In Which Some Lawyers Are Suckers at Best [Updated]

Dear _,

We are pleased to officially inform you that you have been chosen to receive this year’s prestigious TOP 10 Attorney Award for the state of Texas. Through a multi-phase selection process, the National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys (NACDA) has chosen you to receive our organization’s highest honor because of the hard work and dedication you have shown in protecting the rights of the accused.

The letter, signed by “Kelly D. Kerr, Executive Director,”1 was sent to a friend of mine by the “National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys, Inc.”, with a mailing address of 1629 K Street NW, Suite 300, Washington DC 20006 and a phone number of (202) 827-9985.

Googling that phone number turns up:

  • National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys, Inc.;
  • National Academy of Family Law Attorneys, Inc.;
  • National Academy of DUI Attorneys, Inc.;
  • National Academy of Personal Injury Attorneys, Inc.; and even
  • National Academy for Dental Professionals, Inc.

A little poking reveals that the registered agent for these five Oklahoma corporations, and for National Academy of Bankruptcy Attorneys, Inc., is either lawyer Ken D. Kerr, Jr. (DUI)2 or Shannon Rich (all the rest), both of Oklahoma City. These folks have come up with a way to extract money from pathetic lawyers desperate for validation.

The price for a Top 10 Attorney Award for the state of Texas is $350—it’s gone up since Matt Brown was chosen in Arizona last year.3 And speaking of bloggers, Murray Newman is listed by this Oklahoma corporation as one of the Top 10 Criminal Defense Attorneys in Texas! Congratulations, Murray.

You’ll notice that the National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys, Inc. website only shows ten lawyers in Texas; I wonder what they’ll do if more than ten suckers send in their checks—perhaps break the states with more than ten top ten lawyers down into areas, as “The National Trial Lawyers” of Dothan, Alabama has done, and break down the “Naitonal” “Top 100 Trial Lawyers” by state, practice type (civil? criminal?) and even part of the state (North New Jersey? South New Jersey?). If the 40% price increase over the last year is any indication, Rich and Kerr will keep raising their rates until exactly ten lawyers are willing to pay.

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I said “suckers” because paying $350 or even $250 for a fake honor (most of the lawyers on the top-10 list are smart enough to know that they’re not among the top 10 criminal-defense lawyers in Texas) is a sucker play.

It’s a sucker play unless you take advantage of it—knowing that you’re not legitimately among the top 10 criminal-defense lawyers in Texas, you pay the $250 or $350 and then advertise the fake honor. Paying $250 for the right to use the keywords “top 10,” when you know they don’t really apply? That’s something else entirely.

On his website trumpeting his selection, my friend ND ((I picked on ND, rather than Carmen, Grant, Murray, or Todd, because he was trumpeting this horseshit, but apparently he isn’t anymore.)) parrots NACDA:

The National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys uses a thorough selection process to determine the top criminal defense attorneys in each state. With thousands of attorneys in each state, the NACDA’s rigorous, independent selection process resolves the challenge of attorneys claiming to be “the best” without basis for such claims.

Look at this list, ND, and tell me that’s not a lie.

[Update: Murray didn’t pay for the honor. It’s strange that even when they include people who don’t pay, the Oklahoma corporation can only find nine lawyers to list in the top ten in Texas.]
  1. Kelly’s signature does not look practiced. I wonder whether it is fake. 

  2. Ken D. Kerr? Kelly D. Kerr? What a coincidence! 

  3. Matt’s letter was signed by Shannon Rich. 

10 Comments

  1. Mark-
    I am glad that you have exposed this scam. I hope
    All these lawyers get their money back. I also hope none of them trumpet these bogus credentials now that you have exposed them.

    Bottom line: if you have to pay for an honor, it ain’t no honor.

    Robb Fickman
    Named “Greatest Criminal Defense Lawyer in the entire Universe” by the Intergalactic Lawyers Association.

  2. I’m at 16th and M streets right now. I don’t know I will have time to go by and pick up certificates, but I am sure they are cheaper if there is no postage involved.

  3. As a former technical guy, I am amazed at how bad their web site is. It appears to have been intended for automation, but then not fully automated. For instance, the guys’ names are intended to be mailto: links but they failed to fill that in.

    A cometent guy working with a crummy little shell script would do better. I fart in their general direction.

  4. Yeah, many industries have that kind of thing, including mine: tech

    “For $X you will be listed in the directory of important tech leaders” or something to that effect. Of course the only people who might ever see it are the other suckers who ponied up.

  5. I missed this post when you wrote it, somehow.

    I got something in the mail inviting me to get a plaque or some crap like that, but I knew it was a scam. I didn’t pay anything and I didn’t even know I was on any kind of list.

    It is nice to know that the good people of Oklahoma have excellent taste, however.

  6. Talk about your comments bursting my bubble. I just received a letter from the “National Academy of Family Law Attorneys, Inc.” advising me that through a thorough vetting process, including a nomination and review by their “selection committee,” I have been chosen to receive this year’s “prestigious TOP 10 Attorney Award for the state of Delaware.” How exciting, except for the fact that I will now probably have to sit for the Delaware Bar examination. I need to weigh my options. Should I send them the $300 fee for the plaque, or should I use the $300 for the bar exam fee? Query why if their office is in Washington, D.C. is the envelope post marked Oklahoma City?

  7. Hey! Great news! I’m a recipient of NAFLA’s “Top 10 Attorney (UNDER 40)! Too bad I’m 45 years old. Maybe the mail is REALLY slow…

    1. Funny! I just got the same letter and have been wondering why I am in the category “40 under 40” when I am in fact older than that. I prefer to attribute it to my good look.

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