Lying Piece of $%^&. With Screenshot as Evidence

I learned about Joseph Rakofsky from Jeff Gamso. Jeff learned of him from Jamison Koehler. Scott Greenfield put it all together.

I don’t like to contribute to internet redundancy, but I can’t help it here. This guy is a total piece of work. Let me bring you up to speed via info from Jeff Gamso’s blog. First, he quotes the Washington Post (please, do yourself a favor and read this Washington Post article).

Rakofsky’s Web page on lawsearch.net says he specializes in criminal law, DUIs, traffic law, malpractice law and negligence. He lists his firm’s address as 14 Wall St. in Manhattan, but the New York state attorney registration offices have no record of Rakofsky being licensed in New York. Rakofsky, who received his law degree from Touro College in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 2009, has been licensed in New Jersey since April 29, 2010.

Notice the date he became licensed. Remember, that’s less than a year ago.

Jeff continues by looking at Rakofsky’s entry on some law marketing website.

Mr. Rakofsky has worked on cases involving Murder, Embezzlement, Tax Evasion, Civil RICO, Securities Fraud, Bank Fraud, Insurance Fraud, Wire Fraud, Conspiracy, Money Laundering, Drug Trafficking, Grand Larceny, Identity Theft, Counterfeit Credit Card Enterprise and Aggravated Harassment. Following graduation from law school, he worked for one of the biggest civil litigation firms on the east coast and has worked for boutique white-collar criminal defense firms in Manhattan. During law school, Mr. Rakofsky interned at the Legal Aid Society (in Suffolk County). Prior to studying law, Mr. Rakofsky studied Economics and interviewed at a well-respected investment bank with branches all over the world.  Prior to law school, Mr. Rakofsky earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology, concentrating his attention on DNA.

Note: Several folks have pointed out the humor in the passage “…interviewed at a well-respected investment bank…” Here’s a screen capture of his website, which lists a Washington, DC address.

Inserted here for archive and informational purposes only.

Wow, it seems that he has quite the rich resume after less than a year of practice. So, what is stuck in my craw about this guy? More from the Washington Post:

A D.C. Superior Court judge declared a mistrial Friday in a 2008 murder case and allowed the defendant to fire his New York-based attorney, who exhibited what the judge said were numerous signs that he lacked knowledge of proper trial procedure, including telling the jury during his opening statements that he had never tried a case before.
Judge William Jackson told attorney Joseph Rakofsky during a hearing Friday that he was “astonished” at his performance and at his “not having a good grasp of legal procedures” before dismissing him.

See there? The mistrial was because of Rakofsky’s blatant ineptitude. The judge found, sua sponte, that Rakofsky was ineffective in the trial courtroom despite his amazing resume’. Wow, pretty bad. But, that’s not all. More from the Post about the judge’s reaction:

What angered Jackson even more was a filing he received early Friday from an investigator hired by Rakofsky in which the attorney told the investigator via an attached e-mail to “trick” a government witness into testifying in court that she did not see his client at the murder scene.
According to the filing, Rakofsky had fired the investigator and refused to pay him after the investigator refused to carry out his orders with the witness. The filing included an e-mail that the investigator said was from Rakofsky, saying: “Thank you for your help. Please trick the old lady to say that she did not see the shooting or provide information to the lawyers about the shooting.” The e-mail came from Rakofsky’s e-mail account, which is registered to Rakofsky Law Firm in Freehold, N.J.

Wow. Well, no lawyer can be proud of this result, right? After all, you’re called incompetent, and the case is a mistrial as a result (meaning that the client has to spend a year or so in pretrial confinement waiting on the retrial). Plus, you are shown to be attempting to fabricate evidence. Clearly, you’re not proud of this, right?

Ah contraire. I could tell you about it, but, instead, I’ll show you.

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I don’t know what makes me more sick, the wall post itself or all the hands patting him on the back.

“It’s all for you, Damien.”

Please feel free to share the screenshot and story with everyone you know.

UPDATE: There’s a video. It’s on Facebook, but I didn’t have to log-in to access it. Here’s a screen capture.

Inserted here for archive and informational purposes only.

UPDATE 2: An official website with much more information for your bathroom reading pleasure, including the intrepid video mentioned above. H/T to Steven O’Donnell. It talks about “bricks of truth.” Bricks of truth are cool. Also, if you click around, you’ll find MORE VIDEOS.

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UPDATE 3: Any suggested captions? I was thinking “Look what the judge did to me when he found I was incompetent.” Thanks to Antonin Pribetic for pointing us toward his MySpace profile.

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38 thoughts on “Lying Piece of $%^&. With Screenshot as Evidence

    • You could combine the two, you know? You could have a brick of truth in your pants of lies.

      The closest I ever came to that was after a night of drinking and Mexican food…

    • Aaand, just over a year later, all those links (including the trialsyndicate.com one below) are dead as turds. Two blank pages, one registrar placeholder, and one that opens the Google home page.

