The Indelible Stamp of his Lowly Origins!
Avvo Watch is well aware that some observers will ask why it is necessary to mention Mark Britton by name and to comment on his character and honesty ~ or the lack thereof. It is a simple, direct question and deserves a simple, direct answer.
Mark Britton, the founder of Avvo.com, has made an important choice. By his own free will and volition, he has put himself prominently on the front line with his portrait, his name, his commentary, and his participation in "Avvocating" seminars. He is a lawyer who is marketing himself aggressivley, openly and publicly. He has made himself a leading spokesperson for Avvo.com, and he is enthusiastic about standing at the podium and peddling his Avvo.com business plan. Mark Britton is the self-avowed chief architect of Avvo.com's business plan. Mark Britton and Avvo.com are a tautology.
Because he is trained as a lawyer and because he has taken an oath, Mr. Britton must not only comply with but also must serve as a guardian of the legal principles of fiduciary duty and nondelegable duty. Mark Britton ~ the lawyer ~ does not have the businessman's luxury of exonerating himself by relying upon exculpatory "definitions" or "footnotes." Mark Britton is not a common garden variety businessman in a plain vanilla wrapper; Mark Britton altered his life when he entered the legal profession. In the business world, management types can sometimes define or redefine the Truth with their ex cathedra statements. In the business world, management types can sometimes make their staff tremble in their boots with their baritone voices and pronouncements, but the legal profession makes greater demands upon its members ~ including Mark Britton. We hold Mark Britton ~ the lawyer ~ to a higher standard.
An equally valid reason for calling Mark Britton personally on the carpet is the fact that Mr. Britton and his Team Avvo are a rowdy bunch with sharp elbows ~ specifically, Mark Britton is guilty of mining data from the Washington D.C. Bar Association web site without permission and contrary to the explicit policy and prohibition of the Washington D.C. Bar Association . It is doubtful that any bar association will ever press an ethics grievance against Mark Britton for the obvious reason that Avvo could spend a king's ransom defending him and bankrupt the bar association. While we mortals must comply with the Rules of Professional Conduct, Mark Britton and his bullies are given a pass.
We should also recall that the Declaration of Independence mentioned George III by name in addition to castigating the English government. The Declaration of Independence was more than propaganda ~ it represented the conviction of its 99 signers that George III was the head of a genuinely corrupt society based on a monarchy infected with aristocratic privilege and courtly intrigue. So too, Avvo.com is an enterprise in which instant gratification and mediocrity are the prevailing standards with Mark Britton at the helm.
Mark Britton is the not the first, and he won't be the last person to equate himself with his grand scheme. Any scholar who chastises or comforts WikiLeaks would be well justified in focusing on Julian Assange, for example. He, too, has made himself a tautology with his grand scheme. History is replete with examples of propaganda ministers who made themselves a tautology with their grand schemes, although neither Avvo.com nor Mark Britton are accused of genocide or racism. Mark Britton is personally accountable for Avvo.com because he is the King of Lawyer Bashing and is stretching the Truth beyond the breaking point with his marketing strategy of file to fit, pound to shape and paint to match.
For Mark Britton and for his Team Avvo, the Truth is a set of movable blocks that Mark Britton can shift around ~ forwards, backwards, and sideways ~ to create whatever counterfeit reality pleases them on the Avvo.com web site. For Mark Britton and his Team Avvo, the Rules of Professional Conduct accomodate and track their every whim and caprice.
No matter how much money Avvo.com makes for its owners, it will always bear the indelible stamp of its lowly origins ~ Avvo.com is a business scheme that rewards cruelty and degrades nobility. The Avvo.com business scheme threatens to transform the legal profession into a caste system. If you trace this business scheme to its source, you will discover the fevered brain of Mark Britton.
Avvo Watch is sensitive to the rich traditions of our profession and our global community. Avvo Watch speaks Truth to Power.