An Award can be defined as:

“a prize or other mark of recognition given in honor of an achievement”

Fake can be defined as:

“a thing that is not genuine; a forgery or sham”

There is an increasing trend where attorneys are being sold “fake awards”.  Attorney’s then use these fake awards to market their business, which misleads the consumer into thinking that the award was earned based on merit.

To receive many of these “awards” typically all you need to do is pay a small fee, more if you want a fancy plaque. These awards are not based on any credentials, results or merit. I know this because I have received “Best Attorney”, “Top 10 Trial Attorney”, “Top 1 Percent Lawyer”, “CNY Top Lawyer” or, as seen below, I am considered a “Lawyer of Distinction”.

The problem is…I’m not even a lawyer! I have never requested information on these awards or applied for them.

However, all I have to do is pay $395+ to get a fancy plaque to display in my office so that potential customers can be misled to think that I am an attorney or it could be used in the office and on social media to increase my business.

Below is a list of the paid awards that I consider to be scam since they are not based merit or qualifications:


  • American Institute of Legal Counsel – SCAM
  • American Institute of DUI/DWI Attorneys – SCAM
  • American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys – SCAM
  • American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys – SCAM
  • American Institute of Family Law Attorneys – SCAM
  • National Academy of Family Law Attorneys – SCAM
  • National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys – SCAM
  • National Academy of Personal Injury Attorneys – SCAM
  • Million Dollar Advocates Forum – SCAM
  • Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum – SCAM
  • Best Attorneys of America – SCAM
  • American Academy of Attorneys – SCAM
  • American Association of Premier DUI Attorneys – SCAM
  • American Society of Legal Advocates – SCAM
  • Lawyers of Distinction – SCAM
  • National Academy of Jurisprudence (formerly American Academy of Trial Attorneys) SCAM
  • National Academy for DUI Defense – SCAM
  • National Association of Distinguished Counsel – SCAM
  • National League of Renowned Attorneys – SCAM
  • Top American Lawyers – SCAM
  • American Jurist Institute – SCAM
  • America’s Top 100 Attorneys – SCAM

So the debate for me is, if you receive an award for which you have paid for, is that really an award? Or it is just paid advertisement? I am OK with it being paid advertisement, as I do understand the potential benefits, however, there should be a disclaimer provided just as you have to provide a disclaimer on other forms of marketing, so as not to mislead people.

These awards are used as “trust signals” for the consumer, however, if they are paid vs. earned on merit…wouldn’t that be considered misleading to the consumer? And, if you are misleading the consumer isn’t that considered to be unethical? Essentially, if I had the money and didn’t have any issues with morality, I could purchase these awards and be the best fake lawyer in America, and trick the consumer into calling me, without even being a lawyer?  So if these attorneys don’t care about misleading you as to their qualifications, how much will they actually care about you and your case versus your wallet?

The truth is that most attorneys who consistently go to court, don’t bother with fake awards because the reality is they don’t need them.   Someone with integrity, would never purchase these awards and then promote the awards as being earned. As they say, good lawyers are not cheap, but lawyers who are unethical may cost you everything – so be careful when choosing.

Some attorneys are even tricking google and providing fake reviews, so if they simply say “check out our reviews“, be cautious.

Ensure that any awards on display are based on merit. Don’t believe me? The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has warned consumers about the use of such legal awards.

BBB believes many of these honors – often used by attorneys in advertising or on their websites – are no more than vanity awards, and may have little to do with a lawyer’s standing or professional ability.  In several cases, the organizations making the awards require that the honoree purchase a plaque, trophy or membership package.”

If you find yourself in a position where you need to hire a lawyer, my suggestion is to do your research on that lawyer, ask for references, referrals, but don’t be impressed by awards on display.

Three of the most important things to consider when determining who will represent you are:

  1.  Will they advocate for you and make the income received secondary?
  2.  Will they represent your best interests, not theirs?
  3.  Will they work hard for you and deliver on the work that they promise?

In closing, the take away is simple; Good attorneys or companies do not need fake awards OR to consistently remind people of these awards to gain your business. If they do, be aware that they may care more about reeling you in as a customer than helping you with your legal matters.

