It’s Still Stealing – Another Copyright Violation

December 4, 2014

I am gobsmacked.

I am NOT flattered. In fact, I’m angry.

A non-paralegal is using my mission statement AND calling herself a CBA to market her virtual bankruptcy assistant business.

To quote @MianneBesser: “That’s pretty unbelievable and downright unethical.  Definitely one of those things that makes you wonder what these people are thinking.”

I know from experience that it is hard to come up with the right words to describe your business; however, it can be done WITHOUT ripping off someone else’s work. When I was developing my website, I went to a lot of other virtual service providers’ websites for ideas. I somehow managed to write unique content that reflected my personality.

Not only is she using:

Our services appeal to attorneys that are operating in a downsizing market, while trying to decrease their overhead, and increase the value of their billable dollar.

She has the chutzpah to use my mission statement on her LinkedIn profile:

Our mission is to provide results that surpass expectations through our dedication to our clients; adding maximum value to their businesses by handling complex bankruptcy matters; being professional, accessible, efficient, and technologically sophisticated; providing a green alternative to the traditional office paradigm; and providing the opportunity for our employees to pursue their religious, family, and community obligations and interests.

She, quite literally, cut and pasted that content from MY LinkedIn profile. Content that I have been using on MY website and profile since I conceived StarrParalegals in JULY 2008.

AND … she’s using the designation “CBA” without authorization.

Certified Bankruptcy Assistants (CBA) Program was developed, and is administered by, the Association of Bankruptcy Judicial Assistants (ABJA); a national organization formed by judicial assistants/secretaries to United States Bankruptcy Judges. The program is supported by the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges (NCBJ) and the American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI).

One becomes a CBA by taking a certification exam that covers the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, Legal Research, Grammar/Usage/Writing (I keep telling you this stuff is important!), and Ethics.

I took that exam in 2006 and earned the right to use CBA in my signature line. I do not take kindly to others using the designation without the appropriate authority. I paid my dues – figuratively and literally. If she wants to be a CBA, then she can take the the exam.

7 Responses to “It’s Still Stealing – Another Copyright Violation”

  1. Kathleen Mountjoy

    I am amazed at those who hold themselves out to be members of the legal profession and who violate laws to further their own selfish interests.

  2. Pamela J Starr

    Kat,
    I’m with you! Anyone working in legal should have, at the very least, a rudimentary understanding of ethics.

  3. Barbara Cooper

    Well, her experience indicates she has very little legal experience. Her education shows no paralegal certificates. I’m suspicious about the LLC in Vegas. Seems pretty desperate to me.

  4. Pamela J Starr

    Barbara,
    She doesn’t claim to be a paralegal, but rather that she completed training as a virtual bankruptcy assistant. That makes her a VBA, not a CBA. I’ve asked the ABJA to look into it and to take appropriate action. I agree, the Las Vegas LLC is suspect. As far as I can tell, LLCs must be registered in NV; I found no record of registration. I also find it to be an interesting ‘coincidence’ that her company formed 1 month after mine (in 2008), but her web presence only dates back to 2012. How does a virtual run a business without a web presence for the first 4 years of operation?

  5. Judson Vaughn

    Pamela, it was the English cleric Charles Caleb Colton (1780–1832) who said, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” In this case, I’d call this Criminalized Flattery. The good news is that anyone in the legal profession – or any other, who is this boldly, unapologetically unethical, will leave a trial of burning bridges that will eventually shed light on all of her misdeeds. What an irony that she’s chosen to name her company “Flawless Petitions.” Perhaps you’ve tried this, but I’d try to connect with her on LinkedIn, and simply ask her to remove the copy that you created. If she refuses, isn’t that good information to know.

  6. Pamela J Starr

    Judson,
    It’s delightful to hear from you! “Criminalized Flattery” – brilliant!! May I have you permission to use it? 😉 Interesting that you should mention connecting with her on LinkedIn – she is a member of my StarrParalegals group on LI (undoubtedly where she found my content, and somehow has not seen the link to this post). I emailed her and received this in response: “This information has be [sic] forwarded to my website creater [sic] for review and will certainly be adressed [sic] promptly within the next 48 hrs.” Flawless, indeed! To date, she has removed all but the first line from my mission statement from her website and LI profile; the content remains on other platforms. As does her unauthorized use of the CBA designation.

  7. Pamela the Paralegal

    […] – It’s Not Flattery, It’s Plagiarism! (Georgia Peach Virtual Paralegal Services) and It’s Still Stealing – Another Copyright Violation (Flawless Petitions, […]

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