Should I Trust Internet Reviews for a Criminal Defense Attorney?

Should I Trust Internet Reviews for a Criminal Defense Attorney?

June 10, 2015  •  Jerod Gunsberg, Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer

I am a criminal defense attorney in Los Angeles. If you’re reading this, you are probably looking to hire a criminal defense lawyer for you or your loved one. You’re likely trying to navigate dozens of websites, reviews, testimonials, articles, and pages of opinions from an endless stream of defense lawyers claiming they can help you or your loved one. But what’s real and what’s not? What should you look for? Here’s a guide.

Should I Believe Internet Reviews for Criminal Defense Lawyers?

Like almost everything in the law, the answer is “it depends.” First and foremost, the top priority for criminal defense attorneys is maintaining client confidentiality. Part of the commitment to confidentiality is not putting clients in a position in which they are required to publicly discuss their criminal case, even after it’s over. And if it’s an open case, no criminal defendant case should ever discuss their situation with anyone other than their lawyer. And they certainly shouldn’t be posting things on the internet.

After the case is over it’s a different story. Some people are inclined to leave reviews of their lawyers without the lawyer asking. Other times the lawyer may ask the client to leave a review. Either is OK, but you need to really read carefully to determine the value of the review.

First, you have to decide whether or not the review is a real review from a real client. Many attorneys have marketing consultants write reviews for them. I know. It’s ridiculous. Attorneys are supposed to be honest and not engage in this kind of behavior, but there are plenty of marketing companies who will do this.

I’m always suspicious of a criminal defense attorney with loads of Yelp or Google Reviews. Why? Because both Yelp and Google require their users to register accounts under their supposedly real names. There are marketing companies who generate fake Google and Yelp profiles with which to write these reviews. There are also lawyers who will offer a discounted rate to clients who agree to write favorable reviews. All of these practices are highly unethical, but it does not stop lawyers from doing it.

I have no Yelp reviews nor do I have Google reviews. Why? Because I would never ask a client to use his or her real name to publicly discuss something as private as a criminal matter. Sometimes clients are willing to leave feedback. I send them to Avvo.com because the reviews can be left anonymously. Of course, the anonymous review system also lends itself to fake reviews. And that brings me to my next point …

Do Not Hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer Based on Internet Reviews

Hiring a criminal defense attorney is a deeply personal decision. You are likely scared and in a very vulnerable position. Take a breath and give yourself a minute before handing over your money to anyone. Is there attorney giving you the hard sell? Telling you that you need to sign up immediately? Is the attorney telling you that he or she is the only one who can help you? Telling you that he or she will intervene early with the police and prosecution to prevent charges from being filed? Telling you that he or she knows the judge or the prosecutor?

Or is the lawyer calmly listening to your story and giving you a level-headed analysis of your situation? Is the attorney yelling you to give it some thought before making any decisions.

In other words, is the attorney really listening to you or just giving you a sales pitch?

So. What kind of lawyer am I? If you want, you can call me and find out for yourself. You can contact me at the Law Offices of Jerod Gunsberg at (310) 210-0744 or via the secure contact form.

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2 Comments

  1. Nicole asphy
    June 8, 2017

    My name is Nicole and I am contacting you on behalf of my son TImogen Simpson, who is currently incarcerated at the Central men’s jail in Santa Ana. He was found guilty by a jury on 2/28/17 and is currently waiting for sentencing. I am looking for an appeals attorney for his case. I don’t know that much and will do my best to explain but if at all possible it would be best to speak with him. Here is a little about his case.
    His whole case has to do with dropping a girl that was supposed to be his friend off at the Greyhound bus station to go back home to Seattle where they are both from. The girl got mad that he would not personally take her back home and was dropping her off at he bus station so she called the police. She made up a bunch of lies and even said by the end of the conversation with police that she just wanted TImogen to be arrested. So after police telling the girl to contact him to trap him by saying she had no ID to ride the bus he went back to pick her up and was arrested June 9, 2016.
    Because of this story he was charged with an excessive amount of crimes, 11 different crimes in which most did not have enough evidence to meet the element of the crime he was charged with.
    At the end of his trial the girl took back what she said on a recorded statement and that the DA chorused her testify and lie against TImogen by threatening to charge her with a crime, put her in jail and take away her unborn child.
    He had ineffective assistance of council due to the fact that his attorney had a very strong Nigerian accent and was hard to understand. His attorney barley knew his case at all and offered no defense in the trial by not brining out any facts in the case.
    Timogen’s rights were violated due to the fact of not getting to face one of his accusers. The DA never subpoenaed her to court which was probably because of her statement saying that he was never her pimp and never forced her to do anything.
    Also Orange county had no jurisdiction because no crimes were committed in Orange County under penal code 681.
    In his pre-trial an officer committed perjury because he saw that the judge was about to dismiss the case, so the officer got back on the stands and lied in order for the case to get bonded over. This can be proven from a recording that the officer knew he was lying.
    These are a few things that were wrong with Timogen’s case but like I said he can explain things better to you, if you could go visit and speak with him. Again his name is TImogen Simpson BA # 2943131 and he is located in Santa Ana Central Men’s and Women’s jail.