Disclaimer: By referring to these as “scams” I am not implying that they are doing anything illegal. I am not saying that they don’t deliver what they promise to their members. They do, and the product they deliver is a phony “award.” A phony “award” you have to pay for which comes in the form of a generic graphic, a meaningless plaque, and a misleading unverifiable claim that you are better than other lawyers. I use the word “scam” as a matter of opinion. I am simply pointing out that they are totally bogus. They use questionable marketing strategies to mislead consumers and trick them into purchasing something that has no intrinsic value.


related articles

Nave Law wins suit against City of Albany to protect Reverend’s civil rights.


As part of Nave Law Firm’s efforts to give back to the communities we practice in, our own Derek Andrews took action after reading a Times Union article about a local woman’s plight against a local government who stonewalled her efforts to obtain body camera recordings of an incident that involved her.


In 2019, uniformed members of the Albany Police Department wearing body cameras forcibly removed Reverend Cheryl Hawkins, a street-reach minister in the New York Capital District, from a public park as she preached and sang Christian hymns, for which she had received a special event permit from the City of Albany. That removal violated her constitutionally-guaranteed rights to free expression. As part of a lawsuit, her civil rights attorney requested those body camera recordings from the city through New York’s Freedom of Information Law but was rebuffed, having been told that they were protected and confidential because of Civil Rights Law Section 50-a.


Mr. Andrews helped both Ms. Hawkins and her civil rights attorney by filing an Article 78 special proceeding, a type of lawsuit, against the City of Albany and the Albany Police Department, claiming that they violated Ms. Hawkins’ right to free access to body camera recordings of that incident.


Although the city produced those recordings before the conclusion of the lawsuit, Judge David Weinstein of the Albany County Supreme Court agreed with Mr. Andrews’ arguments when he issued a decision at the end of 2020 stating that Ms. Hawkins had substantially prevailed and that the city was unreasonable in originally denying her access. That last part meant that the city Times Union Article, which resulted in a five-figure settlement. Ms. Hawkins will now continue her lawsuit against Albany for violating her civil rights.


When asked for comment by Reverand Hawkins, she responded:

“Mr. Andrews saw the Times-Union Newspaper Front Page Huge Article (February 17, 2020). He then contacted my attorney and wanted to see how he could help.  He felt that I was facing an injustice.  I was already paying another lawyer big money to represent me, and I could not afford a second law firm.  Derek then spoke with the leadership team with Nave Law Firm, and the team decided to take the case at no cost to me.  

I was so grateful that he believed in me enough to advocate for me and cared enough to help me at no cost.

The best part is that he WON THE CASE; he even won the city’s and the cop’s appeal filed in Albany County after winning the case.”


Nave Law Firm is grateful for the opportunity to have assisted Ms. Hawkins in her pursuit of justice.



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Decriminalizing Possession of Hard Drugs

Oregon seems to be leading the way in the war . . . on the war on drugs while New York falls further behind. In a more sizable margin than either Biden or Trump would secure in this election, nearly 59% of citizens in Oregon voted to decriminalize possession of small amounts of hard drugs like heroin and cocaine.

Their decision also supported greater access to treatment for those who need it, which is paid for by the tax proceeds from marijuana sales. New York took a step in the right direction when they decriminalized possession of marijuana last year, but they remain several steps behind a large swath of the country that has legalized marijuana possession outright, including our next-door neighbors. While legislators and Governor Cuomo are interested in legalization, it’s unlikely to happen in the next year or two. Here’s why the legalization of marijuana, and other drugs, is worthwhile: not only would it ameliorate years of disproportionate effects of criminal drug possession on communities of color but it would give those with addictions greater access to higher-quality treatment. It also wouldn’t hurt to make some money by taxing those “products,” which could prove to be cleaner and safer than those cut with harmful and toxic chemicals. By the way, we certainly don’t mean to imply that it should be legal to drive while impaired by a drug, whether it’s legal or illegal. Please don’t do that.

We’re only suggesting that the war on drugs was misguided and that Oregon, and other states who are following suit, are headed in the right direction. Let’s convince New York to do the same.

