Got a call yesterday from someone with her third DWI case. The second was fairly recent, and third time is a charm so it's a felony.
Was talking about the second time to find out what had happened. She had hired a lawyer with a big web presence for DWI cases. She told me his name, and I started laughing. I'll call him Smelly to avoid making it too obvious who he is.
You see, this one DWI lawyer is becoming well known in the community of DWI lawyers, and not in a good way. He advertises heavily on the web and I've even heard ads for him on local radio stations here in Albany. I've never seen him in person, however. That's part of the joke. There is a community of DWI and traffic lawyers and we tend to see each other in court. Here's the guy with the heaviest advertising and yet we've never seen him.
From what I understand, Smelly's modus operandi is that he gets the cases in and then hires other lawyers to appear for him as of counsel. Maybe in his home area (a city west of Albany) he handles cases himself or has his associates do it - though I can't tell if he actually has any associates.
On his website he also claims to be a member of the National College of DWI Defense. This is interesting because I only know about the National College of DUI Defense. If there is one with DWI in the name, I haven't heard of it. He is listed as a member on the NCDD website, so I will give him credit for that. I should join and attend a workshop, but haven't done it yet.
Speaking with last night's prospective felony DWI client, she did not seem happy with the quality of the representation. I didn't get complete details, but it seemed like she had paid a lot of money for Smelly, someone else showed up, didn't do much for her and didn't explain anything to her (I spend a lot of time explaining things to our clients), and it also sounds like she didn't get much of a deal, pleading guilty to DWI on the first appearance.
Perhaps I'll learn more about Smelly as time goes on.