Martindale-Hubbell Still Playing Wingman for their Creepy Junk-Merchant Friend American Registry

Law Practice

Martindale-Hubbell and I have a touchy relationship. I had to write them and tell them to stop sending a passive-aggressive salesman to our firm, and then write him and tell him to stop contacting me. We spend money to be listed by them on their directories, because some potential clients expect it, but for the most part it yields cold calls from crazy people. Their marketing is increasingly sleazy.

But at least they haven't forgotten me.

That's why this morning I received yet another spam email from Martindale's "partner," American Registry, which still — a year after I last wrote about it – wants to sell me an ass-ugly $159 plaque commemorating the 15th anniversary of my admission to the California bar. That anniversary — in 2009 — is now three years old.

In 1994, you swore an oath and were admitted to the Bar. On the 15th Anniversary of that proud occasion, your efforts and service since that day are worthy of recognition. Congratulations. Although your official anniversary occurred in the past, we did not want you to miss the chance to commemorate this milestone. The value of your accomplishments never expire and should be displayed for years to come. You worked hard to gain admission to the Bar. Share your pride with those who have helped you make the most of your professional career: your family, your clients and your colleagues.

I cannot think of a single lawyer who would willingly display the "beautiful handcrafted plaque designed for you" marketed by American Registry with the spammy assistance of Martindale-Hubbell.

Dear in-house-counsel and prospective clients: this is why listings in Martindale-Hubbell-operated attorney registries are worthless and should be neither a prerequisite nor an enticement to hire an attorney. The rational way to choose attorneys is through putting in a little work to find a referral. You should not search for an attorney using the same methodology you use to find a hilarious cat picture for your great-aunt. And you should not put your faith in a company that charges attorneys to be on registries and then uses their contact information to spam them with emails hawking crap like this.

Last 5 posts by Ken White

18 Comments

17 Comments

  1. John Ammon  •  Sep 24, 2012 @9:50 am

    I cannot think of a single lawyer who would willingly display the "beautiful handcrafted plaque designed for you" marketed by American Registry with the spammy assistance of Martindale-Hubbel.

    Two words: Charles Carreon

  2. Crystal  •  Sep 24, 2012 @10:24 am

    You'll like this story.

    I'm an accountant and during a recent audit there was some discussion with our audit firm about an estate gift. We got a letter from the attorney who wrote the will. The audit firm did not want to accept the letter because the 80+-year-old attorney had a yahoo email address. The audit firm said if he didn't have his own domain, then a google email address would be acceptable. Finding his listing in the registry maintained by the state was not good enough.

  3. Damon  •  Sep 24, 2012 @11:49 am

    And here I thought Lexis Nexis was sleazy. :)

  4. Dustin  •  Sep 24, 2012 @12:01 pm

    "The audit firm said if he didn't have his own domain, then a google email address would be acceptable."

    :/

  5. Robert White  •  Sep 24, 2012 @12:37 pm

    yes, because google woudl _never_ let someone create an email address/account as "no.real.person" (<== my anti-spam email address used in places where I know spam would issue. This account is super useful as it generally gets scrubbed out of spam lists for being "false" 8-).

  6. Bear  •  Sep 24, 2012 @1:04 pm

    Hey, Ken. I need you to represent me pro bono to sue the SCA for putting a microchip designed by Leonardo da Vinci in my head back in '83. I'll fax you the documentation. The scribes wrote it in invisible ink, so you'll need to hold the pages over a flame to bring out the writing.

    (THAT ought to draw a few hits from crazies doing web searches… )

  7. Jack B.  •  Sep 24, 2012 @1:12 pm

    I was hoping the 15th Anniversary plaque looked more like this. What lawyer wouldn't want that in their office?

    (I actually got that in the mail. I hung it up on the fridge, it's so awesome.)

  8. JRM  •  Sep 24, 2012 @2:09 pm

    I got the same solicitation but I don't subscribe to M-H. (I don't have the same needs Ken and Insignificant Associates-Insects, LLP, has.)

    My guess is they're now scraping addresses off Calbar.

    I'm planning to buy three of them – one for the office, one for my home, and one for my car which gets me from one to the other.

    Maybe I should get a fourth to bring to court. I need people to know it's been a long time since I graduated from Bob's Waffles and Law – no law parking during breakfast hours – and have failed to get disbarred.

  9. C. S. P. Schofield  •  Sep 24, 2012 @2:43 pm

    Jack B.;

    Oh, good grief! I wonder if the knives can even slice cooked carrots.

    JRM;

    Wasn't that Bob's Waffles, Law, and Bail Bonds?

  10. JLA Girl  •  Sep 24, 2012 @4:03 pm

    @ John Ammon: I'll add two more words — Joseph Rakofsky

    Also, I wonder if they send e-mails to those who've been disbarred?

    "Congrats on being called to the bar 15 years ago. Wish you were still here. Have a plaque."

    If so, I think

  11. JLA Girl  •  Sep 24, 2012 @4:10 pm

    Drat. Ignore the last line of my above post. It leads nowhere (kinda like most of my thoughts but with less forethought).

  12. Kinsey  •  Sep 24, 2012 @5:52 pm

    LexisNexis IS sleazy. Strange to think that back in the 90s, West (now Thomson West, Thomson Reuters, whatever) was the Dark Tower and LexisNexis were the good guys. Now? Now I'd be thrilled if we could purge LexisNexis products from our law library but of course we can't – we're way too big and their tentacles reach into every nook, cranny and orifice of our global firm.

    Come to think of it, I'm pretty sure LexisNexis owns M-H now.

    We canceled the print directory a few years ago. I bet in the next 5 years they're totally subsumed into LN.

  13. En Passant  •  Sep 24, 2012 @8:19 pm

    JRM on Sep 24, 2012 @2:09 pm wrote:

    I got the same solicitation but I don't subscribe to M-H. (I don't have the same needs Ken and Insignificant Associates-Insects, LLP, has.)

    My guess is they're now scraping addresses off Calbar.

    I'm planning to buy three of them – one for the office, one for my home, and one for my car which gets me from one to the other.

    Your last, "I'm planning to buy…" is exactly why spammers spam.

    Buying something from them will only increase the volume of spam they will send. And it will create the existing business relationship they need in order to make their spam to you legitimate.

    If you had said "I'm planning to beat the living bejeebus out of them", then I would risk giving legal advice and say "Don't do it unless they attack you first with a deadly weapon and you are in immediate fear of death or serious injury."

    But you didn't say that. So I won't give you that advice.

  14. Chris R.  •  Sep 24, 2012 @8:36 pm

    They should offer commemorative beer steins. Everyone needs those.

  15. Robert White  •  Sep 24, 2012 @9:43 pm

    Those knives are probably wicked-sharp, since the people who would buy such a thing are usually sharpness-fetishist and gun collectors.

  16. Kilroy  •  Sep 25, 2012 @6:23 am

    Sounds like someone got passed over for being a SuperLawyer again…

  17. Barbara  •  Sep 25, 2012 @6:31 am

    Robert: no, the knives are dull. It says so right on the ad, in small print in the lower left corner. You might be able to put an edge on them with a lot of time and patience, but then the shiny pretty blade will be all not-shiny and pretty along the edge. and you might damage to lovely etching.

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