Photography

Lawyer allegedly photoshopped herself with celebs, faces suspension

An LA attorney allegedly marketed herself as someone who rubs shoulders with the famous such as Bill Clinton and, um, Nick Lachey.

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Oddly, Sangary appears to have worn the same outfit to pose with both Al Gore and Nancy Pelosi. Svitlana Sangary screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Lies come with marketing just as readily as they come with love.

If you can make out that you're famous, you can sell to your heart's content and seize the sort of hearts that'll make you content.

Perhaps, though, if you're a lawyer, it might be worth thinking twice before you suggest that you hang out with Bill Clinton, Leonardo DiCaprio and Donald Trump.

There's nothing wrong with any of them, of course (though I am not currently in possession of any of their mental health records). However, lawyers are supposed to tell the truth, or something that can be approximated to it.

LA attorney Svitlana Sangary is accused of bending that truth to a technological breaking point. As Fast Company reports, she allegedly photoshopped herself into around 50 celebrity photos, making herself to be something of a celebrity. These images were posted to her firm's website.

The alleged touching-up touches on the professional. There she is with Joe Biden. There she is with President Barack Obama. There she is with, um, Nick Lachey. But here she is facing a six-month suspension from practicing law.

Donald Miles, a State Bar Court judge believes she's guilty of deceptive advertising. Which does seem a touch harsh, as a certain deceptiveness is an integral part of almost all advertising.

What is, though, deceptively enjoyable is her legal retort to the charges (PDF).

There's a sheer delight in how she mentions the movie "Black Swan," in which Natalie Portman's head was allegedly superimposed onto the body of another woman who was a better dancer. And, lookee here, she still won an Oscar.

Sadly, the State Bar Court's recommendation of suspension and probation is now merely waiting for the nod of the California Supreme Court.

If you are moved by the evidence of Yelp reviews, hers, regretfully, produced just the one star. On her own site, however, she seems to achieve a uniformly glowing five stars.

Indeed, client Ludmila Privorotsky declared: "On a scale of 1 to 10, Svitlana Sangary deserves to get a 15!"

I am, though, still perturbed about whether claiming to know famous people -- or even to be slick enough to be photographed with them -- actually suggests anything of a legal nature.

Is there any evidence that lawyers who know Anne Hathaway are better (or worse) lawyers than those who have never even seen one of her movies? "I know Jennifer Garner, so I'll get you a great settlement on this contract dispute" doesn't seem an entirely persuasive notion.

Sangary did allegedly keep the photos up for two years. She is also accused of evading hearings on the subject of them.

Still, who cannot admire some of the arguments that she used in her defense?

For example: "Svitlana Sangary did not have to deal with lemon law. She is dealing with other type [sic] of lemons here, such as the ones revealed here. And a proverbial phrase comes to mind. 'When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.' Wikipedia says that it is a proverbial phrase used to encourage optimism and a can-do attitude in the face of adversity or misfortune. Wikipedia describes it. Sangary exemplifies it."

Wouldn't you like your lawyer to offer such a stirring defense of your good name?