Laura Furniss is a terrible attorney. Just horrible.
I bring evidence.
Since this page has gotten quite long, I'll first let you check out what is happening right now between myself and Laura Furniss's firm.
Laura's sister Anna Furniss, now a lawyer for the firm, recently reached out to me asking for information about my claims that Laura violated the California Bar Code of Conduct in multiple ways (but then Anna abruptly cut off the conversation after I provided her the information). She has now been on Yelp under the identity of Kayla N. First, she claims to be a friend of Laura, who consults with other lawyers on Laura's behalf, to try to "protect her friend and her business," from me. Ok, fine, she doesn't mention she is Laura's sister and also a lawyer and that she works for the same firm, but ok. At least she was actually a customer of the business and it was an honest review. But then, OMG -- under the same Yelp account, and knowing that I am aware of her Yelp presence -- she claims to be a happy client in a glowing review of the firm she works for. She calls me out by name in that review, and talks directly to me. Oddly, in each of these, she alludes to my age (54), as if that is a thing I should be ashamed of. (I'm really not)
Honestly, I couldn't make this stuff up. Here's some of "Kayla" on Yelp. (with my scribbles on top)
Next time someone tries to paint you as a bad person so they can push you out of your daughter's life, with corrupt lawyers and "experts" working little deals and then just making shit up so they can pick the most profitable winner, tell me if "hurt feelings" is the way you'd describe it. (disclaimer: that's not proven blah, blah, blah but email me for evidence you can use to make up your own mind whether it was corruption)
Anyway we were having fun, sorry to get all angsty. And I beat Laura in court thanks to a sharp judge, so really, I'm ok. But at the time, it was something different from "hurt feelings." So yeah...back to the story.... After seeing that Kayla -- previously just a rapid-fire "Liker" of Yelp reviews of Laura's firm -- had also posted the above about me, I thought, holy crap this is obviously a Furniss sister, this might actually be easy. They're easy to rattle and they get reckless. So I sent Kayla a private message on Yelp (not mentioning that I'd seen the law firm review), and then sent the Furnisses an email to tweak 'em a bit, and AnnaKayla went for it hook, line and sinker.
She posts this:
So wait. Which is she? Happy customer? Sister? New lawyer on staff? Lawyer on staff since years before the firm was even formed? Friend? or specifically, a friend who jumps in to help when a law firm has legal issues???
In theory they could claim that Kayla isn't Anna at all, it really was one of their clients, and you know client confidentiality and all so they can't say who. "Sure, we let our clients go talk to other lawyers on our behalf," they might say, and with anyone else I wouldn't believe them. Ok even with the Furnisses I wouldn't believe them. Regardless I just called the law firm Kayla reviewed (thanks for including the names of who you spoke with, Kay!), where it was quickly confirmed that the person they advised referred to herself as "Anna Furniss", not "Kayla N". Bam. (note: Anna admitted in court that she posted as Kayla. See the little update box at the top of the page.)
(and don't blame that law firm....you did nothing wrong Leah. You couldn't have known Annakay would be doing something quite so dumb on Yelp)
Anyway, this fake review isn't just against Yelp's rules, and it's not just a massively shady business practice to have a key employee (A LAWYER NO LESS) posting fake "customer" reviews. It is also explicitly against lawyers' code of conduct rules, which the California Bar sets forth and takes seriously. Specifically, rule Rule 1-400, speaks to lawyers who misrepresent themselves to the public in promoting their firm. Between this and all the other stuff (seriously, I've got a lot, especially on Laura), the Furni are just begging to be disbarred.
(and aside from the ethics....would you hire a law firm that wasn't even smart enough to create a second Yelp identity, so it wasn't so obvious they were misrepresenting themselves online?)
