The biggest thing right for attorneys is to jump on the affiliate marketing bandwagon. With the CPA and affiliate industry still growing, a lot of attorneys are trying to change their business model from general business attorneys to “Internet Attorneys” claiming to have expertise and special skill sets to sell the general public. With a little SEO work, and a cool website, they are able to make themselves look like a reputable attorney with tons of experience. However, many of these attorneys have no experience in the field and more importantly are far from qualified to represent your business or your interests. Here are a few things you need to look for when hiring an Internet Lawyer specializing in Affiliate and Performance Marketing.
[pullquote]All Good Affiliate Attorneys Should
1) Have FTC Experience
2) Be admitted in California or New York
3) Have extensive REAL WORLD experience[/pullquote]
Ask for their Federal Trade Commission FTC Experience.
Most of the “expert” Internet Attorneys out there has absolutely no experience in dealing with the FTC. This is because only highly qualified attorneys with years experience in compliance and internet marketing law get these FTC cases. These are specialized attorneys often with extensive knowledge about the FTC and how to deal with the FTC and their attorneys. If you hire some attorney in the middle of nowhere with no experience, not only may they not know what to do about the FTC but they may get you in trouble.
They must be admitted to California or New York
While any attorney can give you advice from anywhere in the world, the majority of lawsuits against Performance Marketing companies are coming from these States. The reason is that they have heavy consumer protection laws, and also a plethora of cheap attorneys who are willing to sue anyone, anywhere and bring them. On top, any Internet Lawyer worth anything will want to be admitted to those states, specifically because over half of all major online marketing companies are located in New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. Those companies want to hire attorneys who can serve them in the biggest jurisdictions in the Country for Internet Law. Just a simple google shows that most lawsuits are filed in California or New York against internet companies in our industry.
They must have extensive REAL WORLD experience
If they haven’t worked for a major firm, or more importantly have worked on major cases, you are wasting your time with these attorneys. With the rise of the internet, there are even attorneys who can get their degrees online. Many of these attorneys will set up a “firm” by themselves and pretend to be specialists in order to get a few gullible clients to call. They will blog a bit, pretend to be an expert in Internet Law and then convince people that they know what they are talking about. The best internet attorneys either work for major law firms, or have worked for these firms before starting their own firm in order to get experience on big cases.
Do not believe any attorney is an expert “Affiliate Attorney” just because they say they are. Just like anyone, they are seeking new clients and trying to jump on the bandwagon. Ask them about their experience, where they are admitted and more importantly if they are actually involved in the industry. If they can’t answer these questions, walk away.
While there are many good lawyers out there, I highly recommend asking around the community who they should use. Here is a short list of attorneys that I highly recommend.
Richard Newman, is an Internet Attorney for the Executive Council of Performance Marketing, and part of the Performance Marketing Association Team. Has Extensive current FTC experience, plus has worked on major affiliate and CPA network legal cases for some major networks. He is admitted in California, New York, Nevada and DC. Also is a respected Internet Lawyer columnist for numerous publications including Performance Marketing Insider. He is widely considered the top Affiliate and Performance Marketing Attorney in New York and California.
Bennet Kelley, of the Internet Law Center. He was previously the Assistant General Counsel for ValueClick and a well known columnist on both political and internet law issues. He is admitted in California, and has a highly respected practice on Internet Law. Heavy involved with issues of display advertising network and webmaster issues.
Mark J. Rosenberg of Sills Cummins and Gross Mark is New York attorney with specialization in intellectual property issues that affect the industry. He is widely considered an expert in SEO issues and video marketing issues.