Do Not Hire - With 12,000 records in all fifty states - we can't list them all. Just a few "notables." Please also see the Ron Lais page.
Feel free to form your own opinion. This is ours, from 15 years of accumulating information. Beginning in the top, the northwest section of the country - want an firm that's non-responsive, gives conflicting advice, and won't discuss a refund? Look no further than Connolly, Tacon and Meserve, a firm who does not respond to calls or emails. Sadly, one of the firms "top" attorneys, was also on the Board of the Thurston, County Bar Association.
(Feel free to send us your selections from any state. We usually profile California below, because it's easy. But we can make a new page or any state.) And North Dakota deserves a mention for Jesse Matson. Yikes!
Attorneys and Therapists
We'll begin with forced religion from New Mexico therapist, Mary Pepper.
RawStory's story lacked key information. Didn't Identify the judge. Will ask and post.
Other "reporters" not covering the courts appropriately by refusing to identify these elected judges are many. See Archives.
Arkansas: We noticed Arkansas attorney Shane Ethridge is a bit of a hypocrite. Although our name is all over this site, Ethridge called us out on Twitter as "anonymous moron" "punk" etc. However, in true, hypocritical style, Shane Ethridge writes about his wife on Google +, (where a client review isn't friendly.) We also noticed Shane Ethridge sole reference to his wife was due to her "beauty." Nothing more. Such is Ethridge's mind set towards women. Also, as this is a site to help litigants, we are quick to add it was Ethridge's problem with reading comprehension, and quick-to-anger, personality, that will cost clients more in legal fees. Pass.
Recent: Mary Nolan, the East Bay family law attorney doing business with crooked cops in Concord's Dirty DUI program, is still licensed! What's up with that, State Bar? (Update: Mary went to prison.)
Lets continue with Texas. And this suit against Goransan Bain. Consider the top guy, Goransan....and his female smack-talking partner, Beth Maultsby. Goransan Bain is why in part, we agreed Texas should have, their own page.
Returning to California....
Sandra Acevedo: We're not sure if Sandra still weighs 300 pounds, or if she's as toxic as ever; but judging from our emails, the description, "She's a real piece of work" still seems to ring true.
Richard Candor: Candor received his bar card after pleading "No Contest" to molesting all five of his daughters. Then asked the Court of Appeal to de-publish the decision, stating it would harm his suriving daughters...adult, but still under his control. The Court agreed, save one daughter who had died. So the Court took the opportunity to mention specifics. Then the court wimped out and depublished it. Welcome to San Diego. This is how the Court rolls.
Smooth exterior, but incorporates cheesy tactics. Wouldn't cry if he
was disbarred. Offers to prepare orders for those in pro-per and then
leaves out critical facts. Pitch hits for his across the hall buddy,
Godfrey Tencer, when Tencer is disciplined. Scummy.
Clay Greene: No. As in, God no.
Godfrey Tencer: Already disciplined for hitting on a client, he's reported as funny but mean spirited if you don't go along with him. Also, either lazy, or abandons clients.
California Board of Psychology finds therapist and Special Master Randy Rand dishonest....but still refuses to protect the public.
Meanwhile the targeted parent had to hire another lawyer to protect her
rights while Rand went after her property in another state for his "fees" in civil court. As such Randy
Rand soars to the top of the "Do Not Hire" list.
Next, Keith Kanner. Complaint filed by California State Attorney General's office. When caught sexting Mom of patient therapist Keith Kanner blamed her. Seriously.
UT finally published facts on Carlsbad, about-to-be disbarred attorney, Patricia Gregory. More on Gregory, who continues in her attempts to lure potential clients, below, but her first hearing is November 18, in Vista. It's worth noting there are other ways to end the attorney client relationship...and what an attorney presently can and can't do.
Orange County: Jeff Lalloway. Pass. Our experience is Lalloway is prone to drama and jumping to conclusions; two things that generally translates to increased fees. Also, kinda full of himself.
LA County: Ann Convertino. Convertino's bias was so extreme her evaluations were ordered removed from the record.
Redlands: Typically, we see this: Brian J. Holohan is good when he gets to court, but repeatedly has a huge problem returning phone calls. Although, according to one unhappy client though, Holohan never fails to bill on time. See other examples.