So anyway, the rest of this page is pretty messy and disorganized (I go off on weird tangents here and there, sorry not sorry), but it's worth reading if you are even considering hiring Laura Furniss. My complaints about her conduct are legitimate and significant, and Laura's unethical and incompetent behavior did a lot of harm to myself, my daughter, and in the end (and most severely), my daughter's mom, who was Laura's client. I escaped Laura's attempt at ruining my life because I stood up to a bully and fought back. The page might be worth reading if you are simply entering the family law rabbit hole, and want to know what might await. It might even be worth reading if you are bored and find such dramas entertaining (some people find a lot of it funny), and if you can tolerate my writing style. If you'd rather just contact me and get to the real meat (which I shouldn't post publicly due to the privacy of others involved), I'm rjbrown at gmail. I also tend to be happy to talk on the phone, but email first.
And yeah, Laura's firm publicly claims that I am "psycho" and "creepy". I don't think I am, but you, the reader can decide for yourself. If you want to investigate whether I am credible and rational, there is a huge trail I've left on the web you can follow, going back over 20 years. And while I own up to being over 50 (!), not the whole psycho/creepy thing (A bit rambly and prone to tangents, sure. Maybe I think I'm funnier or more clever than I actually am...? Ok, got me. Irritated as all hell at Laura Furniss? Check. Super happy that I kicked her butt in court? YES. But psycho/creepy? C'mon. That's not a nice thing to say.)
They also call this a "smear site," and who are we kidding here? It kinda is. I mean, it is a site critical of Laura Furniss's law firm, which at the time I dealt with them, only Laura was lawyering at.
And of course now we've got Laura's sister Anna, lawyer on staff by day, and by night, "Kayla" the happy client of Laura and Anna, on Yelp. So I guess by the time you get to the bottom of my page here, my criticism does seem to shift back and forth between Laura to Anna. I hope you can follow all this.
Anyway, smear site or not, this is protected speech in these wonderful United States. Everything is 100% the truth, backed by evidence. Or it's just my subjective opinion: "Laura is a lousy lawyer" stuff. I absolutely believe that this web page serves the social good. (I've offered to link to a page where Laura/Anna offer their best argument otherwise) And while I can't show everything publicly (out of respect for the privacy of my ex -- she was a client of Laura, and suffered immense harm under Laura's counsel)....I invite emails -- rjbrown at gmail -- and I will share more information with people who would like more proof. Some of it is actually really interesting (and really damning, when it comes to Laura's capabilities as a lawyer and her ethical violations). But if I were going to hire Laura, I'd get in touch and get a big pile of additional reading material. I mean, it's your money and your life, but I'm just sayin'. Information is your friend.
And look, I know I'm mean to Laura here. I'm not generally a mean person. And it really doesn't matter if I am mean, if you are here to learn about Laura. My point is not to win you over on me. It's to tell you what you might want to know about Laura/Anna/Kayla before you plunk down a retainer. And if you are dealing with a family law situation, you're probably angry already -- at someone, anyway -- and maybe this will be a satisfying read.
So is there is a chance you are still planning on hiring Laura? Of course you want all the information you can get before you hire someone, right? (answer: "right") I can show you the full trial transcripts and final court decision, where she lost badly in court to a self-represented me. And I had no idea what I was doing. Still it was easy...Laura isn't smart. (she's also unethical, combative, and condescending to the extreme...none of which benefitted her client, and a lot of which annoyed the judge).
So I may be a bit lighthearted elsewhere, but here I'll just be blunt: Laura caused harm to our daughter, and yeah, she put me through undeserved hell. But mostly she hurt her own client (my ex). Laura could have done things so differently ( * ), that would have resulted in something much better for her client. I begged and pleaded for them to sit down and negotiate like adults, to share evidence, etc rather than fighting it out to the bitter end. But they got their way, and got their expensive week in court, thanks to Laura's tactic of fanning the flames and exploiting the emotions of people in difficult situations. To say it all went badly for them is an extreme understatement.
Note that I am also happy to share various other things that will show just how unsmart Laura is. Lots of her sending threatening emails to me, some which are utterly non-sensical, and me calling her bluff time and time again (she didn't make good on a single threat). And lots of her taking things down paths in the courtroom that dramatically hurt her client's case for absolutely no good reason. It would be funny if this whole thing wasn't mucking up real lives. Ok, some of it is funny regardless, for instance the part where she tried to paint me as having cannibalistic tendencies.
