I've only been at this for a few months now, which makes me something of the new guy on the block in this blawging business. But I've been a lawyer for a whole lot longer, and a sentient being for longer still. Some ethical points are self-evident (you know, the ones that you learned in kindergarten).
Here's one: Don't steal. Here's another: Don't lie. Here's a third: Don't pick on guys who are bigger and tougher than you are.
One of the things I've learned in these few months blawging is that there's a community here, at least among the serious criminal defense lawyers. (Actually, serious criminal defense lawyers have always been a community.) I've never met these guys, but I've found a number around that country that I'd recommend in a minute to someone who needed help in their communities. They demonstrate their seriousness and their commitment and their passion and their work ethic and their sense of decency and their willingness to help others every day on their blawgs. I'm reasonably confident that they'd get my back if I needed them to.
Then there are the bottom feeders. There is, for instance, Melina Benninghoff of Fresno, California who claims that her practice is "100% Criminal Defense" and that she also does family law and personal injury (so that her claim of being "100% Criminal Defense" is a lie). She steals content from serious blawgers like Mark Bennett for her own blog. Then threatens them when they point it out (though she does the threatening through a purported intermediary whose grasp of English is nearly as bad as her sense of ethics). The intermediary (or perhaps Melina herself) is also engaged in something of a cross between identity theft and stalking, apparently in revenge for Bennett's objecting to having his posts stolen.
There are any number of reasons, some of them good, why people don't trust lawyers. And when we're out here on the web, when we lay ourselves out, reveal our beliefs and attitudes, our passions, our concerns, we open ourselves up.
And then the Melina Benninghoffs come along. She's an ethics complaint in waiting, a disbarment to come. She's a liar and a thief. Even if she's a great litigator (and it's hard to imagine that she is), you shouldn't hire her. You don't want her in your corner.
But if she has an enemies list, it'd probably be an honor to be on it.