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October 2009
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December 2009

November 2009 Reaches One Million Hit Mark

You may recall, we launched this last year, a Pligg site for law.  We have created more legal categories than any other site out there, with over 100 categories of legal content including some irreverent ones.

We are proud to announce that OverFlow Legal currently has over 3,500 members and has done over 1,000,000 hits on its web pages since we launched at the beginning of the year.  If you would like to submit any of your blog posts to OverFlow Legal, do so by registering here.

If you’re wondering about some of the cool categories which exist on OverFlow Legal, check these out:

Interview with William Patry, Author of Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars

The growth of the Internet has created new paradigms and tested old boundaries.  In the areas of trademark infringement and copyright infringement those old boundaries may have met their match. 

William Patry is the chief copyright lawyer for Google and recently authored the book Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars.  In this interview concerning copyright wars on Traverse Legal Radio interview, Mr. Patry discusses the controversy concerning the premise of the book that rhetoric is dominating the discussions between copyright owners and those who seek to reuse, build upon and innovate prior works. 

How Attorneys Can Stop Being Perceived as Ambulance Chasers

If there ever was a derogatory term for a lawyer, it is this – being called an ambulance chaser is similar to being compared to a vulture; you’re portrayed as being responsible for sucking the blood out of someone who is literally fighting for their life. It’s not hard to understand why all personal injury lawyers are tarred with the same brush even though some of them are decent human beings who value their ethics and morals – we hear of them hounding people to file cases, suing people who have done nothing except be in the wrong place at the wrong time for absurd amounts of money, clogging up the courts and in general, making a mockery of our judicial system.

Attorneys can stop being perceived as heartless ambulance chasers who are out to scam people of their money if only they:

Continue reading "How Attorneys Can Stop Being Perceived as Ambulance Chasers" »

Is Your Blogging In Violation of the New FTC Regulations Concerning Endorsements?

I have seen a few significant changes in blogging over the years, but none that may be quite as important or wide-ranging as the new FTC regulations, 16 CFR Part 255, concerning endorsements. Effective December 1, 2009, bloggers who endorse a product or service must disclose whether they have a "material connection" to the advertiser that might affect the weight or credibility of the endorsement.  This means that bloggers that receive cash or any other payment, including free products, for their endorsement must disclose that connection.  The new regulations contain a number of examples that illustrate the various situations that may constitute a "material connection," but none of them are particularly illuminating.

The new regulations also require advertisements that convey a consumer's experience with a product or service as typical when, in reality, it is not, to disclose what the typical results would be.  Advertisers can no longer portray a result and disclaim it with fine print that says, "Results not typical."  The rules for celebrity endorsements under Part 255 have also changed.  Celebrities must disclose their connections with an advertiser and both parties can now be held liable for untruthful or misleading advertising.  Celebrities also must disclose their relationships with advertisers when they promote products outside of traditional commercials or print advertising, such as on talk shows or in interviews.Finally, if an advertisement refers to a scientific study for support, the advertiser must disclose his or her relationship to the researcher or research agency.

There are several other changes in the law that must also be complied with, as well as several new examples to illustrate the application of the pre-existing rules that have been in effect since 1980.  It is important that bloggers understand these rules and examples because they can be held liable for up to $11,000 per post for a violation.  It is a changing blogging world out there, and it seems as if the law is starting to catch up.

The Chicken or the Egg? Changing Practice Areas in Challenging Times

I know a lot of lawyers who are struggling right now in this down economy.  Business lawyers, especially, are challenged since the companies they represent are either upside down or have little spare cash to spend on contract drafting, employee issues and litigation.  To those who want to refocus their practice areas into growth areas such as being an internet lawyer, intellectual property attorney, or some other niche practice area which continues to be strong, they will have to answer the age-old “chicken or egg” question. 

Do they wait for a client with that special need to find them before digging deep into that practice area and developing/expanding their expertise? Or do they expand that expertise on their own dime and then go out and try and get the business?

Continue reading "The Chicken or the Egg? Changing Practice Areas in Challenging Times" »

Is Competition Felt in the Legal Market?

I always believed that lawyers somehow created a legal market which avoids, rather than encourages, competition.  If you are a person or company who doesn’t have their own in-house legal department, your historical ability to consider and analyze different law firms is extremely limited.  The lack of attorney advertising made publicly available information about lawyers and law firms virtually non-existent.

While lawyers have managed to insulate themselves from many capitalistic forces, the internet has indeed brought a higher level of competition to the legal market.

Continue reading "Is Competition Felt in the Legal Market?" »

The Best Part about Value Billing

The best part about value billing is the focus it places on delivering value.  For all of the chatter about the simplicity of hourly billing and the supposed challenges presented when you have to define deliverables and quote a flat fee, the most important point is sometimes lost.  By talking value, thinking value, and quoting value, you are compelled to deliver value.  Flat fee projects and defined deliverables get really easy when all discussions concerning the project’s scope, price and the rest is driven by whether or not the client is going to receive value at a particular price point.  As the lawyer works through the deliverable list, the entire focus is on ensuring value. At the end of the project, the lawyer’s focus is on identifying the value provided for the client review and consideration. 

If a lawyer doesn’t deliver the value promised, the client most certainly won’t return.