Also, feel free to look into why her former partner (or boss?), Gary Dubrovsky, scrubbed her name from his web site and doesn't even link to her site.
If you get in touch, I'd also be happy to share info about the three positive Yelp reviews Laura has. All I'll say here is: one is a person that has yet to go to trial and is still letting Laura fan the flames, just like my ex did (update: things have gone very badly for this client), another is her childhood friend Gia who doesn't bother mentioning that fact on her review, and another is her employee Hannah, who skips that little factoid as well. (note: New reviews are showing up for Laura, fast and furious. Interestingly, none of the new ones are from people claiming to be clients. Scroll to further down the page for more on this!)
Ultimately, Laura tried to claim I selfishly put my own needs before those of my daughter, and therefore I should be pushed out of my daughter's life. The evaluator she referred tried to do the same thing. The judge actually looked at a ton of evidence, and found the exact opposite is true. If Laura doesn't like this web page, well, maybe it's time for her to rethink her approach to family law, or maybe even whether she wants to be in a business that includes trying to tear down the characters of good people. Meanwhile, I'm pretty sure I'm doing ok as dad.
* tip 1 for Laura Furniss: look at the evidence I keep sending you, rather than being blindsided by it in court, and
tip 2 for Laura Furniss: negotiate, rather than make idle threats, so you don't have a complete amateur mop the floor with you
tip 3 for Laura Furniss: don't recommend your ever-so-esteemed buddy as a custody evaluator, given that he's even less competent than you, and will have his evaluation report shot down by the judge (update: Dr. Newton has subsequently been accused of gross negligence by the state board of psychology, and -- under some additional intense pressure from yours truly -- has announced he is closing shop. Good. Note that Laura sent a LOT of business to this horrible excuse for a professional, and he, time and again, ignored dramatic evidence so he could "pick a winner," always Laura's client. Far be it for me to accuse anyone of collusion, though. Still, you can email me and I'll be happy to put you in touch with plenty of others who have dealt with the ethics-impaired team of Furniss and Newton)
As only Laura can. She has done so in a way that boggles the mind with the cleverness with which she inflicts damage upon herself. She has chosen a domain name and "karma" slogan for her web site, in honor of this very page. I am pleased.
I kid you not, she has named her site badkarmatics.com, which seems like a delightfully appropriate choice. Cool!(my first reaction to her domain name choice)
So far, though, I don't think she has tried to get me to take my own page about her down, which is probably a rare good decision.
Ok this is a bit out of order, but I added it after I was inspired by the "badkarmatics.com" domain thing to add more to the page. I mean, this is starting to get interesting, right? But maybe I need to add dates as I add updates.
There's plenty more where this came from. Seriously...tons. There's also this bit of nonsense from Laura, which, following a strong decision, I felt I was free to give a strong response to. Most things I don't want to put on a completely public web site because I don't want personal things concerning my ex out there for all to see -- she was taken advantage of by Laura and all this is more Laura's fault than my ex's. Just email me (rjbrown at gmail). Many have. Glad to talk on the phone as well. I'm not guaranteeing you'll love me (although I think I'm generally a pretty nice person, just not with Laura anymore...), but I can pretty much guarantee you won't come away wanting to hire Ms. Furniss.
Another update, 3/31/2018: Laura is suddenly getting some positive reviews on Yelp. None are actually claiming to have had a customer experience (which is a requirement for posting on Yelp), and they are mostly people who just signed up in the past few days to post a single review. Looks to me like Laura is telling everyone she knows to post reviews to counter this page (or, you know, just posting them herself). And Kayla N. is right there to mark them as "useful" as quick as they come in. Regardless, unlike me, they don't give you contact info or a full name or a picture or anything else...so, you decide if they are genuine. (you can try contacting them on Yelp, but how much you wanna bet they won't reply?) Look at that last one especially...does that look like a real review or is it just Laura posting her own glowing review of herself?
