Sunday, July 12, 2009

Internet Lawyer: Litigation

If you are looking for an Internet lawyer, what skills are you seeking? If you have business or compliance issues, and are worried about whether you are complying with the laws, would you hire a business lawyer? Or a trial lawyer or litigator who is actually handling the legal issues arising from the same problems you are worried about?

As an example, at Traverse Internet Law we handle a lot of active, open FTC matters with real FTC lawyers on the other side. Working through this type of litigation or legal action is invaluable in terms of acquiring an understanding and appreciation for what the FTC expects and where the line is drawn. Otherwise, an Internet lawyer can rarely develop the knowledge to offer high quality guidance on FTC compliance except in the most obvious situations.

Keep that in mind as you look for an Internet lawyer that can bring real value to the relationship.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Internet Lawyer Selection

First, let's recognize that there appear to be only two or three law firms with more than one Internet lawyer in the country. We deal with them often. Does this mean that big law firms or intellectual property lawyers cannot handle your legal matter? Of course not. But if you are looking for a high qualityInternet lawyer don't ever rely just on references from other lawyers. The other lawyers often have not the slightest clue about who can do what well in this very unique and small fraternity of Internet lawyers. Talk to an Internet lawyer and get a feel for his familiarity with the subject. Look for him to be conversant and able to speak on your level and on your terms. Or move on to someone else.

We were just hired by a client after he became dissatisfied with months of seemingly endless fees and no progress. Our client was after a domain name. It took one letter from us, and back came a prompt reply from the the other party that he knew of our firm and Internet lawyer expertise. And since we were involved, he continued, he was ready to turn the domain name over. Of course, every situation is different and the fact that we were successful in this matter does not predict the future outcome of any other case or dispute or matter. The facts are always different. But if you learn to stick with the industry insiders you may find that you are happier with the results.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Internet Lawyer Location

As an Internet lawyer, I get asked all the time about our location and the need of a client to find someone local. First of all, the odds of finding a local Internet lawyer expert are exceptionally low. Second, who knows where your issue will end up? There are many different places you could end up in Court, for instance. Third, 95% of legal disputes get resolved by a good Internet lawyer without the need for litigation and court action, so he can be located anywhere. Fourth, the odds are high that the lawyer for the other side, be it a General Counsel or a lawyer outside of the business, is not located near you. Forget about geographic lines in today's world. The Courts have a way of allowing lawyers from other states to appear in Courts in states all over the country. It is called admission "pro hac vice". Find the best Internet lawyer, discuss your unique situation with him, and see if what I just said makes sense for you.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Internet Lawyer Selection

Once again, I am continuing my comments on selecting an Internet lawyer that is right for your issue or need.

Traditionally you could always ask for references from a lawyer. But in the world of the Internet, many, many clients hire Internet lawyers for private, confidential, discrete work. And since we represent businesses, we are often hired by a founder or President or CEO of an Internet company. Even if you get references, high quality Internet business people are often too busy to respond to what for our law firm would be dozens of calls each week from prospective clients.

So, don't expect references from Traverse Internet Law because we promise our clients we will never disclose our representation of their interests. In other words, we operate in a world of confidentiality. And you should expect that to be the case for most accomplished internet lawyers you consider and expect that of your lawyer.

Do, however, conduct online research of the lawyer's reputation. Take a look at Martindale Hubbell and check our peer ratings. As you use Google, understand that trial lawyers make enemies. It is an adversarial process and the other side of a case is prone to try and attack the messenger. View the comments about reputation in the proper context.

Follow these suggestions and keep in mind that peer reviews, which are ratings from other lawyers and judges, are the most accurate and reliable indicators, in my opinion, of the quality of an Internet lawyer.

Internet Lawyer Research

This is a continuation of my prior posts about selecting an internet lawyer. Once you know what you are looking for in terms of the subject matter of your issue, then begin to research the background of the internet lawyer. Good questions to get answers to:

1) Year of graduation from law school. Younger lawyers often leave the date of graduation off of their internet lawyer online credentials.
2) Law School. I recently was on a panel at a conference with a graduate of an online mail order type law school and no one seemed to understand that he was not even a lawyer since he had a "JD". You don't need an ivy league graduate, though.
3) Years of practicing law. How long has the internet lawyer been practicing law? In what capacity? Did he go to work first in business and then migrate back to the law years after graduation?
4) If you have a dispute, you need more than a "litigation lawyer". You need a trial lawyer. Litigators often just have experience with written motion and discovery practice, not trials.
5) Do they have experience or expertise in the business of the web? Understanding the law of the web is one thing. Understanding how things work, what is important, and what conduct really means in the context of e-commerce business is important.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Internet Lawyer Types

"I need an Internet lawyer", you think. But do your really? An Internet lawyer specializes in the law of the web. And good ones are not cheap. Many come from the arena of intellectual property, and getting a good IP trial lawyer is very expensive. Some of the bigger law firms, particularly in the big cities, charge $800 and up per hour. Do you really need an Internet lawyer?

If you are dealing with an unpaid invoice, a debt collection lawyer could help you on a contingency basis.

If you are dealing with an employment dispute, an employment lawyer could be the right choice.

And if you want to start a business and get incorporated, find a local business lawyer to handle the standard work of incorporation. Or if you are savvy and want to incorporate in Nevada or Wyoming, find a corporate lawyer in those states.

Trust me on this, though. Don't go and hire an Internet lawyer. Internet lawyers are expensive because they deal with a subject of law that is very challenging and demanding. Consider finding the right subject matter lawyer. All because you have an Internet business, it does not follow that every issue will demand the attention of an internet law expert.

You really need an expert in the specific subject matter with which you are dealing.

Internet Lawyer: How to Find an Internet Lawyer

Internet lawyer qualifications. Part Two.

Okay, you need an Internet lawyer and go online, conduct a search on your favorite search engine (I suspect we all know which one that is!). Now you see AdWords pay per click ads for all kinds of lawyers claiming to be the best Internet lawyer. Then you take a look at the organic or natural results and find some other options for an Internet lawyer.

Here's a key tip. Go to the Internet lawyer websites and get a feel for their qualifications. We'll discuss the next steps in posts to come. Finding the right Internet lawyer can be easy or hard. I'll try to make the process easy for you. And no, the answer isn't to hire Traverse Internet Law. We turn away many, many prospective clients each week because we are not a good fit for their legal needs. I'll tell you what types of lawyers you need for all the different kinds of legal issues you will run into on the web. Stay tuned.