Lenore Shefman:

Trying to whitewash her DWI practice, and harassing us

by Michael Bluejay | April 26, 2013

For many years I've had a page listing personal injury lawyers who specialize in helping bicyclists.  Next to one of them, Lenore Shefman, I noted, "Personally, I'm a little put off that she also defends drunk drivers."  (Her multiple websites aggressively courted drunk-driving clients, and she even secured domain names like DUIattorneysBayArea.com, AustinTXdwiDefense.com, and CentralTexasDWIlawyer.com.)

But now that she's apparently given up that area of her practice, she's trying to weasel out of her history.  A few months ago she wrote to me to complain about my listing her as defending drunk drivers and asking me to take that bit down, saying, "[O]nce upon a time ago an ex public defender was 'of counsel' with my office and represented criminal defendants of all sorts. There is no record of me in ATX representing any drunk drivers nor having any clients, thus this is a misrepresentation."  What Shefman conveniently failed to mention in her message was that:
  1. She aggressively courted drunk driving clients, whether she handled those cases personally or not.
  2. This fishing for DWI clients wasn't just done under the banner of her law firm, but under her own personal name as well, Lenore Shefman.  So it's kind of silly for her to try to pass the buck onto someone who worked in her office, since she willingly agreed to make DUI defense a focus of her firm, including marketing it under her own name, including under her own Attorney Profile.
  3. She still advertises her DUI defense services on her own websites, today.  So she's complaining about my listing her as DUI lawyer, at the same time she lists herself as a DUI lawyer.  That's some chutzpah, for sure.
I was originally put off about her courting DUI clients, but she really took it to the next level by trying to disavow it.  It might have been another matter had she approached me and said, "We used to do DUI defense, but I was never really comfortable with it, and so I'm not doing that any more."  But she didn't say anything remotely like that; instead she tried to deny her culpability about her decision to aggressively court DUI offenders.

Anwyay, she somehow imagined that I would just completely remove the bit on my site to her DUI practice, as though she'd never had one, which is just silly.  If I updated the page, I would haved simply tweaked it from "I'm put off that she defends drunk drivers" to the almost identical "I'm put off about her history of courting drunk-driving clients."  The difference is negligible, from the perspective of what I'm actually put off about.  But with literally thousands of messages in my In Box, coddling a lawyer trying to disavow her history wasn't a big priority for me (especially since Shefman's own sites continue to identify her DUI practice), so making the minor edit to my site wasn't very high on my To-Do list.

Well, it turns out that Shefman is actually a big donor to a certain local bicycle advocacy group, so when I didn't reply to her request that I excise the bit on my site about her defending drunks, she wrote to the head that group, to see if he'd put some pressure on me to remove the reference.  She apparently tried to pull the wool over his eyes with misleading wording, referring to "... the improper info about me defending drunk drivers. It is not true and he [Bluejay] should really take it down." 

So I replied to him with a laundry list of examples of how Shefman both aggressively marketed herself as a DUI lawyer (or at least allowed her partner to use her name for such), and how third parties listed her as a DUI lawyer, including:

Her own websites advertising her DUI defense
I don't know which is sadder:  Shefman's attempt to whitewash her history, or her belief that I would buy into her bullshit arguments about why I should help her do so.  In any event, the summary couldn't be clearer:
  1. If Lenore Shefman didn't actually handle DUI cases (and I don't know that she didn't), it was certainly from no lack of trying, with her multiple websites advertising her DUI business, with her own personal name (not just her firm's name) attached.
  2. I will not be bullied by sleazy lawyers into censoring factual information about them.

Update, May 8, 2013

Based on a forum post I made about this issue, Shefman sent me the following predictably ridiculous message:

As we discussed and as you are aware my office has not represented criminal cases of any kind in years. Therefore you are well informed what you are publishing is untrue. The very definition of libel is purposefully publishing untrue statements a fact easily proven through the court registers and even your own screen shots are of cached websites that we have dates they were live and dates they were replaced.

Clearly from your own emails and your postings your point is to damage my reputation as a personal injury attorney representing victims and their families of DWI/DUI and to publicly question my veracity because of some things you have found in the Internet that clearly I have no control over.

This seems to be a personal attack you have mounted to do nothing more than harm my reputation as a bike crash personal injury attorney. I clearly appreciate the work defense attorneys do to represent those accused, that is simply not what I do not has anyone in my employ since 2006-7 when Mr. Burnham left my practice.

This was forwarded to me and I find I am having to engage publicly in your personal attacks. Therefore there is starting to be an affect [sic] and you are personally attacking my integrity which I take grave umbrage at such attacks.

I am asking in one last effort to meet and confer on this topic that you remove content that you know to be false and cannot support.

Before this article, Shefman's initial response was to try to claim that her current websites were actually cached copies, and to threaten to sue me.  Then when I posted my article, her response was...to try to claim that her current websites were actually cached copies, and to threaten to sue me.  Brilliant.

I didn't reply to her.  And again, to point out the obvious:
  1. I never published anything untrue.  Shefman aggressively courted drunk driving clients, and I reported that fact.  End of story.
  2. The pages I identified as current were not cached copies. In fact, some of them are still up, even as I type this.  And even if they were cached, that's irrelevant to the fact that Shefman aggressively courted DUI clients.
  3. "...because of some things you have found in the Internet that clearly I have no control over."  She doesn't have any control over her own websites?!  Hello?
  4. Shefman is again suggesting she will sue me by laying out the definition of libel.  When your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

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