Sadly, I have never been poor. I was never forced to pull myself up by my bootstraps. I'm not even sure what bootstraps are exactly but I am certain that if I ever owned any, one of the servants did the pulling for me. Without hopelessness of poverty in my life, there are quadrants of the human condition with which I am unfamiliar. Criminal life, alcoholism and domestic abuse are the choice friends of desperation alone. They all sit in the parking lot together on the hood of a Camero, smoking cigarettes and looking cool.
I am jealous.
I would pray for the bottomless writing opportunity available in that kind of destitution if only praying for things wasn't equally as foreign to me. So, unable to join their ranks, I can only fantasize about being one of the dredges of society; I think about drug deals going south, I neglect my plants like illegitimate children and I spend a lot of time on defense attorney websites.
These websites, it turns out, are a goldmine of information about, for and written by desperate people. They are exactly as overt as you would expect them to be, only more so. I have compiled my favorite five for your enjoyment. Or, if you are a criminal feeling the firm, calloused hand of legality bend you gently over a witness stand, these websites may help. Also, let's hang out, I have a lot of questions.
I deduced from Miles L. Berman's advertising campaign that alcoholics who accidentally kill other people with automobiles also have a proclivity for fighter jets and volleyball. Something I did not know. Miles has labeled himself the, "Top Gun DUI defense attorney" and even uses the same wings around a star emblem to let everyone know that, yes he does mean business, and yes he does mean the movie.
"Friends don't let friends plead guilty."
Miles has cleverly taken the tired old adage "Friends don't let friends drive drunk" and flipped it into something controversial, and dangerous, and even a little confusing; all the qualities I would look for in a criminal defense attorney.
Unlike M.A.D.D., Miles knows that the original slogan is exactly why nobody's mother is his/her best friend. A real friend will let you do whatever you please as long as it makes for a story later, whether that be getting fast food at four in the morning or fleeing the scene of an accident. That said, a friend reserves the right to fight you if you so much as think about pleading guilty to a DUI, and Miles L. Berman will do just that. Such are the rules of camaraderie.
The Terani Law Firm knows that cocaine addicts don't have the time to sit down and read a bunch of polysyllabic words when a picture can do the same job. The first thing on the page is a photograph highlighting the objects their clients identify with most, namely drugs and money. I've spent a healthy chunk of time picturing how the decision for the photo was made:
"OK, we need something that pops off the page. Something they can relate to."
"Yes, I like where your head's at, Larry. How about some drugs and some money?
"f**k me, that's gold!"
"Let's shoot it."
"We're gonna need some money."
"Yeah, like a stack of hundred dollar bills."
"I've got exactly one hundred and one dollars. You?"
"I don't own a wallet."
"f**k, OK just bury the one dollar bill under the hundred, no one will notice. We're also gonna need some drugs."
"Hmm, I've got some multivitamins. That should work."
"I've only got these opioids."
"Will that work?"
"Larry, what are you doing with opioids?"
"I use 'em."
"It's not what you think. I use them recreationally."
"OK, we should talk about this after the shoot."
"And sugar! We should use a sugar packet!"
"Seriously, Larry. After this, we're talking."
"Ooooh, it looks just like cocaine! This is exciting!"
"Aggressive Drug Crime Defense Attorneys Doing Whatever It Takes To Defend You."
Judging by the picture directly following the slogan, sometimes doing whatever it takes means blowing three lines of coke off a mirror. Also, it's a shame future clients aren't expected to read much more on the page because there are other helpful gems hidden all over. "If [law enforcement] made any legal errors we will exploit them for your benefit." It's that kind of dedication and attention to detail from the Terani Law Firm that makes me want to start up some sort of habit.
It's hard to argue with the logic of dropping "Innocence" in the name of your law firm, but that seems to be the crowning moment of reason. The homepage has the look and feel of a science fiction website. It's hard to say why they chose a background of deep red sinews surrounded by darkness but it feels a little like being inside a human body, and maybe that's the point; the Innocence Legal Team understands you so completely it's like they can see deep inside you, and there, written across your heart is "Rape"... but also Innocence. Innocent Rape. Why can't the rest of the world see that distinction?
The image of a furious woman pointing out her alleged attacker, me.
I do not like this woman. Her eyes betray some ulterior motive to which I am not privy. Also, I have never--and I realize this is something a lot of sex offenders probably say--seen her before in my life. Most importantly, she is not the type of woman I would sleep with. In fact, I would wager that she is not the type of woman anyone would sleep with, and I think the Innocence Legal Team knows that.
Trial Attorney Richard Allaye Chan doesn't rely on pictures to hawk his services, much to my disappointment. Instead, he opted for a single stock photo of some pillars which are decidedly less engaging than a shot of a malicious and accusing child.
See? See how much better that is, Dick?
To be fair, he has a bigger job to do than advertise his firm: He has to explain to his clients what their conviction means. Statutory is a big word, and Richard Allaye Chan burns 223 words defining it. In fact, his homepage reads more like a Wikipedia post than a proposition for representation.
"The situation may be a mere case of mistaken identity or the conniving scheme of an underage person to destroy your reputation."
It's a trap!
Statutory rape accusations are the result of one of these two things--they are literally the only options presented on the site. It's startling that anyone ends up in prison for statutory rape in the first place. Lady Justice is indeed blind if she would trust one of these stereotypically "conniving" little beasts enough to convict, or possibly just jealous that the young girls are getting all my attention.
Pawuk & Pawuk, P.A., have chosen one of the most questionable photographs possible for a website aimed at people accused of domestic abuse. Assuming the image is supposed to be related to the theme of the site, the message seems to be that sometimes women need to shut their goddamn mouths. It's unclear whether it is her husband's hand over her mouth or the lawyer's hand but the point is, she was talking and someone remedied that situation. The only alternative is that she committed the domestic violence with her extraordinary man hands and is shocked at her own actions, in which case I applaud Pawuk & Pawuk on their willingness to recognize that abuse isn't a one-way gender street.
"Domestic violence seems to be the arrest of choice for law enforcement these days."
I am a sucker for unsubstantiated declarations. I certainly hope this is true. I like to imagine police officers scrambling to be the first to answer a domestic disturbance call because it's their favorite type of arrest. It would explain the somber eyes all police officers share during traffic stops; there is little chance of a domestic violence arrest without a domicile.
Of all the websites I have chanced upon, this is by far my favorite. A little research reveals that Pawuk & Pawuk are not father and son, or even brothers. They are husband and wife. A husband and wife law team defending domestic abusers. I can't think of anything more perfect and I want to know them, desperately. I want to know if they discuss strategy during sex. I want to know if they discuss sex during those whispering moments between lawyers. I want to know if he has scars and she has man hands. So far, they have not returned any of my calls.
Being at the top of your game can really drag you down.
Sometimes our big, dumb brains are just flat-out wrong.
Every critic is wrong from time to time.
Your favorite isn't necessarily your best -- sometimes it's your worst.