A Case for Online Lawyer Ratings

Gary Appelblatt was a Sacramento divorce lawyer, who is also a registered pharmacist and a certified flight instructor.

Add one more qualification to his resume: convicted (and presumably soon disbarred) felon. http://www.kcra.com/news/20433895/detail.html Apparently, Appelblatt would tell divorce clients he needed to touch them during their consultations. He pled no contest to four counts of sexual battery and one count of attempting to commit sexual battery.

A peek at the bio on his website makes him look like a friendly guy, if not a good speller. http://www.appelblatt.com/Attorney_Profiles/Gary_M__Appelblatt/gary_m__appelblatt.html However, a little tooling around on the old Google machine yields the site lawyerratingz.com. http://lawyerratingz.com/ShowRatings.jsp?tid=5268 

As early as April 2008, a user evaluated Appelblatt, saying “Funny how the comments containing the links to the Sheriffs Department’s press release regarding the arrest of this attorney for sexual assault are all getting deleted. This man is a criminal. Google his name and you will see what comes up.” (One previous evaluation of Appelblatt was positive.)

Another, in September 2008, said “… Gary did nothing more than b.s. about his personal life and fantasies he created in his head. I was billed for over $15,000 worth of useless court appearances just to lose time with my baby to his drug addicted father who never bothered to even show up for half of his visits. That was ON TOP of being groped and massaged numerous times in his office and elsewhere.”

Lawyer evaluations are tricky things. Lawdragon knows as we were the first company to begin publishing online evaluations, in 2005.

But you begin to see the need for forums where consumers can share their experiences about lawyers when you look at established sites like findlaw.com http://pview.findlaw.com/view/2914086_1#tabAnchor,  Martindale/Lawyers.com, http://www.lawyers.com/California/Sacramento/Gary-M.-Appelblatt-199274-a.html or even the more helpful Avvo.com, which awarded him a ‘very good’ 7.5 http://www.avvo.com/attorneys/95864-ca-gary-appelblatt-50367.html

For the record, Appelblatt was in Lawdragon’s database until we read of his convictions, at which point we deleted his entry. There were no evaluations of him in our database, but we encourage everyone to use the Internet to share their knowledge of lawyers, good and bad.

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