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Law Offices of Thomas M. Fleming Reviews
This review was originally posted on Yelp, and was then removed for undisclosed reasons.
I have to acknowledge that I always had a right to dismiss Mr. Fleming in favor of a public defender. That is exactly what I would recommend to any defendant who has no third option. Mr. Fleming’s website makes it pretty clear how overt he is about his religious beliefs, and how pervasive that is in his practice. I was in custody, I was frightened, I was vulnerable, and all I knew was that my family had found a lawyer for me.
During our first talks, I was a literal captive audience with no experience in this situation. If you don’t know what that’s like, I hope you never directly find out. And I don’t need to have a lawyer whose personal beliefs mirror mine perfectly. But in regard to our differences on religion, all I wanted was for Mr. Fleming to leave well enough alone, and it would be an understatement to say that he refused to do that.
It’s hard to put into words just how degrading and infuriating it was to endure so much unwelcome religious proselytizing on such an unequal footing. Never in my adult life, perhaps my entire life, have I encountered anyone so single-mindedly determined to close the deal on getting me to adopt their religious beliefs. Given the clarity of my objections, and given the power dynamic at hand, Mr. Fleming’s persistence on the matter struck me as downright predatory. I say this in part because I can’t fathom that he would ever behave this way toward his law students, because he wouldn’t get away with it. The way he operated, regardless of how sincere he is about his beliefs, amounted to a ruthless affinity scam on my family with me as collateral.
From the very beginning, he presented his religious beliefs as if they were purely common sense. He would use the “‘Good’ Cop” tactic of choosing his words deliberately to intimidate while feigning that he was just a sympathetic messenger. From the beginning, I objected to his tone, and from the beginning he chose to gaslight. No matter what I said to express how profoundly uncomfortable he was making me, he couldn’t accept that as anything but a case of me misunderstanding the supernatural. I think the basis of his approach is to intimidate the client into “admitting” to believing that any outcome can be viewed as a miracle, because a miracle would be above complaint. Regardless of the cause, the effect is doggedly persistent and entirely avoidable emotional abuse.
I haven’t even scratched the surface of the worst aspect of being “represented” by Mr. Fleming. It wasn’t until I was blessed with the ability to exchange counsel that I became aware of just how much Mr. Fleming wasn’t doing. There were certain very basic steps he would not deign to take, and in at least one instance would not deign to tell me whether or not he was taking them. He had me sending him emails seven days a week, and I wrote to ask him a simple yes/no question, and he said to call him later and we would discuss it. In reality, his cookie-cutter M.O. was to collude with the prosecution, to exchange an apparently light penalty for a hefty verdict by way of a virtually nonexistent defense.
I believe people can change for the better, and maybe Mr. Fleming has drastically changed since I was last working with him. Maybe he’s become less cravenly collusive with the D.A.’s office, and maybe he’s now a lot less manipulative toward his clients. I don’t believe in nursing grudges. I felt I had to post this because, at least when we were working together, Mr. Fleming seemed very okay with behavior that I thought was not at all okay. I’m posting this in the hopes that he will rethink his approach to his clients. I’m posting it also to give prospective clients a better idea of what they might be getting into. But the main reason I’m posting this is so that past and current clients, who felt or feel the way I felt, will know that they’re not alone in feeling or having felt that way. As isolating as it feels to be caught up in the criminal justice system, it’s important to know when you’re maybe not wrong for feeling wronged.