Yowza! If the guys at Ivie, McNeill & Wyatt practice family law like they do Personal injury, Run!
That said, at the very tip top of our "Do Not Hire" list highlights Nabil Samaan
who remarked after his brother killed his own daughter,
"I think he did the right thing. I’m proud of my brother and now he’s in a better place. He’s at peace. His daughter’s at peace. She’ll have one name now, and we can move on. And hopefully the court will learn a little thing about justice."
We can't imagine how uncomfortable that must make Nabil's kids feel. We also feel like his brand of women and children as disposable is also a reflection of the courts.
We would avoid any of the attorneys associated with Brutal Divorce Tactics; half of whom have had run-ins with the State Bar. We recommend opposing counsel play their marketing video for the court.
Richard Candor: Candor received his bar card after pleading "No Contest" to molesting all five of his daughters; thus providing a stellar example how well the State Bar conducts background checks. But wait - it gets better. Candor asked the 4th District Court of Appeal to depublish the decision which outed his conduct. And they did. Welcome to San Diego. Just another day in paradise.
Terence Chucas: Referencing the California State Auditors report judges appoint unqualified attorneys and psychologists to represent children, Chucas fits that mold perfectly. At last count Chucas had damaged over thirteen families by his incompetence. So our official position is "Chuck Chucas."
Theresa Erickson: Not to worry...Update: she was in jail, but now is out.
Don't worry about hiring Erickso and her black-market baby selling scam anymore. She had hired a major PR firm for getting her name out, but apparently, a complete lack of scruples wasn't in the coverage. Erickson also owned Conceptual Adoptons, and employed three psychologists, or psychological assistants, to help. They were: Katherine Ellis-Hernandez, Saira Jhutty, and Imanie Wijayaratne. Although presumably, they did not help patients cope with the answer to the question, "Are we getting ripped off?
Update: July, 2012. We've become especially concerned with both Katherine Ellis-Hernandez and Imanie Wijayaratne, who took issue with our "Are we getting ripped off" characterization. Wijayaratne wrote a difference of employment dates and although admitting working for the firm. Imanie Wijayaratne also claims to have known nothing about "the claims you allege took place" which frankly is problematic given Erickson was found guilty and incarcerated. Why would Imanie Wijayaratne use the term "allege" except, she included threats to litigate if we didn't remove her name. The return address was a P.O. Box. It strikes us Imanie Wijayartne may be far more concerned with her image, than those she accepts payment to "help." Separately, we wonder about anyone's credibility if they write "allege" post-conviction. Ellis-Hernandez also appeared to be focusing on one question, and had her attorney write us threatening letters.
Jeffrey Fritz: Next to Ron Lais, Jeffrey Fritz is hands-down King of "Dissatisfied Clients." As many complaints as we received about Lais - more complained about Jeffrey Fritz. Perhaps because Fritz has a habit of suing former clients. Basie and Fritz, has a lame website, and clients routinely complain about billing practices issues. Chief among them being hard-core bill collection efforts and abandonment seconds after cash flow becomes a problem. Fritz also goes after his client's homes. Personnel also seems to be an issue. Our feeling is anyone who hires the guy, probably deserves him.
Lori Lynn Watkins: Not a Paralegal, formerly with Basie & Fritz, but a mentally ill woman who trolls us online. Also, Fritz. Who got a restraining order against her. Currently affiliated with C&M Manufacturing and "President" of Mikhail Enterprises. Admits to being "a screw up."
Lori Lynn Watkins of Mikhail Enterprises, and C&M Manufacturing at one time claimed President Obama was her attorney. Forewarned.
Patricia Gregory: Update: She's out of jail, sentenced the same day as Erickson...and actually, she got more time. Details, here. Patricia Gregory's website, (which she refused for months to remove) claims she teaches graduate courses in Business Law and Ethics. However on March 16, 2011, the State Bar's recommendation as found in this Opinion, was disbarment. More interesting was DA Bonnie Dumanis' refusal as of May, to prosecute; including by Jeff Dort, who has prosecuted personal Injury attorneys for exactly the same reason. We recommend beginning with California Penal Code 506. We have learned DA Sherry Thomas might file. Update: Seeing's believing, but still there's something is fishy. Victims went to court in part because Gregory's website remained up as she trolled for fresh clients. Details here. Don't miss the video exclusive at the bottom of the page.
