Finding a US Internet Law Attorney might not be easy, particularly if you are looking for a good one.
For people who live in the UK, finding an internet law attorney in the USA to assist you with your litigation in the UK or in the USA might not be easy, particulary if you are looking for a good one.
Who might need the services of a USA attorney
The global nature of the internet means that it is common for internet companies who are based in the USA to hold information about UK citizens which could be useful for litigants in the UK. Cross border internet law litigation could be very tricky. More and more individuals and companies from the UK, find themselves having to search for a USA internet law attorney to assist them with internet law related litigation. Yair Cohen, a lawyer with London based internet law specialist firm Cohen Davis, explained that in instances where you may need a court order, or a disclosure order, a subpoena or an injunction against a USA based website operator, you will need to make sure that your attorney knows how litigation in England works. To obtain a disclosure subpoena, you will need to file a complaint in the appropriate USA state or federal court.
A “complaint” is the equivalent of a “claim“ in England. The backbone upon which the court can relay before granting a disclosure relief. As a general rule, the complaint, or the claim are necessary to open your case with the court, whether in the USA or the UK. The big questions is where should you open your case. Should it be opened in a US court or in a UK court. If you open your case in the USA, this might have implications on your ability to then start a case in a UK court if it turns out that the defendant is based in England.
Why it is important to deal with an expert USA internet law attorney
The risks of instructing the wrong internet law attorney to handle an internet law case for a claimant who is based in the UK could be substantial. An attorney who is not an exclusive internet law attorney could possibly cause irreversible reputational damage to the unsuspected client. This is in addition to charging excessive fees and to potentially compromising the case in England. It could be difficult for people from England to find the right attorney in the USA.
The internet can be misleading and it is very possible that a law firm will claim that it can obtain a disclosure subpoena for you but that the attorneys might be lacking the specific experience that is needed when handling cross border internet law matters. When it comes to internet law related issues, it is better to exercise care because there could be significant implications if you get things wrong. The implications might be legal, financial and reputational. With internet law, there are just too many things that can go astray. For example, a procedural error with your disclosure application could result in the dismissed of your compliant or claim.
This could lead to aggravated attacks by the defenders or by the website operators, who might interpret your request for an information subpoena as an attack on free speech. If you make subpoena request out of time or outside the correct jurisdiction or to the wrong court within the jurisdiction or in the wrong state, you might find that it becomes nearly impossible to reinstate the case in a different jurisdiction. Not every attorney that you might hire to obtain a disclosure order for you in the USA will have an understanding of international jurisdictional issues.
In fact, only a few will have, which means that there is a risk that the USA attorney might treat your case as if it was a common USA litigation case rather than a UK or an international litigation. This could result in your application for a USA disclosure order either failing or becoming useless. In some cases, defendants claimed that once you had made your choice of jurisdiction the USA, instead of England.
How to avoid common pitfalls with UK and USA internet law litigation
Internet Law Leadership Summit (ILLS) is a network of attorneys from the US, Canada and Europe. It was established in 2012 by a group of specialist internet law attorneys who felt the need to provide each other with regular professional updates and with networking and referral opportunities to other trusted internet law specialist attorneys.
The idea was to assist their clients with specialist legal representation across the different states in the USA and to keep their professional knowledge, expertise and standards of representation to the highest on a consistent basis. The group has since expanded to include attorneys from Canada, England and Spain. All the members, who meet at least once a year, are personally selected by invitation, based on credentials and speciality.
As most individuals from the UK have had little dealings with internet law US attorneys, finding and instructing the right one could be a painful task, particularly when considering this unfamiliar area of law and the specific jurisdictional issues that exist in the USA. All the members of the network are internet law specialists who have been working together for some years. Having a good attorney in the US is vitally important, if you are based, or live in the UK, and if your internet law claim has a USA link to it. Yair is the English representative to the group and a regular attendee at the group annual conferences.
Why instruct a specialist internet lawyer
In terms of internet law, the most common requirement for UK citizens from US internet law attorneys is to help obtain disclosure orders against operators of websites which are based in the USA and/or to bring legal proceedings for defamation or harassment that occur on the internet. In other cases, there might be issues of enforcement of intellectual property, which would require legal action which involves a UK and a USA based attorneys.