ABA Journal



Meet our 2013 Legal Rebels

Sep 1, 2013, 10:29 am CDT


Really excellent 2013 listing. I hope I am still considered a Legal Rebel now at the age of 80! Let us hope that there will be as many and as much fun in 2014.

By Prof. Anthony Eaton. on 2013 08 30, 8:00 am CDT

Very rebely. Che would be proud.

By Tom Youngjohn on 2013 08 30, 4:55 pm CDT

Comment removed by moderator.

By Anna Gray on 2013 08 30, 6:43 pm CDT

Rebels? Please, give me a break. A basic rebellious action would be repeal of UPL, a most disgusting ‘Law’ preventing any respect or honor to legal profession.  No lawyer out there would have any respect whatsoever until those laws are on the books: shameful profession.

By Whatever on 2013 08 30, 6:58 pm CDT

I am very disappointed that you don’t have among your top ten, one of the most tragic and huge ‘legal violation of civil rights’ since Nazi, Germany.  The child welfare business is totally out of hand and is causing the deaths and serious injuries of children nationwide and worldwide in the name of CPS.  It has become a shameful, corrupt and powerful business where social service agencies work with county council and judges to bring in Federal dollars.  It is beyond out of hand.  The national debt could probably become manageable if not for this scam. Social workers have very strong and influential unions.  The victims are almost all extremely low income.  Attorneys can’t make much money in this area of law so there are so very few good attorneys out there fighting this.  If there are attorneys out there who want to make a difference, become a hero to children and leave a legacy your grandchildren will be proud of, please look into juvenile dependency law.  These are the true rebels because they have to expose corruption.  The people you have listed here are cool, but not true rebels in my perception.  Was disappointed that ABA has such a low standard of great rebels.

By Nancy Witherell on 2013 08 31, 1:09 am CDT

Rebels? Really? This is all ya got? Sad.

By casey on 2013 08 31, 2:27 am CDT

A lot of educators in this list, few practitioners.  Not really legal rebels.

By John on 2013 09 01, 4:41 am CDT

This is a sad sad list. How are ant of these people “rebels” especially all the professors? Come on ABA journal you can do better. There are MANY attorneys and non attorneys out there who can easily be characterized as legal rebels, who are going against the norm in the legal industry, changing it, much more than anyone on this list. This list is a joke.

By Dan on 2013 09 01, 9:27 pm CDT

#4 (“Whatever”) is exactly right. The ABA’s own rules - and the rules that States impose by adopting the ABA’s “Model Rules” - prevent any true “legal rebels.” I want to see a true legal rebel—one who challenges the ABA’s rules (and the equivalent rules in California) that prevent true competition in the legal industry (which, after all, benefits consumers by maximizing their choices as to who can represent them in their legal matters). When such a person comes into the spotlight - and gets honored by the ABA as a “legal rebel” (for challenging the ABA’s own rules!), then we will be able to stand up and cheer that THIS is a true “legal rebel” who is bringing much-needed change to the legal industry.

By Josh Effron on 2013 09 02, 12:04 am CDT

As a non-attorney mediator and a conflict resolution trainer, I can appreciate the rebel spirit of those in the legal world who are creating their own path with regard to their profession.  I have chosen the path of a non-legal, alternative dispute resolution practitioner because I believe most people just want to resolve disputes and get on with their lives and business rather than getting involved in protracted legal battles.  Too often, the law becomes a weapon that is used to subdue opponents or to take advantage of those less informed about the law and/or have little access to adequate counsel.  To be fair, lawyers also defend the rights of those who need legal representation and in many cases, valiantly work on behalf of their clients to secure favorable outcomes.  But all of that happens within the ‘legal system’. 
I congratulate the ‘legal rebels’ selected above who are doing great work, making their unique contributions available to those in the legal profession as well as those outside of it looking to gain some understanding of the law.  But I wouldn’t exactly consider this ‘rebelliousness’.  For that, you need to find passionate mediators who can transform conflict outside of the temple of jurisprudence and who can provide anyone who is willing to learn the necessary skills to do the same.

By Susan M. Sulc on 2013 09 05, 12:10 am CDT

Here are some interesting facts about LegalForce’s Raj Abhyanker that the ABA didn’t seem bothered to mention:

He has a history of breaking the law. Indeed, he pled to several
counts of dishonest election-fraud type acts and was fined by California
for $15,000!

Just google “raj abhyanker fppc” (without quotes)

Second: He has a history of being just straight up loco!

