I’ve recently discovered a new member of the legal blogosphere, and I’d like to tell you a bit about how I found her. Although actually, she found me.
I like getting comments on my blog. Years ago, I used to get a lot of comments. However, my blog traffic crashed a few years back when I was dealing with my parents’ passing, and it’s never really rebounded to past heights. Consequently, I’m always excited when somebody takes the time to leave a comment.
So when someone named Allison Williams commented on my post about bioethicists…
It’s the race against time and the inevitable death that is making these doctors and sorts go way beyond ethics. While it is a good thing trying to get medicine and science is helping mankind live better or longer but scrupulous attempts and greed should be stopped.
…I didn’t understand the point she was trying to make, but I appreciated her stopping by to read what I’ve been writing. Like I said, I don’t get a lot of that lately.
She also stopped by to comment on Part 3 of my review of Radley Balko’s Warrior Cop, where she wrote,
When the very people entrusted by law to protect the people go against the law and behave like criminals, where and who should the people trust for their safety?
And then 9 minutes later she commented on Part 5 of that review by quoting me quoting Radley:
“Bad cops are the product of bad policy. And policy is ultimately made by politicians. A bad system loaded with bad incentives will unfailingly produce bad cops. The good ones will never enter the field in the first place, or they will become frustrated and leave police work, or they’ll simply turn bad. At best, they’ll have unrewarding, unfulfilling jobs.”
How true is that!
This is where I began to get a little suspicious. For one thing, parts 4 and 5 of that review are almost 6000 words, and I find it hard to believe she read them in 9 minutes. Of course, the quote she picked from Part 5 is from the epigram at the top, so she didn’t really have to read all 2800 words…
I also notice that she added “Esq.” to her signature, so everyone would know she was a lawyer, and she linked it back to her family law website. Combined with the fact that she’s commenting on a lot of my older posts, that strongly suggests that she’s some kind of spammer.
A few weeks later, Allison Williams Esq. pretty much proved it when she left comment on my rant against Sprint, which is my most popular post ever.
Wow, so much anger from so many of you. Sprint really is in trouble.
What was the point of that comment? The only people who ever comment on that post are people who join in the spirit of saying terrible things about Sprint. It’s not the sort of post that invites affirmations by other commenters.
And then fifteen minutes later she comments on my recent post about how the Navy’s new fuel synthesis program really doesn’t spell the end of big oil:
This is good news! Technology is getting better and better and I believe the Navy’s new technology will eventually develop to give us better and cheaper oil.
Unfortunately, that’s not what I was talking about. In fact, I was explaining why the Navy’s new technology does not promise a cheap oil revolution. It’s like she’s not paying attention, as is illustrated by the next comment on my post about idiotic child porn laws:
Very interesting. This is a very sensitive issue and having different laws in different places is complicating.
The somewhat perverse law I was criticizing is a Florida law, and I jokingly slam Florida in the post by implying the law is unique to Florida, but other than that, “having different laws in different places” is not really the point of the post at all.
By now I was getting pretty irritated with Allison Williams Esq. and her spammy ways, so I started writing a post that would make fun of her social media marketing. As often happens, however, I lost interest before it reached a publishable state.
Fortunately, Allison Williams Esq. is nothing if not persistent, and she left three more comments on my blog a few days a go. Two of them are on a post about Florida apparently gutting the intent element in the drug laws. The first was at 12:55 am, and Allison Williams Esq. seems to disagree with me:
It could be tiresome but if its for our own safety, then I guess no Law is bad Law.
Or maybe she’s just going through a phase, because 43 minutes later she posts this positive affirmation:
We are a nation of laws. Accountability, Integrity and Justice are principles we believe in.
A common enough sentiment, somewhat undermined however by the passive voice. But perhaps she was just having trouble concentrating that early in the morning. She did leave one more comment at 3:50 am (trouble sleeping?) where she had a bit of a fangirl moment after a comment by Mark Bennett on my rambling post about how I feel about criminal lawyers:
Mark Bennett I think I just became a fan.
