Why You Should Always Check Out Your Lawyers Credentials: A Moral Tale

Being a lawyer is tough.  If you work at a big firm, you have partners breathing down your neck to bill more hours, a seemingly endless pile of mind-numbing documents to review, and a constant sinking feeling that you may be axed on any given day.  Working as a sole practitioner isn’t much better either.  You have to constantly find clients or risk going under, do all your legal research on your own, and deal with something everyone hates: getting your clients to pay for services rendered.

lying attorneyWell, one lawyer has found a way around all of this.  I can’t for the life of me understand how no one figured out before.  Robert P. Mangieri, 68, discovered a way to outsmart all us dolts wasting our time with education and training.  He found that you can just practice law without a license.  It’s so easy and obvious, how did years of attorneys not figure it out sooner?  No need to waste all that money and time on law school or endure countless hours trying to understand how that freakin’ rule against perpetuities doctrine works, just lie and say you did all that crap.  Then all you have to do is open shop, maybe hang up some fake diplomas, and start raking in the money from hapless clients who are too poor to properly check out your credentials.  And the best part is that you don’t have to do any legal research since you’re already lying about your competency or that you’re even legally able to practice law.

I can’t tell guys – was I laying the sarcasm down a little too thick in that last paragraph, or not enough?

As I mentioned in a previous post lawyers in America already have a bad enough reputation without yahoos like Mangieri screwing it up even more for us.  If he had attended law school, he would have learned that lawyers are subject to an incredible number of rules on ethical lawyering, which cover everything from proper notice to guidelines on fees.  Though chances are as a fake lawyer, he probably already knew some of these and chose to ignore them.

Do any of Mangieri’s former clients have a legal recourse against him?  You better believe they do.  Not only is the would-be lawyer being subjected to criminal punishments including grand larceny, impersonating an attorney, and conspiracy to defraud (all of which carry an incredibly light sentence of 4 years – way to deter people federal government!), but he’ll also be open-season to a plethora of tort claims.  The most obvious being fraud and maybe malpractice, but since he’s not officially a lawyer that latter one might not be so obvious.  Though as the saying goes, you can’t get blood from a turnip.  Despite Mangieri duping people into paying him money for services he wasn’t qualified to render, most of his clients weren’t very wealth themselves so Mangieri himself might not be worth so much.

But don’t let Mangieri’s tale fool you into thinking all lawyers are shysters.  Though you should always be sure of your lawyers credentials, according to the latest LegalMatch statistics attorney malpractice cases are among the lowest received.  So don’t be scared to hire a lawyer, just make sure they are actually lawyers first…

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