Beware of amateur lawyers

A Seattle TV station exposes Arnie Newman, a con man who held himself out to be a family law expert even though he wasn’t a lawyer:

He’s not a lawyer, but Arnie Newman of Federal Way claims to have, quote: “helped many parents with divorce mediation and child custody.” And although his alleged victims say he disappeared once he had their thousands of dollars — KIRO 7 Consumer Investigator Amy Clancy found him and learned, he is not the man you want to trust with what could be the most important negotiations of your life.
Not only is Newman not a lawyer, but his business isn’t even licensed in the state of Washington. And some of his clients tell Clancy, hiring him nearly cost them their families, even their freedom.
[…]
The website for P.A.P.A. — or Parents Against Parental Alienation — promises to, quote: “file the correct motions that are required in Washington State Family Court.” Hudson emailed P.A.P.A., and within 24-hours, he says Arnie Newman called him back with the following claim: “He told me he was better than an attorney. He said he could actually get things reversed.” So Hudson hired Newman, whose photo is shown on P.A.P.A.’s website. He says Newman agreed to file the necessary legal papers Hudson believed would keep him out of jail.
Hudson later learned those papers were never filed, even though he’d paid Newman $3,500 in advance.

Few things are as stressful as going through a court battle over child custody, support or division of property, and that’s why it’s important to have trained legal counsel on your side. Take advice from friends and family with a grain of salt – I’ve lost count of how many people I’ve seen who will believe their Law & Order-watching friend over a lawyer, or even a Judge, until it’s too late – and make sure your lawyer is a member in good standing of the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society.

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