I have a partner here in my office in Los Angeles. Today he got an email from MyMotionCalendar.com, an outfit that offers independent contractor attorneys to cover court hearings.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Thursday, July 11, 2013 1:05 PM
Subject: Hearing Wednesday July 17, 2013 @ 10:45- Marianna, Jackson County.
I was inquiring on if you were available to cover a hearing for us on Wednesday July 17, 2013 at 10:45 pm In Marianna, Jackson County. [Note: that part is highlighted in yellow in the original email.] This hearing simply involves a motion to dismiss. Please let me know if you will accept covering this hearing for us for the flat rate of $75.00. [Ditto] I will attach all relevant documents and information to assist you if you can confirm that you can attend. Please confirm that you accept covering this hearing for us with a response to this email. Thank you.
In re: US Bank National Assoc vs. [Unfortunate Person] Case No. 209CA1262 Internal Case ID 12-003054
Type of hearing Hearing Court's Motion Type: Motion for Summary Judgment
Representing Plaintiff City Defuniak Springs, FL Walton County
Date: Wednesday, July 17, 2013 at 2:00pm (orderID:76446)
Lisa Marie Rodriguez,
1001 W. Cypress Creek Road, Suite 407
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33309
Note that Ms. Rodriguez seems confused: the text refers to a motion to dismiss hearing in Jackson County, but the case information block refers to a summary judgment hearing in Walton County.
So: MyMotionCalendar.com would like my partner to fly to somewhere in Floria to represent U.S. Bank at hearing — maybe a motion to dismiss, maybe a motion for summary judgment — for $75. Or would it?
I have a few questions for MyMotionCalendar.com.
1. Is this a real solicitation for an attorney to join you as one of your contract attorneys for a real hearing? Or is this an advertisement, using a fake hearing, to solicit either our business (to pay you for hearing coverage) or participation (as contract attorneys)? If it is an advertisement, does U.S. Bank know that you are using a (real or fake) case bearing its name to solicit business?
2. If it's an advertisement, disguised as a shout for help on a real hearing, then why would anyone — contract attorney or customer — want to do business with a company that advertises by fraud? Also, if it's an advertisement, why haven't you — a company nominally providing legal services — complied with the CAN-SPAM Act?
3. If, on the other hand, this is a real solicitation, genuinely seeking help from some attorney on a hearing:
a. Why would any contract attorney, or any customer, want to trust a company that is so freakishly incompetent that it is soliciting Los Angeles attorneys to got to Florida to handle hearings for $75?
b. Why would any contract attorney, or any customer, want to trust a company that is so freakishly incompetent that it can't keep straight what county the hearing is in, or what type of hearing it is?
c. Do you honestly think that any competent attorney can prepare for, and attend, a hearing on a motion to dismiss or a motion for summary judgement for $75? Either of those motions can result in the permanent end of the case, or the wrongful continuation of the case, to the substantial detriment of one side or the other. For $75? Really? How much time do you think that attorney is going to spend, for $75, preparing to argue what may be the incredibly complex matters presented in the motion? What kind of lawyer, or client, would trust a business that says "simply involves a motion to dismiss?"
4. Who the holy hell hires you people? If lawyers or law firms use you, do they disclose to their clients that they are subcontracting out their legal and ethical obligations at $75 per hearing to a company that doesn't know how far Los Angeles is from Florida, or, alternatively, to a company that gets business by lying? Do they know that they are trusting their cases to a company that sends $75 lawyers to handle "simply" a motion to dismiss?
This is what the marketeers are doing to the legal profession.
Edited to add: If you share my questions, perhaps you could ask company founder Jonathan Broder at firstname.lastname@example.org.