Sigh. Both of those posts are observations on the legal system, and yet none of those comments shows even a little bit of legal knowledge or experience.
I searched for comments from Allison Williams Esq on Bennett’s blog, and I didn’t find any, so clearly she’s not as big a fan of his as she is of me. (Hi Allison!) However, I’m not the only blogger she likes. When Gerry W. Beyer at the Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog wrote about the Supreme Court’s approval of Michigan’s decision to eliminate affirmative action, she left this brief note:
I feel that was a good decision taken, since we cannot wish away racial inequality!
Over at Robert Ambrogi’s LawSites Blog, he was promoting his podcast discussing whether the implementation of the public defender system undermines the promise of Gideon. (My opinion: Pretty much, yeah.) Allison Williams Esq. had another fangirl moment and complimented him on his podcast series:
One of my favorite show. I never miss it.
Speaking of Gideon, Allison Williams Esq. has also visited a public defender, where she responded to Gid’s post about a lawyer who got hit with a 30-day sentence for contempt for some strenuous objections:
30 days!!! May God bless us lawyers.
Over at Library of Law and Liberty, she has this to say about Mike Rappaport’s evaluation of Justice Hugo Black:
He had a good run but then could have done much better. While it is evident that there will be differences in opinions regarding his tactical efforts, it is unavoidable when certain decisions had to made on a bigger and a broader level. You cannot please everyone but can at least try to do the right things in the right way.
That’s one of her longest comments, but does any of it sound like something a lawyer would write about a Supreme Court Justice’s service? When asked by other commenters to explain what the hell that means, she never responded.
Some of my readers will be happy to know that Allison Williams Esq. is bucking the iPad trend, as she reveals in a comment at The Droid Lawyer:
I have a Chromebook and its pretty handy for some simple stuffs. No heavy duty.
Allison Williams Esq. really gets around. When Paul Caron at TaxProf Blog posted about Admiral William H. McRaven’s commencement address at the University of Texas, she was there:
This is truly a remarkable post. It’s really inspiring.
When Jeffrey Kahn at Concurring Opinions posted about allegations that the FBI used the No Fly List as a way to pressure people into becoming informants, Allison Williams Esq. was there too:
It’s sad when people are forced to act under threat. That’s a serious violation of human rights.
When our own Eric Turkewitz got sued again, Allison Williams Esq. was there to cheer him on:
This sure is going to be interesting.
When Discourse.net went down because of server problems, Allison Williams Esq. commiserated:
She was similarly concise in response to a memorial day post by Adam Smith, Esq. that consisted in its entirety of a photo of Arlington National Cemetary:
At first I thought Allison Williams Esq. was being disrespectful, but perhaps she’s using awesome in the original sense of “inspiring an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration, or fear” instead of the common vernacular sense of “those thousands of dead soldiers are way cool!” However, she undermines that option in her visit to ExCop-LawStudent, where he was promoting a new blog he had found:
Awesome. Looks like something I should look forward to reading!
Allison Williams Esq. also drops some wisdom on the Wrongful Convictions Blog:
Jonathan Fleming’s case is a sad incident. 24 years is a long time. That’s like a lifetime.
And she has this to say about Jonathan Turley’s post about a woman suing over an attack by a duck (and you really should read that story):
Some people just need an excuse to make a fuss and earn some easy buck.
She even reaches out to the Texas Bar blog:
This is great. I love how this will help a lot of people. Volunteering work is such a noble idea.
And when Judge Kopf at Hercules and the Umpire calls out the Center for Public Integrity for stupidity, Allison Williams Esq. is there to cheer him on:
So interesting. Waiting for more to come.
