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Plaintiff’s trial lawyers: use restraint on Internet Marketing

November 14, 2004

A recent article in The Times of India was titled How to Become a Millionaire. The article was about how Indian citizens may be able to recover huge sums against Merck on Vioxx claims by hiring American lawyers through the Internet.

I was a plaintiff’s trial lawyer for 17 years during which I was a board member of my state’s trial lawyers association and sustaining member of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America. I found the Internet a great marketing tool, not for crass advertising, but to educate average people on their rights and responsibilities under the law. Just so happened that the more information I provided people via my Web site, the more my business grew.

I think the majority of plaintiff’s trial lawyers do some great things to help people. In regard to Merck, I trust they will be held accountable for any of their wrongs. I just ask that those good lawyers, when marketing through the Internet do it by sincere educational marketing. Look at the Internet marketing you are doing — do not throw money at Internet marketing companies just trying to get hits to a Web site who do not give a darn whether that helps your business, your image, the public and the reputation of our profession in the long run.

Take a look at what The Times of India Reported:

One website estimates that Merck may have to pay $5 billion, so users could get $2.5 million each. Vioxx may have killed over a 100,000 people, so relatives of those killed by heart attacks can sue too. Those Indians who imported Vioxx or purchased it while abroad can sign up with US lawyers advertising on the internet. An internet search through Goggle yields a plethora of entries from lawyers. One says that lawyers are paying $200 (Rs 9,000) to people just to sign up!

It goes on to say, “You will receive a document showing how an average person can benefit from this once-in-lifetime opportunity to become a millionaire. There are still places you can buy Vioxx after the recall, you can find them online. Merck is still 100 per cent responsible for any side-effect. The purchase is risk-free, as Merck has to pay you every penny you spend on Vioxx, including tax and shipping.”

Lawyers have a wonderful opportunity to Market themselves via the Internet. Done right, the medium is so much more effective in the long run than yellow page, television, radio and newspaper ads. Let’s not blow the opportunity presented.

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