Bad Things Happen When Lawyers Stop Representing Clients, and Start Representing Causes – John Blaha Ordered to Pay Rightscorp Attorney’s Fees

May 10, 2015

An interesting development in the world of copyright litigation, as rights holders secured a major victory in California on Friday. A court has ordered Morgan Pietz’s client in John Blaha v. Rightscorp to pay attorney’s fees due to a successful anti-SLAPP motion filed by the defendants. It raises ethical issues about using clients to try and further an anti-copyright law agenda, and drum up business.

A little bit of background…

Rightscorp is an anti-piracy corporation. It monitors BitTorrent usage, and then sends out notices to pirates who are stealing and distributing copyrighted content. From there, the company requests that pirates stop stealing the content, and pay the rights holder a reasonable fee of about $20. In this instance, Rightscorp was contacting people who stole and distributed films like The Shawshank Redemption and The Lord of The Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, two of my favorite movies. Notably, Lord of the Rings is available on Amazon.com for $9.99, and Shawshank Redemption is available for the same price. If you’re that hard up for cash but really want to watch the movies, you can even rent them for a whopping $2.99.

Surprisingly, people routinely steal movies using BitTorrent, even though they are available for immediate purchase on Amazon and iTunes. People on the internet say it’s unfair when they get caught and sent a notice from Rightscorp, or sued. Of course, if you were caught stealing the same movie in Target, you would be arrested, prosecuted, forced to spend a lot of money on lawyer fees and restitution, and then at the end of the day you would have a criminal record for the rest of your life. So in the grand scheme of things, Rightscorp’s approach seems pretty reasonable.

Read the rest of this entry »


Differentiating Attorney Advertising and Blogging – The California Bar Thinks People Are Too Stupid to Use the Internet

February 25, 2015
DISCLAIMER: CLOVER THE CAT THINKS YOU SHOULD HIRE ME. THIS MAY OR MAY NOT BE ATTORNEY ADVERTISING.

DISCLAIMER: CLOVER THE CAT THINKS YOU SHOULD HIRE ME FOR ALL YOUR CAT NEEDS. THIS MAY OR MAY NOT BE ATTORNEY ADVERTISING.

I’m an attorney. I have a blog. What do I write about? Whatever I feel like writing about. Sometimes I write about cats. Sometimes I write about cheesesteaks. Sometimes I write about law stuff. I don’t wake up in the morning and say “I should write an article about such and such topic because it will generate more clients.”

Do I get clients from writing this blog? Indirectly. I get very few calls that go like this:

“Hey, I read that post about cheesesteaks on Philly Law Blog.”
“Oh yeah? Did you like it?”
“Yeah, it was great! By the way, my son got sick from a cheesesteak and we need someone to represent us. Clearly, you are a cheesesteak lawyer and an expert in your field. I also hear you like cats. Can you help us?”

Read the rest of this entry »


Are You “Experienced”?

July 5, 2014

Not only a good album, but a good question. Attorney advertising has been around as long as I’ve been practicing law, as have the Rules of Professional Conduct, which govern attorney behavior, including advertising.

In Pennsylvania, attorney advertising is governed by Rule 7.2 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Professional Conduct. As part of these rules, a lawyer may not use “inherently subjective terms” like “experienced” to describe their practice. This rule seems to be observed more in its breach than in lawyers’ adherence to it. Google “Experienced Pennsylvania Lawyer” (or just click that link) and you’ll see what I mean.

Read the rest of this entry »


A Question For Rachel Rodgers – If It’s Not Legal Advice, What Is It?

August 19, 2013

I didn’t want to write about Rachel Rodgers again. Really, I didn’t. Rachel is smart, web savvy, and pretty cute. Honestly, I feel like a big hurtful bully by continually writing about the stuff she does. If Rachel were selling real estate or things on etsy, I would probably give her props. She is a heck of a business person and makes nice websites. We are also both are fans of Tim Ferriss.

But this is law we are talking about, and Rachel is continually finding new and clever ways to straddle that grey line of “is that ethical.”

Today, Rachel’s new venture takes the cake. Absolutely takes the cake. I tried not to write about it, I really did. But I just couldn’t resist. This is truly unbelievable…

Read the rest of this entry »


Self promotion — but at what cost to clients?

June 1, 2013

ShamelessSelfPromotionI’ve been struggling recently with the concept of lawyers’ self-promotion via the media.

Recently, I’ve noticed attorneys in several high-profile cases end up with a camera in front of them and a reporter shoving a microphone into their face, asking them for a comment. Some of these lawyers are younger; others have been around long enough that I presume they know what they’re doing.

Until the lawyer gives a soundbite that could not possibly help their client, and seems calculated only  to get the lawyer’s name out in the evening news.

Read the rest of this entry »


Search Term of the Day: Legal Marketing Edition (Now, with memes!)

February 6, 2013

Every once in a while, I peruse what terms people use to find our blog. Occasionally it’s informative. Often, it’s hilarious. Sometimes it’s sad.

Well, today, someone found our blog using a search term that made me feel a way I can express best through a meme:

Read the rest of this entry »


Your Legal Marketing is Invalid.

December 19, 2012

Today we received an email from “Jane”, a marketer who claimed she was “doing some research on bloggers in the legal field” and said she “found [our] site while [she] was researching websites that may be looking for guest bloggers.”

Already I know that she is either 1) lying; or 2) really, really bad at research. I think we’ve made our position regarding third party marketing pretty clear before, and we’ve surely never expressed an interest in guest bloggers.

Either way, I’m already not inclined to hire her for anything.  Read the rest of this entry »


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,645 other followers