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New York State Driver’s License Issues

After receiving notice that your New York driver’s license has been revoked or suspended, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and uncertain about how to respond. During this difficult time, it is important to remember that you have the opportunity to fight for your driving privileges. An experienced New York driver’s license attorney can support you during this process. It also helps to arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible about suspended and revoked licenses in New York State.


Reasons People are Summoned to Hearings in New York

Various factors might lead a person to be summoned to appear before the New York Department of Motor Vehicles for a hearing, but some of the most common reasons include:


  • Alcohol-related offenses like drunk driving.
  • Involvement in a deadly accident or an accident that resulted in a serious injury.
  • Refusing to submit to a breath test.
  • The accumulation of too many points on a person’s driver’s license.
  • Traveling at high speed.
  • Medical review.
  • Failure to pay tolls.
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol when under 21.

Suppose your license has been revoked or suspended. In that case, a skilled traffic attorney can help create a plan to get back to driving as soon as possible while also helping you address fines, points,and limiting how the event will impact your motor vehicle insurance moving forward.


Restricted/Conditional Licenses in New York


Even though license suspension is a common result of many driving-related offenses in New York, drivers are still sometimes able to obtain either conditional or restricted licenses for purposes like commuting to work or school, transporting children to daycare, attending court-required classes, and traveling to medical appointments.


One of New York’s driving law’s most confusing areas is the difference between conditional and restricted licenses. The Department of Motor Vehicle issues conditional licenses to qualified drivers whose New York driver’s license was suspended or revoked due to an alcohol or drug-related violation. The Department of Motor Vehicles can also issue a restricted use license to a driver who qualifies and whose license is either suspended or revoked due to violations or incidents that are not alcohol or drug-related.


Suppose a person in New York State has had a conditional or restricted license issued within the past five years. In that case, the Department of Motor Vehicles will sometimes issue a restricted license provided the individual’s license was not revoked for alcohol use, criminal violations, or drug use.


If a person has not had a conditional or restricted license issued within the last five years, the individual might be eligible to complete an Impaired Driver Program. On successful completion of this program, an individual will receive a “Notice of Completion,” which in some cases will result in a person’s license being automatically restored or a person becomes eligible to apply for a new license. Remember, however, that a person will be dropped from the program and unable to obtain a conditional license if he or she does not attend class, does not satisfactorily participate, or does not pay program fees.


Multiple Alcohol or Drug-Related Driving Convictions

If your license is revoked and you have three or more DWI/DWAI-Drugs/DWAI convictions on your license, the DMV may be denying your ability to get relicensed. There are specific rules about your ability to get relicensed when this occurs.


If you have three or four alcohol/drug-related convictions, the DMV will likely deny your ability to get relicensed for a minimum of 5 years. If you have a serious driving offense on top of the three or four alcohol-related offenses, the DMV will deny your ability to get relicensed FOR LIFE.


If you have five or more alcohol/drug-related convictions, the DMV will deny your ability to get relicensed FOR LIFE.


If your license has been revoked because of multiple convictions, a skilled traffic attorney can help create a plan so you can get back.


Numerous Suspensions on Your License

If your license is suspended because you failed to answer traffic infractions or pay a fine, you could be charged with a misdemeanor or even a felony the next time you get pulled over.


The reason for this is because every time you fail to answer a traffic infraction or fail to pay a fine, the Court will put a SCOFF, or a suspension, on your license.


You must speak to an attorney about your license status if you fall into this category. An experienced attorney will know how to handle and take care of the suspensions on your license so that you can drive free and clear.


How a New York Driver’s License Attorney can Help

Whether you need counsel at a DMV hearing, it is your first time DWI, you failed to answer a traffic infraction, or you have multiple convictions, an experienced attorney can help you get your license back.


Contact an Experienced Driver’s License Attorney

If you are convicted of a driver’s license offense in New York, you can end up facing some serious consequences. One of the best ways to handle these charges is to retain the assistance of an experienced attorney. Contact Nave Law Firm at 855-349-NAVE (6283) today.

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