      Joseph has made it in to Urban Dictionary, however:
      Rakofsky Effect
      … As in, “When you sue the internet for being mean to you, don’t be surprised by the Rakofsky Effect.”

  1. In fairness to the Facebook commentators, they had no clue that the mistrial was obtained by this guy’s sheer incompetence. If friends of mine from law school posted something similar, I’d probably assume it was because of something positive that they accomplished, not because the judge sua sponte ruled them ineffective.

    • I’m sure his “friends” are going to have a lot of questions for him. What makes me sick about it is that they were misled, as was, presumably, his client.

      • I completely agree. I can only hope that this guy’s career is completely over. I can’t imagine the hubris required to take a murder case as your first trial. It’s like a bad John Grisham novel (a redundancy, I suppose).

  2. From the http://www.trialsyndicate.com site linked to above:

    “We specialize in all forms of criminal law, including DWI, Controlled Substances, Firearms, Vehicle and Traffic Law, Civil Litigation, and Bankruptcy.”

    Wow, civil litigation is a form of criminal law? Who knew?

    Also, another one for the NY disciplinary authorities: can’t use “specialize in attorney advertising unless you’re certified, in which case you have to list the certifying authority (e.g., NAELA for elder law attorneys).

    • The whole specialize vs. focus vs. areas of practice makes many of us unbelievably paranoid. After all, it seems innocuous to say “I specialize in Military Law.” Of course, this is incorrect, and also impossible. There are no accrediting bodies for Military Law. Why are most of us paranoid about this? We listened during PR and CLEs.

      I can’t tell you how many times I’ve scanned my website to ensure that the word “specialize” was not used.

      Nice catch on the criminal civil litigation. I’m also looking for criminal bankruptcy. Perhaps it is an emerging field.

  3. Mark Bennett :
    Going too far? Is it really?
    Don’t people post personal shit on the internet because they want people to see it?
    Yep, you’re doing the guy a huge favor.

    I have no problem making fun of the guy’s ineptitude and dangerous and callous attitude toward his client and his subsequent obfuscation of the real reason for the mistrial, but do we really need to make fun of his facebook pictures? There’s enough fodder with the law-related stuff.

    • I’m with you Gid (while also wholeheartedly agreeing with Mark about the intent of public postings), I think PR fodder was more than enough to make my point. This isn’t a Jerry Springer blog. Perhaps a bit Maury, but not Jerry.

      Second, if you ever use the word “obfuscation” in a comment on my blog again, I’ll hunt you down.

  4. The Washington address is for the Harrington Hotel, “Washington’s Tourist Hotel”.

    He has friends:
    http://www.whitecollarfirmct.com/about_rakofsky_law_firm.html
    None of whom seem to be licensed in the state in which they are offering to practice.

    I sent some of the links to the Connecticut Attorney General’s office.

    I am impressed with the titanium castanets of the guy, he’ll go far. Kind of like seeing Chuck Schumer when he was a boy.

  5. I vaguely remember Mr, Rakovsky from law school. He had many of the same professors I did. I distinctly remember professors through my years at Touro Law emphasizing our obligations to our clients, So I dont know why he didnt hear the same message I did from our Profs. I was privilegd to learn from Harvard and Yale educated professors who could have taught anywhere but chose to teach at Touro. Our Vis Moot team has consistently placed well in international competition and many alumni serve honorably and competently in the NYS Assembly and the Judiciary, Whatever Mr. Rakovsky failings may be, they stem from hisown personal choices, not from the education he got at Touro. I certainly learned not to take a case I wasnt competent to handle,

  6. As a Touro Law grad from a few years back, I can safely say this guy does NOT properly represent the majority of attorneys that come from that school (I know you didn’t attack Touro, but still). The sheer degree of hubris this idiot has demonstrated is indicative of much deeper, much more serious problems.

    A 2009 grad, and he’s bio is a laundry list of a diverse field of high end, complex litigation? INCLUDING immigration law? Claiming admittance in multiple states when he’s only allowed to practice in NJ? Asking an investigator to “trick” a witness? Plagiarizing the NY DMV website? What… The… F*ck?

  7. I don’t know how I went from obsessively reading Casey Anthony trial commentaries to making the blog rounds in regards to this Rakofsky fella, but here I am on your blog. And I have to say, Eric, you have one killer sense of humor!

    Oh now I remember how I made the transition….CA’s attorney, Jose Baez, has been compared to Rakofsky. Which I think is a bit of a stretch.

  8. Regard this as a comment directed to individuals, and not Touro Law School or any law school. It seems like a common trend is that a few people look at the job with dollar signs in their eyes, blocking out the necessity to care too fervently about your profession. If you can skim by with the bare minimum and still say you’re a lawyer, i’m sure some people will do that. This is a job where i believe the mentality of the employee is important, like police officers and senators. Yet the filter isn’t good enough, and you’ll find bad cops, bad senators, bad lawyers, bad doctors, and all that good stuff you trust your life to.

    Say, anybody know what happened with Rakofsky vs. The Internet? He’s just not done embarrassing himself, is he?

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