Monday, October 4, 2010

The Craigslist Con Artists

I love Craigslist. It is one of the most amazing, insightful and useful websites around. I have found jobs, apartments, used cars, half empty bottles of cologne and even used furniture.

Craigslist is a great website for online classified and is a very good, scam free, and honest company.

However, many con artists abuse the "Jobs postings" section of Craigslist.

On Craigslist they even have a "prohibit" flag button that you can check when you find bogus employers, people using unethical practices in hiring, and the infamous con artists.

We all know who the con artists are on the job classifieds.

They are the ones who post "Now hiring! We need someone immediately. We offer $$$$$! Apply today!" and the salary for these positions are  always "TBD" or "competitive!"

Well one of these scammers fooled me. He had posted an advertisement on Craigslist looking for a Paralegal to work for his company and I sent my resume. He contacted me back and was thrilled that someone who knew accounting, finance and had a Paralegal degree could work for his company. We offer top dollar and we need you NOW!

I was so excited. I was finally going to get a job ...and so I went for the interview....this past friday..

I met the "CEO" in his office, a small unit with not much furniture or professional vibe in his office. He told me he loved my resume, credentials and wanted me to work with him to go ahead and draft pleadings, discovery, legal documents and contracts for his clients.

I said "Great! So I will be working under you, right? You are the supervising attorney who will be guiding me as a Paralegal?"  He was quiet.

He then said I would make big money, close to over $70,000 my first year working for him. I then asked him again "Well, I will be working under you? or another Attorney? Who is the attorney that will be supervising me?"

He said " Listen , there is no attorney here, but you are a paralegal..and I know you know how to draft these documents, and I am willing to hire you and pay you big bucks to do this job. Every once in a while you may have to meet with clients who are on the verge of losing their homes and giving them legal advice...its not a lot of work, but you can do it!"

After he said that, I politely asked "Where is the bathroom, and is there a key?" He said "No, there is no key...just down the hall and to the right.."

After he said that I picked up my resume folder and put my keys inside my suit pocket, I opened the office front door and I GOT THE HELL OUT OF THERE! I ran faster than Jackie Joyner Kersee at the 1988 Olympic Games...

HAS THIS FUCKING CON ARTIST EVER HEARD OF THE UNAUTHORIZED PRACTICE OF LAW? WORKING AS A PARALEGAL WITHOUT AN ATTORNEY? GIVING LEGAL ADVICE TO PEOPLE WITHOUT BEING A MEMBER OF THE CALIFORNIA STATE BAR??!

I later got an e mail from this guy asking me what happend...and I politely told him "Buddy, I was born on a  Thursday, but I wasn't born yesterday. Have you ever heard of the unauthorized practice of law? Giving legal advice to people without a being an Attorney who is a member of the state Bar of California?"

And then he hung up...

This was a very valuable lesson for me and for all of you other Paralegals in Training.

Be very very Careful of an employer who wants you to work without the supervision of an Attorney or who wants you to give legal advice.

And if you ever see those employers posting on the classified ads...

Never forget to flag them...

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