Contact Us for a Free Consultation 914-371-3600


Lawyers and Online Marketing-a Hazardous Mix

Posted by Andrew J. Barovick | Jun 03, 2012 | 0 Comments

In  Vilella v. AT &T ,  a New York lawyer learned the hard way that the internet is chock full of unscrupulous sales people and tactics.  But perhaps the most important lesson for New York lawyers is that judges will be less than sympathetic to those who are motivated to take these charlatans of the internet to court.

At least, this is what happened when Vilella, a bankruptcy attorney, sued to rescind the contract with the marketer and recover monetary damages.  Essentially, Justice Carol Robinson Edmead, of NY County Supreme Court, found that Mr. Vilella should have known better than to involve himself in such a contract, because he is, after all, a lawyer.  The Court will conduct a hearing, however, on the issue of substantive unconscionability.

What is the take away here? For me, Mr. Vilella is a hero. I, too, have fallen for promises that sounded too good to be true, and were, of course.  Sure, I read the contract. But (1) the contracts are misleading; and (2) I, probably like Mr. Vilella, was excited by the idea of getting quick traction on the internet through somebody else's efforts–somebody who does this for a living.  Of course I jumped.  And the unscrupulous internet marketers have always relied on an unfortunate reality among the solo and small-firm lawyers upon whom they prey. We don't have time to come after them.  We are too busy trying to serve our clients and stay afloat.  In this way, such marketers are as craven and depraved as the health insurance industry, which denies claims its employees know to be legitimate, knowing that the beneficiaries are too sick, too busy, or both, to take the time to fight for what they are entitled to.  Mr. Vilella has at least called these unscrupulous online marketers out, as many of more of would have liked to do.

The other lesson is this. If you are a small firm or solo lawyer, there are better and less expensive ways to market your practice, and to do so in a way that you have control over.  Blogging, public speaking, using social media, attending networking events–all of these can help, and require nothing more than time and sweat equity.

About the Author

Andrew J. Barovick

Mr. Barovick is a graduate of Columbia College and Cardozo School of Law. He began his legal career at the Queens District Attorney’s Office, where he tried over 20 felonies to verdict, and argued an equal number of appeals before the Appellate Division, Second Department, the New York Court of Appeals and the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.


There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment


$7.9 million dollars for infant client who suffered severe brain injuries due to post- delivery medical malpractice.

$500,000 wrongful death/medical malpractice settlement on behalf of patient brought to hospital emergency room with serious injuries who suffered complications while unmonitored and died.

$425,000 wrongful death/medical malpractice settlement during trial on behalf of senior hospital patient whose surgeon failed to timely address her worsening symptoms, resulting in her death.

$250,000 to young man whose physician failed to diagnose an impending torsion testicle, causing the loss of the affected testicle.

$200,000 to young mother whose OB/GYN failed to timely diagnose and treat her ectopic pregnancy, resulting in excruciating, long-term pain and the need for surgery to address the ectopic pregnancy once it was diagnosed.