He has actually sued Facebook claiming that they copied him! Yes, he
is that much of a megalomaniac with no connection to reality. Of
course, the case was dismissed and Abhyanker lost. What a fool!

Just google “Raj Abhyanker Facebook lawsuit Liz Gannes” for the article. (without quotes)

By Vinod Singh on 2013 09 06, 5:17 pm CDT


    This is Raj Abhyanker, and I believe you are writing about me. 

    I have responded in detail to your comments of a similar nature throughout the web, and most extensively here:

    I will summarize my response again for the benefit of those who do not wish to follow your travels through the web. 

    The Cupertino city council settlement you mention was related to a mailer that I supported to protest against the destruction of old growth trees in the Cupertino foothills to build large 10,000 sq. ft, homes.  I did not originate this mailer, I supported it.  The destruction of these trees was supported by an opposing candidate.    I am proud of supporting this mailer. 

    My campaign had to file a one page document indicating our support of this important mailer.  We did not do this in time, and for this reason we paid a fine.  I continue supporting preserving old growth trees and forests in California, and I am proud of this fact and for supporting this mailer and other environmental causes.   

    Next, I will address your comments with respect to my dispute related to Facebook.  This case is still ongoing in a federal lawsuit.

You can read a recent legal blog post summarizing the current federal dispute here:

    This case concerns a venture backed internet startup I created prior to the creation of LegalForce Trademarkia, whose assets were purchased by Google Inc. in 2011.  Particularly, this dispute involves Facebook because the same EIR who worked with me at Benchmark Capital later became the CTO of Facebook and others became co-founders of Nextdoor. 

    The dispute is a challenge to the use of “Entrepreneurs in Residence” (EIRs) by venture capitalists in Silicon Valley.  This practice is grossly unfair.  Venture capitalists employ EIRs to listen in on pitches from others.  In exchange for an opportunity to sit in on confidential pitches made to venture capitalists, the EIR gets an informal option to raise money for their next concept from the same venture capitalist even before they have thought of what they want to create.
    By listening in on pitches of others, EIRs sometimes incorporate proprietary concepts from first time entrepreneurs that pitch ideas to them.  Venture capitalists maintain electronic and sometimes physical binders of previous pitches that they have heard for EIRs to peruse while developing their next idea.  It seems that there is an old-boys club in Silicon Valley that favors investment of a certain profile entrepreneur. 

    I find this practice unfair.   

    I am not ashamed to take risks, and support things I believe in (whether popular or not), including with respect to the two issues you describe above. 

    I became a lawyer to fight on behalf of entrepreneurs and dreamers of a better future.  A future in which the law supports underrepresented small businesses and individuals with the ambition, creativity, and passion to change the world for the better. 

By now representing more than 24,000 small businesses in America as clients (e.g., more than any other trademark law firm in the United States), LegalForce Trademarkia is an embodiment of this vision, and I am honored by this Legal Rebel recognition by the American Bar Association. 

Thank you for posting your thoughts.


By Raj Abhyanker on 2013 09 07, 12:23 am CDT


Thank you for that misleading and (frankly) delusional reply. 

Regarding the fraudulent campaign actions that you plead to with the FPPC, I refer all readers to the statement of facts that you signed and admitted.  Unless you were lying to the FPPC, you, and I quote:

“After an investigation, it was determined that Respondents [that’s you Raj] were responsible for the sendings of the mailer. Records obtained from the printer, Direct Mail Center, establish that
Respondents arranged to have paid approximately $2,406.23 for the printing of 4,000 of these mailers in cash and that Respondents sent 2,750 mailers during the weeks before the election.  On October 9, 2010, Respondents sent an electronic communication to the printer in reference to
“The Santoro Postcard mailing,” Job Number 72630, that Respondents wanted to mail 2,750
pieces as soon as possible since absentee ballots were being sent out that day.”

So the investigation showed that you (the Respondent), and not some third party, paid several thousand dollars for this illegal mailer AND you admitted this when they caught you.  And yet, here in front of an audience that you want show a different face to, you claim it was simply because you didn’t file a one-page form and were bravely saving some trees (which isn’t mentioned in the FPPC exhibit)?  You are a lying somewhere, either now or when you plead to the FPPC, either way, its safe to say you have serious honesty issues. 

Its like the FPPC exhibit says: “...  the public was misled ... ” 

Anyway, let’s talk about how you sued Facebook for stealing the ‘like’ feature that you claim to have invented in that crash and burn lawsuit!

It’s right there in paragraph 8 of your complaint against Facebook

You seem to be claiming to have invented the like feature and that Facebook stole it from you.  Ironically, this lawsuit was right around the time Facebook was going public?