We would be astonished if the any plea arrangement included prison time. Astonished.
Ron Lais: Ron, "Yea, I'm finally out of prison" Lais. More information on Lais can be found at LaisLaw.org; however now Ron Lais is now passing himself off as a "retired attorney - and international law professor. (School not named.) Seriously. He's also on Twitter to better take full con advantage of faster con opportunities.
David Kay: Well, he doesn't have to register as a sex offender....but....
Peter J. Muller: Has had dealings with Ron Lais, but separate from that a quick check of courthouse records reveals he's got problems. Lots of problems. Is married to a Family Court judge.
Steven Liss: The often arrested but never prosecuted Steven Liss is living the life of a grifter. Except he doesn't have to move because of a lack of prosecution. Liss was first arrested on a charge to kill his wife, and then the case was dropped. Now Liss is working in the real estate field and collecting rent deposits on buildings and apartments he doesn't own. Will there be a time DA Bonnie Dumanis will choose to prosecute? Doesn't seem so. At least he was disbarred. Update: Maybe this time.
DeAnn Salcido, removed from the bench agreeing never to run for office again, because DeAnn Salcido wanted to
be a TV judge more than an actual judge.. Salcido now offers not, "HonorableLegalServices.com" Did we mention Salcido and her once upon a time husband were both sued for fraud? Salcido now tries to promote herself as a "Domestic Violence" advocate. Don't believe it. While on the bench, she crucified child crime victims...although later, the police and criminal court system caught them. Salcido insured the attacks would continue.
Daniel Shinoff: Update Shinoff November, 2014: Why would anyone hire Shinoff is beyond us. But schools do. So far it's cost them 12 million.
Please note Dan Shinoff is not a family law attorney. However, we listed Shinoff and his firm as he litigates against children on behalf of schools, for the firm Stuz, Artiano, Shinoff & Holtz. Shinoff's questionable tactics serve to harm children while saving schools money. Money which the laws often says must be spent on children. Special needs children. As Shinoff is just plain dangerous....it was nice to see him beaten by pro-per Mom.
Jan Stocks: "A real piece of work." Stocks vouches for the fake therapist, Susan Griffin. May still sit on her board. Jan Stocks doesn't stop at incompetent. Like Daniel Shinoff, Jan Stocks is also, just plain dangerous around children.
Stephen Ure: As unprofessional as we've seen in family court. Redefines "drama."
Alex Verduci: Reminds us of the late, not-so-great Basie, of Basie and Fritz.
Actually, we recommend not hiring anyone practicing family law in Oneida County as doing so could get you killed after your first court appearance.
Michael Borg: After his law school classmate Sam Friedlander murdered his kids and wife, Borg gave an interview blaming the murder victim. Nice going Borg. We wonder if your legal reasoning is just as suspect.
California - the conflict-of-interest we found with the below includes owning property where therapists for opposing counsel rent office space; which was not disclosed to the court or opposing counsel by either side.
Breffini Barrett - check the number of times he's sued people, or has been sued. Or, this page.
Dr. James Bonczek appeals his conviction for in possession of child porn.
Lynne Kulakowski: In Civil litigation Kulakowski would be termed "a defense whore."
Saratoga - it's a twofer! (No degrees, just contracts (until arrested.)
This is just a few in California - for 2011 we've archived many and are looking for additions from other states.
Judges - (Private judging)
A quick word about private judging. They are used for privacy and their glossy resumes shine with awards - a reflection of cronyism more than capability - These hype sites do not reflect the number of rulings overturned while on the bench or rebukes by any state agency charged with oversight.
Thomas Ashworth - Save your money.
Craig Kamansky - Kamansky's glowing resume won't mention he was sued by one of the boys he took out of Juvenile Court to "console" - or that he erased a video tape he made of the boy, who later committed suicide. He'd agreed to turn the tape over to the Commission On Judicial Performance. Our thought is the public should know.
William Howatt - Howatt's resume is also glossy. Interestingly, Howatt is listed as a "neutral" although the history of his rulings, (and record of court of appeal over-turning them) suggest the man is a misogynist. Your money is better spent elsewhere.