So, we've come back to the story at the top of the document, but in some more detail this time. Seeing all these "likes" by Kayla I do a tiny bit of digging around. Ok, all I did was click on her profile, it's not like some kind of sleuthy detective work. I notice pretty quickly that Kayla posted another review a week or so prior, where she is obviously talking about me. In fact, she is obviously either Laura or Anna, since she is talking about speaking to another law firm about me, on behalf of a law firm. (she claims she is a "friend", but come on, seriously? Lawyers don't send "friends" to do law work for them) Anyway, I assume she is posting this with the hope that I see it? Maybe so I'll take it as a threat? I don't know. It is just weird.
So I decide, rather than immediately calling her out on it, I'll pretend for a bit that I haven't seen it. Let's just see what happens. So I send her a private message simply about the fact that she has tagged a bunch of positive reviews of Laura as "useful" (pretty much as soon as they are posted), so I'm just asking about it. I thought I was pretty polite about it.
In addition, I flag the Katie G and Gina B reviews, and get them removed by Yelp (since they explicitly say they aren't actual customers). After doing so, I forward the response from Yelp to Anna and Laura, again fairly politely. Of course, they don't respond to me by email, but I've got my fingers crossed they'll do something public and weird. It's like they can't help themselves....moths to a flame. And they exceeded my expectations. With panache, you might say.
Kayla posts another review:
OMG. So, with her knowing that I was watching her Yelp activity, knowing I have this web page up that ranks very highly on Google for anyone who does a search about them, she posts a review of HER OWN FIRM. Pretending to be a client. Attacking me by name. This is mindblowing.
How could she not know this is 1) suuupppeeerr unethical and 2) going to be suuupppeeerr embarrassing, and 3) going to live on, on my web site, until at least the Earth crashes into the Sun....?
Do they somehow not know this boneheaded move will follow them around for the rest of their careers?!!
Sorry but there is just no excuse for this kind of mixture of shady and dumb. I know, I know, I was kind of expecting it...but somehow my jaw still dropped.
And just to wrap this up: of course, Kayla is obviously Anna or Laura, since she mentioned speaking to an attorney on behalf of the law firm. I knew it was Anna (they have significant differences in their writing styles), but I really wanted something more solid so I at least knew for sure which of the two, so I can say it here without risk. So I called Leah at Kronenberger and Rosenfeld, who Kayla kindly mentioned in her review. I said that Anna had told me she is being represented by them, concerning me. (which she did, on Yelp) And of course Leah confirmed it was Anna.
Kayla, my "creepy and weird" communication to you is posted above. I personally don't see how it can be called creepy and weird, it seemed pretty benign but ok. (I had to go back and check if I had asked something like "what are you wearing?", which admittedly would have been pretty creepy, but nope, didn't...) If you were Laura, you'd call it "harassing," since that is how she always refers to communications when she doesn't actually want to address what it says. Anyway, since Laura had gotten all these positive reviews in the past few days, none of which appeared to be from from actual clients, and then you were "Usefulling" them immediately, I figured I'd invite you to do a review yourself, if you are actually a client. (of course, you're not, but still... Wait why do I even have to justify this? it was obviously the Furniss sisters astroturfing their business... There is absolutely nothing wrong with people on Yelp calling people out for activity which appears deceptive!)
So you say I've posted four or five reviews of Laura and had them taken down. Hmmm. First of all, how would you know if you are just a happy client? Do you not understand how anyone with common sense would see that a regular happy client of Laura would probably not be following her Yelp page so closely for long periods of time? Anyway you are busted on that, so I guess I don't need to go on about it.
Secondly, nope, only once before has my review of Laura been taken down, a long time ago. I'm well aware of the rule that says only clients should post reviews, so that's why I made a web page. But since there was a glut of reviews that were also breaking that same rule, I figured I'd counter them for as long as it lasted. But I did it without being the least bit dishonest, in fact I say right in my review that it should probably be taken down because I'm not a client either. You, on the other hand, are lying. Anyway, your review only invites people to figure out who this Rob Brown guy is, if they have somehow missed my web page. (but honestly, who is going to miss it?) Despite your insistence that I am psycho and creepy, guess what other people think? No one who is actually researching family law attorneys has one iota of a problem with what I am doing. The only people who do are those who got caught with their hands in the cookie jar.
