Has someone been posting false information about you on a public shaming website? Is someone attacking your business with negative reviews on Google? If so, you have an internet defamation issue.
If you know you need someone to help stop the defamation, but you are not sure whether you need to hire an attorney, you have found the right article.
Here at Minc Law, we are seasoned internet defamation experts. We have successfully helped over 2,500 people with online defamation issues. Many of our clients and potential clients come to us with similar questions when they first reach out. Below are the questions and answer people often initially ask when deciding whether to hire an internet defamation attorney:
Video: Our Most Frequently Asked Questions by Defamation Clients
- What is defamation of character on the internet and why do I need a lawyer who deals with internet defamation?
- Are internet defamation lawyers criminal or civil lawyers?
- Can I hire an internet defamation lawyer if they are located in a different state?
- What qualifications do internet defamation lawyers have?
- Are internet defamation lawyers licensed attorneys?
- Can U.S. internet defamation lawyers help me if I do not live in the United States?
- Will an internet defamation lawyer take my internet defamation case on contingency?
- Are internet defamation lawyers affiliated with suspicious websites?
In this article, we will answer each question in detail. Let us start by explaining what exactly an internet defamation lawyer does.
What is Internet Defamation & Why Do I Need a Lawyer Who Deals With Internet Defamation?
Internet defamation is libel that has been posted on a website which results in reputational harm. It can happen on any online platform including social media, forums, blogs, videos, and shaming sites. Internet defamation does not include defamatory statements made offline (e.g. via spoken statements, traditional mail, letter, or publication).
Internet defamation is a relatively new area of law that is highly specialized. As internet use has soared globally, new legal issues have popped up. While defamation existed long before the internet, the internet has added complexity to an age-old old problem.
The internet enables people to share defamatory statements with millions of users around the globe. In the past, defamation involved much smaller audiences. The internet also allows for some degree of anonymity, making it more difficult to identify the defamer.
In a nutshell, internet defamation lawyers must understand how to handle these new challenges that did not always exist.
As the internet changes, laws change as well. As a result, a few law firms and attorneys have started focusing their practices on internet law and defamation. Lawyers who concentrate on this area of law remove defamatory posts, identify anonymous posters, and analyze complex electronic data. They also protect the interests of their clients through litigation (and other legal means).
Defamation Lawsuit Tip: Proving defamation damages in a lawsuit can be a challenge. If you think a defamation lawsuit may be in your future, begin documenting damages as soon as possible. Start with hard documentary evidence such as bank statements and legal fee invoices. Beyond that, record any expenses you incur to mitigate damages, medical expenses (like therapy invoices) you incurred as a result of the defamation, and lost earnings, clients, or revenue.
Are Internet Defamation Lawyers Criminal or Civil Lawyers?
Internet defamation lawyers are civil attorneys. They file civil lawsuits. They cannot press or pursue criminal charges for defamation. If you want to file charges against someone, you need to speak to your local police force.
There are some states that have criminal defamation laws, but people rarely go to jail for defamation. It is usually best for clients to pursue defamation as a civil matter.
What an amazing experience to hire a company and for them to actually over delivered. Thank you Melanie for your professionalism and thank you to everyone that made the removal of that awful link so extremely fast.
Alexandra, Mar 12, 2019
Can I Hire an Internet Defamation Lawyer if They Are Located in a Different State?
Yes, an internet defamation lawyer from another state can represent you. However, this is determined on a case by case basis, especially if litigation is required.
While lawyers are only able to physically practice law in the state where they are licensed, they can help clients in other states from their home state by following certain rules.
At Minc Law, we represent clients in other states regularly. In fact, over 90% of our clients are typically located outside of Ohio, where our office is located. So for cases that don’t involve litigation, representing clients anywhere in the world is almost never a problem. In cases that involve litigation, we represent clients by partnering with local counsel. We may also ask another state for temporary admission to practice pro hac vice. Learn more about this process in our article, “Can an Attorney in Another State Represent Me?” This is a fairly standard and seamless process.
To find an internet defamation lawyer near you, contact your local bar association. You can also search online for “internet defamation lawyer + [your location]” (e.g. “internet defamation lawyer + Ohio). Avvo.com is another great directory you can use to search for internet defamation attorneys.
Internet Defamation Fact: In many cases, filing a lawsuit against an anonymous attacker is the only way to obtain their identifying information. This is because some internet companies will not turn over private user data without a subpoena or court order to remove content. This can be achieved by filing a ”John Doe” lawsuit. After the attacker’s identity is known, you can remove the content they’ve posted, prevent future attacks, and possibly even obtain a monetary reward for damages.
What Qualifications Do Internet Defamation Lawyers Have?
