves, questions, pat downs. No discretion, no reasonable thought. It was just, "let's check out this mom so no one thinks they get a pass just because they are wearing a knit sweater and their luggage tag has a picture of 2 dogs."

TSA has now apologized, kind of to Ms. Zimmerman. "Sorry." It was a finely crafted (bullshit) apology):

TSA contacted the passenger to apologize that she feels she had an unpleasant screening; however, TSA does not include strip searches in its protocols and a strip search did not occur in this case" said a spokesman for TSA.

"Sorry you feel being asked to take off your pants was a strip search you old bag, perhaps you should look up the legal and technical definition of a strip search before you accuse us of strip searching you just because your pants were off you stupid old lady."

There was no video, so TSA initially did their perfect "no video" response by denying everything. Perhaps they thought everyone would believe this woman took her pants off voluntarily. They are the TSA and they are keeping us safe and when you keep us safe, we believe everything you say. Everything. Just keep keeping us safe by making us take our cash out of our pockets.

I know there are people who think that it's important that we continue to write about these disgusting tactics of TSA, and I'm not saying it's' not. But I do hope we all know that the TSA doesn't care. They can do whatever they want, and they do.

Non-anonymous comments welcome.Brian Tannebaum is a criminal defense lawyer in Miami, Florida practicing in state and federal court, and the author of The Truth About Hiring A Criminal Defense Lawyer.Share/Save/Bookmarkokdork.com rules Post to Twitter