This blog entry is going to be out of the ordinary, but I am writing it so that you understand who you are speaking to over the phone, and who is the person behind the TorrentLawyer™ name that I’ve been using since we took our first IP address-based copyright infringement “John Doe” client in 2010.
The premise of this article is simply that I might not be your attorney simply because for good reasons, I limit the number of clients our firm has at any one point, and limit the number of time slots I make available on our 3rd party appointment site (/calendar/), sometimes making no appointments available on a particular day, or for days at a time. This does not mean that I will not speak to you — I have spent literally thousands of hours taking calls over the last seven years helping thousands of John Doe Defendants knowing that they will not end up being my client. I still take the call (time permitting), and I arrange to speak to them if they need my assistance.
Because there will be times where I do not take your call, and there will be times that I tell you that I will not take you as a client, I still encourage you to take from my TorrentLawyer blog all that you can get from it. I wrote the blog to be an educational treasure trove.
If I cannot take you as a client, or if I cannot take your call, I do have a long list of attorneys who I could refer you to (and I would tell you if I trusted them, and whether I have seen them fight cases in the past, or whether they are ‘no-name’ ‘me-too’ ‘discount’ attorneys who have read this blog and have thrown up a shingle). Some of these attorneys are more expensive, some are even less expensive than even the ‘discount’ attorneys who do no work, but charge you for time they never spend on your matter. With any referral, I am happy to share that I have never asked [nor will I ever ask] for a referral fee from these attorneys. [Good information deserves to be shared, and don’t think that I am some angel because I am doing all of this for you — the law firm is a business, but it is MY business, and I run it according to MY values.]
And why do I know which attorneys are ‘good’ and which are not? Because I have been involved with almost every copyright holder (in one form or another) who has filed “John Doe” lawsuits against downloaders, whether actively representing clients, helping non-clients on the back end to understand what is going on, or passively lurking in cases and showing up to hearings even if I have no clients in that case (plaintiff attorneys often are no-shows, so I can often ‘do good’ from an activist perspective by speaking to the clerk or the judges about the cases they have called).
On top of that, there are a number of back-end channels a number of us attorneys use to communicate with each other, e.g., to resolve an issue that happens with a particular copyright attorney, or to discuss a case, a plaintiff, a strategy, or to share our work with less experienced attorneys who benefit dearly from seeing what other attorneys have already done in other courts as “IP address-based copyright infringement case law” is developed. For these reasons, I know who is who, and I know who I trust and who I mistrust. So if I cannot take you as a client, I will happily put you in good hands — the kind of hands I would myself allow myself to be put into were I a John Doe Defendant in a copyright infringement lawsuit.
EXPLANATION OF LIMITED AVAILABILITY:
Now you know why it is me who answers the phone when you schedule a consultation with our firm. If you want to know about me from a more personal standpoint (who exactly is the lawyer you have entrusted your case with), you can read up on me on the “About The Author” page (this will open in a new page so that you won’t lose your spot here). Once you finish reading that, you will know why I defend these cases, and I hope by now you know why I take those accused of p-iracy as clients (spelled that way on purpose), even though I do believe in copyright rights, fair competition, and the like.
A number of you have asked me why I only make 2-3 appointments available each day (and I often even limit this). The answer is simply because I do not believe in ‘scaling up’ my law firm to turn the copyright trolling business into a mega profit center or a turn-key business. I do not run ads (although I have thought about it to knock out those who advertise but secretly represent the copyright holders in forcing a settlement using scare tactics (doing the plaintiff attorney’s job) regardless of guilt. I call these attorneys by many names, such as “defense attorneys in name only,” etc., but for professional reasons, let’s just keep it at that there are good defense attorneys, and there are bad defense attorneys (‘good’ and ‘bad’ being a measure of whether they really represent you or the copyright holders).
I am happy to share that you have found this blog simply from the good work we have done over the years, in spite of more than a few attorneys spending thousands of dollars each month on paid ads, running websites which quite frankly are devoid of content. My opinion is that if you have been implicated as a John Doe Defendant in a copyright infringement lawsuit, then you are hurting enough and you do not need some attorney targeting you, to advertise to you.
In short, because I have spent a considerable effort to keep our law firm ‘small’, and because I personally handle each and every IP address-based lawsuit and defense client (with as much help from my staff as I can leverage), I literally am limited on the number of clients our firm can take each week.
Let me be clearer. I am not limited on resources, nor am I limited on time. I simply believe that if a client hires me to represent him, then I should represent him competently. Our area of law can easily swallow up an attorney with more clients than an attorney can handle, and there are ‘shark’ attorneys who will accept each and every client that is willing to pay them a dollar. However, this is simply a reality of my practice — I do my best to serve my client, and to do so without overwhelming our firm with more clients than we can handle.
For those who have tried to reach me (the firstname.lastname@example.org e-mail is best), it is common for me to make myself available at all hours of the day, and as many of you know, sometimes all hours of the night (family time and courtroom time excluded). I joke that when we are working on a case, our candles burn throughout the night. Because I believe in what we do, if I can be of service to someone in need of my time (whether or not they are a client, and whether they are staring down the barrel of a subpoena forwarded to them from their ISP), I am always around via e-mail (obviously, with the exception of times which are dedicated to being with my family or handling other cases). There was a time when our firm was just starting out and we were hungry — I would sometimes take calls all day and into the evening hours — but now, because of the large number of calls that come in each day, I ask potential clients to set up an appointment to speak to me, and I do purposefully limit the time slots available based on the number of clients we are serving.
In the interest of not writing a book, I have used up enough of both your and my time. In the “About The Author” article, my goal was to communicate to you who I am, why I have always taken the defense side of the copyright infringement lawsuits, why I believe in what we are doing, and why you have been taken advantage of by the copyright holders, even if you are the true downloader and are ‘guilty’ of the claims filed against you in this copyright lawsuit.
In this article, I explained why I believe in keeping our law firm small, and why I limit both the number of clients I take each week (which shows up to you as ‘unavailable’ time slots on our booking site). However, even if I will not take you as a client, I am still happy to speak to you and at the very minimum help you understand what you are facing, along with your options as to how to proceed.
At the very minimum, if I cannot take you as a client, please take whatever gems you can take from this article, from our phone call (ask me any questions that would be of assistance to you), and from the TorrentLawyer blog. This blog spans almost seven years, and in each article, I have taught concepts that you need to know about when defending claims against copyright holders (I refer to them as ‘copyright trolls’ throughout the blog). Many of the articles are years old, but “IP address copyright law” [as we call it] is a new area of law which is an offshoot of copyright infringement, and seven years ago, it did not exist. Thus, while you might see an article on personal jurisdiction, or a legal argument about joinder from 2012, these articles are just as valid today as they were years ago. So please, use this blog, take what you can from it in order to help you defend your case, and if I can be of service to you, I look forward to serving you as a client.