EIP may or may not be unfair (probably depending on how it is implemented), but going crazy and misusing the courts to sue huge companies going public by claiming they stole the basic ‘like’ feature isn’t about fairness, it really seems to be about basic mental health issues and the ability to differentiate reality from personal delusions of grandeur. 

oh and you claimed that Facebook also stole (misappropriated) the ‘news feed feature’ in that complaint as well…

cookoo! cookoo! cookoo! cookoo!


Vinod (not Vijay)

By Vinod Singh on 2013 09 08, 7:24 pm CDT


I do not agree with your interpretations of the facts.  It is difficult to keep track of the various pseudonyms you use in your posts.  I assume Vinod Singh is not your real name?  It would add a degree of credibility to your posts if you openly disclose exactly who you are. 

Nonetheless, you are entitled to your opinions.  I am certainly not perfect.  I do make many mistakes.  I am not afraid of making mistakes.  I recently learned at church, “the mighty oak tree was just a little nut that held its ground.”

Assuming that you choose to continue remaining anonymous, this will be my last response to you on this thread.


Raj Abhyanker

By Raj Abhyanker on 2013 09 08, 8:14 pm CDT

Here are my two cents: That was a sad and inadequate response and a cheap way to dodge responding to Vinod’s post. Really, who cares if that’s his real name or not?  I posted my real name and I am interested in your reply.  Not that I will stand in judgment of you, because I have to admit - I’m mostly just curious - it’s an interesting thread.

By Nancy Witherell on 2013 09 08, 11:25 pm CDT


Thanks for providing your name.  I have already provided a complete response to his thoughts on this matter here :

If you wish to discuss in person or over the phone, feel free to email me at and I will make the time.


By Raj Abhyanker on 2013 09 08, 11:28 pm CDT


You will never get a straight answer out of Raj.  Just endless argument ad hominem and other evasive tactics that have nothing to do with his actual recent behavior. 

Silicon Valley is literally strewn with people/companies who have had bad experiences working with Raj.  I’m not surprised that he wishes he could condense his critics down to a single ‘anonymous’ individual. 

Raj the Little Oak,

You signed the FPPC’s statement of facts and my ‘interpretation’ is simply to cut and paste parts of the document you signed and admitted to.  Also, I didn’t write and file the complaint against Facebook (around the time they were going public btw).  That was you who alleged Facebook stole your like and newsfeed functionalities.  Those are your words and your actions.  Lord help your 24,000 clients if your slipping to the point that you lack the ability to remember your own actions in a lawsuit against one of Silicon Valley’s largest companies.  All I wanted to do was give others a small window into how you really tend to behave beyond the shallow self-promoting article above. 

I’ll give you my interpretation and you can take it or leave it.  Here is a guy who has legal issues with the State of California (a $15K fine is not a minor infraction) running around delusionally filing lawsuits against famous companies claiming they stole basic functionalities from him, because hey, he is just so awesome he invented ‘liking’ something and the ‘newsfeed’ format. 

I think that your further fall back response of paranoid arguments ad hominem, contrived victimization and recourse to dropping references to attending church further indicate the current state of your character.  I’m no psychologist, but I would be very wary of this type of compulsive manipulation when interacting with you. 

Deepest Respect,


By Vinod Singh on 2013 09 09, 3:35 pm CDT

to quote Raj from 14 “I am certainly not perfect.  I do make many mistakes.  I am not afraid of making mistakes. “

Three sentences you never want to hear from your surgeon, your airline pilot and your lawyer!

By Vinod Singh on 2013 09 09, 3:45 pm CDT

Raj, I wanted to state that I share Nancy’s opinion about you being evasive and dodging Vinod’s post.  I think that we shouldn’t have to email you to get a straight answer.

Anyway, this was a great article about a lot of interesting people.

By Sima T. on 2013 09 10, 7:37 pm CDT

Some of these rebels work for some of the lowest tier law schools, and I am talking about low percentage, full time, real law employment outcomes that pay off student loan debt type of law schools.  Hey rebels, riddle me this, can you use your jingoistic rebel skills to employing these law grads that fail to ease or fulfill their student loan payments. 

ps I was just surfing the net, and found this drivel of an article.  Hey I was bored, probably would not be pasted on this board.  That is fine, but hey, you know—I was really bored, really bored, anyhow, I will surf else where into the great ether known as the INTERNET.

By Master Chef on 2013 09 17, 7:21 pm CDT

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