It’s all a little less funny, though, when she comments on Jeff Gamso’s touching story about a woman who forgave her son’s murderer on the brink of his execution:
I think after a certain point of time, the intensity of the pain and the angst subsides. No doubt there’s still a void and love for the departed. But eventually with time, people start looking at things with a different perspective. At the end, it’s the loss of the faith departed that we grief and mourn about but they will never come back.
It sounds nice. But it has nothing to do with what Gamso wrote.
Still, perhaps Allison Williams Esq.’s most entertaining response is to a Bitter Lawyer post on 5 Obsolete Legal Technologies that Shouldn’t be Obsolete:
This is a good post. I mean who would have imagined carbon paper would go obsolete. It was such a blessing having it around in the office. And the typewriter was something god sent for a lot of us.
WTF? Allison Williams Esq. isn’t that old. Her CV says she had her first experience in the legal world as a Law Intern for Judge Bryan Hedges in 2001. I know that lawyers are notoriously slow to adopt new technologies, but I don’t believe that the real Allison Williams Esq. has ever actually seen carbon paper. And probably not very many typewriters either.
And can we talk about the language in these comments? Carbon paper was a “blessing”? “The typewriter was something god sent”? Seriously, WTF? It’s not just these phrases, though. I’ve been reading legal blogs for a long time, and I have some familiarity with how lawyers write. They’re highly educated people who earn a living with words. Even when writing informally, that background tends to show though. As far as I can tell, there’s nothing in any of these comments that indicates the person writing them thinks like a lawyer.
So here’s the thing: Allison Williams seems to be a reasonably accomplished lawyer. She’s a member of several associations, she’s received awards, published articles, and given presentations. She has a straight 10 in Avvo, and she’s appeared on the Katie Couric show. I’m not saying any of that makes her a terrific lawyer (because how would I know?), but the Allison Williams Esq. writing those comments doesn’t sound like the Allison Williams Esq. who has been a lawyer for a decade.
Here’s what the real Allison Williams sounds like:
I often sense that judges consider potential child abuse to be so egregious that almost anything on the other side is a de minimus intrusion that should not be avoided. The problem with this mindset is that it fails to recognize that the agency often overwhelms and antagonizes families, making the situation worse than it actually was. Then, interventions are implemented for the purpose of addressing family distress that was brought about by the agency’s involvement, rather than by the family’s inherent functioning. This is akin to breaking someone’s leg, applying a cast and applauding yourself for having “solved” the problem of the broken leg. But for your breaking the leg, your cast would have been unnecessary.
On the flipside, the agency often does provide necessary intervention and assistance to families. The threat of removal often does force people to make necessary improvements in their family situation that otherwise would not have been undertaken. Parents going to substance-abuse treatment, undertake counseling and commit to diligent thoughtful consumption of prescribed medication to avoid the potential removal of their children. So, in effect, the agency can and does accomplish many worthwhile interventions in many circumstances.
However, where a family resists the division’s intervention, courts tend to hold that against them and work to effectuate the divisions forced involvement, where a judge may otherwise have been able to resolve the issue without such involvement. It is not unheard of, and in fact is rather common, to have a family judge order a parent to have supervised parenting time pending completion of substance-abuse treatment. The agency is not needed in this circumstance.
Unlike all those comments, these paragraphs actually say something. They convey information and make an argument. They address issues that arise when representing a client. They sound like a lawyer. Because Allison Williams is an intelligent, educated professional.
Unfortunately, she’s hired a social marketing firm to publicize her web site, and not only have they decided to go around the blogosphere and use a bunch of other people’s blogs to promote their client, but they’ve done it in a way that makes her look kind of spacy.
(Oh, I suppose it’s possible that the real Allison Williams is actually leaving these comments. But if she is, she’s sure got a flaky side. Maybe it’s because she stays up so late. And I’m pretty sure she’s used more exclamation points in my comments than she uses on her entire professional website. And she must visit India quite regularly, because that’s where the comments are coming from.)
To paraphrase an old blawgosphere saying: Outsource your marketing, outsource the ability for other people to make you look like an ass.