Internet defamation lawyers are licensed attorneys who have experience in internet defamation. This means they are up-to-date on internet defamation law and changes to the law.
Because they deal almost exclusively with internet defamation-related issues they have an intimate understanding of the toll online defamation can take on a victim. They are sympathetic advocates who know how important online reputation is in the modern era.
Beyond the more obvious qualifications, internet defamation lawyers must be tech-savvy. They must know how search engines operate and often have to launch online investigations to identify anonymous defamers. These skills must also cover online investigation services for businesses that are the target of brand defamation and negative fake review attacks.
Video: Everything You Should Know About Minc Law’s Online Investigation Services
Are Internet Defamation Lawyers Licensed Attorneys?
Believe it or not, this is a serious question that people ask! That is okay, we completely understand that being defamed online can cause confusion.
Online attacks turn lives upside down, and most people never expect to be in such a situation. It is only natural to feel overwhelmed and full of questions.
To get to the point: yes, internet defamation attorneys are licensed attorneys. If you are unsure whether someone is an attorney, you can call their state’s Supreme Court to check on their status. For Ohio, you can search for any licensed attorney at the Ohio Supreme Court’s website.
Can U.S. Internet Defamation Lawyers Help Me If I Don’t Live in the United States?
Yes, internet defamation lawyers in the United States can represent clients that live abroad. In fact, sometimes clients need a U.S. attorney to deal with companies and internet service providers (ISPs) based in the U.S.
Bottom line: As long as your situation has some sort of tie to the United States, U.S. internet defamation attorneys should be able to assist.
Will an Internet Defamation Lawyer Take My Internet Defamation Case on Contingency?
When working with attorneys, a “contingency fee” means you only pay for the legal services if you win. You have probably seen ads for attorneys promising, “no win, no fee,” which means they offer contingency fees. For a quick review of different legal fee structures, check out our article, “What is a Retainer Fee Agreement & How Does It Work?”
Very few (if any) law firms offer contingency fees for internet defamation cases. There is a good reason for this: defamation cases, in general, present far more challenges than normal personal injury type cases as contingency matter.
The First Amendment protections on free speech make defamation cases challenging to litigate. Freedom of speech is a deep-seated American value that cannot be arbitrarily restricted.
Since defamation cases always entail some form of speech, attorneys have to overcome a slew of defenses and collect substantial evidence to prove a defendant has made statements that do not fall under First Amendment protections. Also, unlike most personal injury cases (like an injury from a car accident or slip in fall), defamation cases rarely are covered by large insurance policies to get paid. This makes pursuing cases with potential high damage awards impractical. We certainly pursue monetary awards and damages in many cases and collect substantial amounts for clients. It just doesn’t make sense in most circumstances for us or our client to handle the matter as a contingency for either party.
Beyond that, our extensive experience has shown that most defamation victims are primarily concerned with removing the negative content. When a victim’s reputation is being attacked, they just want the behavior to stop. Sometimes filing a lawsuit is the only way to achieve this goal, however. We tend to primarily focus on stopping continuing harm by removing defamatory content and getting injunctive relief against a defamer to make sure it never happens again.
Once a lawsuit is filed, various factors influence the total costs. This makes it difficult to predict exactly how much a case will cost. For more information about our pricing, please visit the Minc Law Pricing Page.
Pro hac vice Fact: “Pro hac vice” means “for this occasion” in Latin. As the phrase indicates, the pro hac vice process may allow a lawyer licensed out of state to appear for the limited purpose of one lawsuit. Pro hac vice admission enables internet defamation attorneys to represent clients in different states as long as they follow the local rules of the other jurisdiction.
Are Internet Defamation Lawyers Affiliated With Suspicious Websites?
No, internet defamation attorneys are not affiliated with suspicious websites! Some sites may list a law firm or attorney as a removal option, yet attorneys cannot request these types of endorsements.
Such affiliations would be unethical and attorneys could risk losing their license to practice law. The Rules of Professional Conduct strictly limit what attorneys can and cannot do. While different states have different rules of professional conduct, most follow the general guidelines of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct.
It would be highly unethical for an attorney to receive kickbacks from websites for removing negative content. In doing so, these actions could be grounds for disciplinary action against the attorney (or possibly result in losing their license to practice law).
Learn More About the Internet Defamation Lawyers of Minc Law
At Minc Law, we pride ourselves on transparency. We provide free educational content to answer common questions about U.S. defamation laws. Our goal is to give you the information you need to make an educated decision.
Interested in learning more of our most frequently asked questions?
“Melanie and the team at Minc did a great job taking offensive posts down of several websites. Quick and efficient, with good communication during the whole process. I can’t thank them enough!”
Anonymous, January 21, 2021
If you would like to schedule a consultation, complete our contact form or call us at 216-373-7706.