You question whether I have better things to do with my life.... and yet, Laura claims she basically represented my ex pro-bono, so you could ask her the same thing....didn't she have better things to do with her life than try to tear down my character and force me out of my daughter's life? She spent a heck of a lot of time trying to do that.
Maybe Laura thought it was "the right thing to do." That I really was a terrible person and needed to be put in my place. Well, that's fine if she really thinks that, but she sure didn't want to actually talk about it or defend that position over the course of more than a year. Her "no negotiation" style was in full effect. If I asked what she actually thinks happened on one particular night that came up time and again in the proceedings, all she'd say is "I have a different perspective." Obviously, Laura didn't really care what actually happened, since my story made sense and the story she and her client eventually told in court, didn't. But, had she addressed it privately first, she could have seen how incredibly weak her case was. All she really had going into court was a custody evaluator that was....uhhh, "friendly" to her side. But luckily he was an idiot, and the judge spent pages and pages of the decision calling out just how badly he did his job. (Laura always claimed she held him in high esteem, and she sent lots of business his way. And now the Board of Psychology has weighed in, and he's closed shop under pressure. In the end, that pressure came from lots of directions, and I am proud that one of them was me.)
The difference with between me and you is, everything I put out there, is backed by evidence. Solid, crystal clear evidence. And unlike you, "Kayla," I am happy to say who I actually am, just in case anyone questions my motives or the truthfulness of anything I say. I have been an open book, from the day my case began until today. You, meanwhile, pretend to be someone you are not, telling lies to the public and doing a horrible job of hiding it. So you've been caught. Unlike the stuff Laura did, I can be as public as I want about your screwups without the slightest concern about embarrassing the mother of my child, which inhibits me a bit regarding Laura.
So going back to some more of your comments. You mentioned that I'm spinning my wheels because I got a Yelp review taken down? Well, your wheels seem to be getting traction on Yelp, but I'm not sure you are headed in the direction you think you are. Anyway, I even mentioned, right in the review, that they should probably take it down. I just wanted them to take the other "non customer" reviews down, and they did. (except for yours...I'm not touching that one!) So....Google any variation of "Laura Furniss" or "Furniss Family Law" and see where my own web page comes up. Pretty damn high, thanks to having a long internet presence and therefore Google seeing me as credible. This page certainly ranks higher for a search for your firm, than your own firm's website. And Yelp sure isn't taking this page down. My words are getting out there, and people believe me, partly because I put my name on it (and share more information with people who email). You can call it trolling, but I am in contact with a whole bunch of people, former clients of Laura, people she's opposing, etc, and I know she is still out there doing harm, with her unethical approach to family law. Today is typical, I got two emails from new people who have seen the page. I'm well aware that I am having a pretty big impact on her ability to do more harm. I don't think that is trolling, nor a waste of time. (ok the image of the car was trolling...) I just wish someone had done it before I started my journey down the family law rabbit hole. Regardless, calling it wheel spinning is just wishful thinking. I am confident this page is limiting the harm your firm can do....and I'm good with that.
Since this seems to be getting traction, and I keep talking to people who are still dealing with the corruption in the family law system (and many of them find my story gives them hope), I even purchased the domain corruptfamilylaw.com. (go ahead, do a whois on it) I'm thinking about starting a community, rather than doing it all on the karmatics site...
So....you say that, since I am opposing party and Laura is a "strong advocate," of course I don't like her.... um, are you aware she lost badly against self-represented me? Like, couldn't-be-a-stronger-decision badly. Of course you are aware, because you are Anna, Kayla, and I sent you everything. While I don't post the decision itself publicly due to concerns about my ex's privacy, I will happily show it to people who want to see it. You already know how "strong" an advocate she was against me. But anyone else? I can probably even put you in touch with my ex who was a client -- she is no fan of Laura Furniss at this point, I assure you. All Laura did for her is lead her to a humiliating defeat in court that could have been easily avoided by being a decent person and meeting and negotiating, rather than try using dirty tricks and general nastiness.