    I currently live in Seattle Washington, which is were TImogen is from, which make’s it difficult for me to find him an attorney. By email and phone is all I can do, at this time.

    I have never hired an attorney for someone, so I do not know the proper steps to take and how to go about doing it. Please let me know if you are able to help and what I need to do.

    Thank you,

    Nicole Asphy

  2. julie bodnar
    August 27, 2017

    Dear Mr Gunsberg
    My name is Julie Bodnar
    Unfortunately I was TICKETED TONIGHT FOR A 647b…
    Unfortunately for the second time…
    I successfully completed a year probation after an arrest
    on Oct 31 2013…that ended in Nov 4 2014…the case was then dismissed…
    again unfortunately….. since at the age of 66…..
    this was my very first legal offense ever
    and I was very inexperienced I agreed to NO CONTEST …with the PUBLIC DEFENDER…who was very pushy about this with me…and after 5 days in jail…I was so stressed ….not knowing that THIS WAS TANTAMOUNT TO PLEADING GUILTY..
    I am a tantra masseuse in Los Angeles..NEVER DID ANY ESCORT WORK EVER…

    so earlier tonight….in my private place Aug 28 2017 I was entrapped through a CRAIGSLIST AD for massage..
    where I do not even publish my phone number…only to be contacted by email…took days of emailing back and forth…

    anyhow the UNDERCOVER DETECTIVE made the appointment
    walked in and tried to hand me money
    and I told him to put it anywhere
    even asked for his ID…showed me fake ID
    Started asking a lot of questions
    sitting next to me and I was very sketchy..but became suspicious
    then he asked to go to the restroom and came back with 4 uniformed cops…one being a woman…
    I never even touched this UNDERCOVER ENTRAPPING DETECTIVE..
    NOTHING HAPPENED…NOTHING WAS TAPED OR WRITTEN DOWN
    AND THEY ASSURED ME THAT THEY WERE NOT ARRESTING ME
    JUST GIVING ME A CITATION…they took 2 photos of me and my ID…

    But this being a THE SECOND TIME…I am very scared..
    I am now 70 and very broke after a bad divorce…
    I sometimes do this massage
    to make my rent…I am totally alone …otherwise I am a professional
    ASTROLOGER for the last 39 years or so….
    and it has been slow…so I tried to complete my rent with doing the Tantra

    I mostly teach them how to enhance their personal lives with their partners..
    and many couples come to see me where I tell the partners what to do with one another
    and mostly do not even touch private parts….
    they touch each other…
    like NOTHING AT ALL HAPPENING BETWEEN MYSELF AND THIS ENTRAPMENT DETECTIVE..
    but that seems to make no difference to the LAPD or the courts…because
    THE FIRST TIME I GOT ARRESTED IT WAS THE SAME…

    I NEVER EVER TOUCHED OR DID ANYTHING…LET ALONE OFFER SEX..
    and yet the POLICE REPORT USED IN COURT AGAINST ME
    WAS FULL OF LIES WRITTEN DOWN BY THE ARRESTING OFFICER..
    SAYING THAT I OFFERED SEX…WHICH I NEVER EVER DO..
    and in that instance they never even asked me
    for my Legal Picture ID…nor run me through any computer system,
    that would have made them realize that I had no criminal record whatsoever…
    just handcuffed me and there were 8 cops…very very cruel and nasty
    and lying to me all over the place

    AND WHY WAS I PUT IN JAIL FOR 5 DAYS???
    Anyhow I am turning to you for help…
    I need legal support…I cannot face going to jail again
    I was in serious POST TRAUMATIC STRESS for over 2 years after this jail event…where I got so much abuse from the
    GUARDS AND EVEN MEDICAL STAFF..that I thought I was going to die on the spot….I am a nice white Jewish girl…and I was in a very big holding
    cell surrounded by so many criminals with prior criminal records…
    Thank You
    Julie Bodnar
    213 291 8358
    available in the afternoons…

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