Regarding "randomly appearing in court", I showed up to court as support for a self-representing party who, yeah, I met because I've been vocal about my issues with Laura and Steve Newton. I know lots of people through this page and my Steve Newton page (and more every day). I was invited by a participant in the proceedings. And courtrooms are public, for good reason. This isn't "suuuupppeerr creepy", but if it rattled Laura, I'm not going to lose any sleep over that. I have to admit it was pretty funny how she took my photo in the courtroom cafe.
So, you also say I'm psycho and I "spread my crazy"? You know what I'm actually spreading? Court transcripts. Court decision. Emails from Laura. A whole lot of other things that are hard proof of what happened. But facts aren't really what you and Laura are into, I guess... Still, I'm suspecting other people will be into them. (like the woman I spoke to on the phone tonight, who was referred to Laura by someone, but alas, she knew how use the Google first. I don't think Laura and your alter ego Anna will be getting a retainer check from her any time soon.)
As for contacting clients and their families. I imagine what you are talking about "families" is the ex of one of your clients, someone who was the same boat as me in terms of being a regular recipient of Laura's patented nastygrams. Yeah. Good guy. I guess you could say he's not one of Laura's biggest fans either. Feel free to ask him if he was bothered by my reaching out to him.
But these days, people contact me. Turns out a surprisingly large number of people know how to use Google. Pretty much anyone who deals with Laura knows who I am by now, and most have talked to me it seems. One person calling me "suuuupppeeerr creepy" is balanced out nicely by a hundred thanking me for alerting them to the slimebags out there in family law.
And no I don't "hide money from mean lawyers who hurt my feelings"... what are you even talking about? Laura's claimed desire to go after me for legal fees? That was just dumb. And I won anyway, so good freaking luck.
And let's talk about your saying that going after me legally isn't worth your time because I don't have money. How does that make sense? The page has only been up for a while, so if it is causing you damage, imagine how much damage it will have caused in, say, 20 years? (it's not going away, you know...) So if you could get a court to make me pay damages, certainly you could just get them to make me take the page down, right? Oh yeah, that darn First Amendment thing makes that a bit challenging, doesn't it? Everything I say is factual or clearly just a subjective opinion, and is just as First-Amendment-protected as your right to complain on Yelp about CalMart and their spoiled milk. I know more about the law than either you or Anna or Laura seems to grasp. Regardless, your comment about money pretty much shows what your law firm is about.
And I guess Kronenberger Rosenfeld are right about litigation having side effects. The problem for you is that you do not want the light of day to shine on Laura's lawyering (or, at this point, your skills in propping up the business with fake reviews and your other efforts at damage control following the mistakes of your sister). If you try to come after me for defamation, a lot more people will find out about this. It's called the Streisand Effect. And while I may not have enough money to be "worth your time", I can afford my increased web hosting fees if the page goes viral on Reddit.
But don't let me discourage you on that basis. I'm quite comfortable going into court against Furniss Family Law Group again if that's really what you want -- and I'm very confident that I am thoroughly in First Amendment protected territory.
Anna Kayla, why are you so concerned about me being over 50? You allude to my age in both your Yelp posts. I'm 54. So? Is that something to be ashamed of now? Good thing I'm not a member of a race you don't prefer, or overweight, or walk with a limp or something. I'm really curious about your seeming obsession with my age, or that you think that receiving a communication from a man who is over 50 is so "creepy."
Wait....did you think I'm trying to get a date with you? Cuz I'm really not...
p.s. Kayla, you say "you'd think someone his age would have other things to do..." And yeah, ya got me on that. But here and there I actually do other things rather than pick on your sister (I'm sorry, "friend." I'm sorry, "competent and panachey lawyer who handled your divorce case"). I'm a procrastinator and sometimes I waste time -- I dunno, yesterday it was writing a program to make my handwriting glow like a lightsaber, because I got a kick out of that, and now I'm using it to death on this page because it amuses me and I can't help myself. Maybe it was really for my main project, or maybe I was screwing around, but whatever. It's different things all the time that pull me different directions. And ok, maybe that's not your idea of what a 54 year old should be doing.
But can I just go ahead and say it? Fuck your idea of what a 54 year old should be doing, AnnaKayla.