Five Tips for Selecting the Best FTC Defense Lawyer for Your Case
An experienced attorney is all but imperative for individuals and businesses facing an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). FTC investigations are very nuanced and involve complex issues that are unfamiliar to most. However, not all FTC defense lawyers offer the same value to those facing an FTC investigation.
If you or your business is under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission, you should be sure to hire an experienced FTC defense attorney. The more experience an attorney has, the more likely they will have handled a case very similar to yours, giving them a unique perspective on what you can do to quickly and efficiently wrap-up the investigation.
As Dr. Nick Oberheiden, Founding Attorney of Oberheiden, P.C., recently explained:
FTC investigations are complex, and while there are many attorneys who are willing to take on these cases, clients should be selective when deciding which FTC defense firm to work with. Clients are best served by selecting an attorney who has worked with businesses in the same industry, and successfully handled similar investigations in the past. Otherwise, clients run the risk of needing to pay their attorney to get up to speed or—worse yet—having an attorney who is unprepared to handle their case.
Here are a few tips to consider when deciding which FTC defense attorney to hire to represent you in your case:
1. Inquire About Their Experience
A quick Google search for FTC lawyers provides dozens of law firms vying for your business. Many of these firms will tout “years” or “decades” of experience. However, only very few FTC defense firms routinely handle active FTC investigations. When meeting with an attorney, be sure to ask them where all their experience comes from. In many cases, you’ll find out that these attorneys handle a wide range of seemingly unrelated matters. When dealing with such a complex area of law, having specific, hands-on experience is critical to the success of your case. You wouldn’t trust your primary care provider to perform brain surgery, and you shouldn’t let a general practitioner handle your FTC investigation case.
2. Ask Out Who Will Handle Your Case
Many FTC defense and compliance law firms list only the most experienced or successful attorneys on their websites. When you set up a consultation to speak with a lawyer, you may even meet with a partner or senior associate. However, that is not necessarily the lawyer who will be handling your case. When you hire a law firm to represent you in an FTC investigation, you are hiring the firm. It is then up to the firm to decide which attorney is going to handle your case. Unless you ask, a firm is under no obligation to tell you who you will be working with.
Some FTC defense law firms actually have former U.S. Attorneys, Department of Justice trial lawyers, or other law enforcement officers or prosecutors. Having an attorney who has worked on the enforcement side of an FTC investigation can provide you with extremely valuable insight, as they know how the FTC sees certain issues and makes decisions.
When meeting with an FTC defense lawyer, it is important that you ask which of the firm’s attorneys will be handling your case. This is important because you don’t want to be under the impression that you’re going to be working with (and paying for) a high-level attorney, only to find out that they assigned your case to a new associate.
3. Find Out if They Have Handled Similar Cases for Other Clients
Not all FTC investigations are the same. It is critical that you choose an FTC defense attorney who is not only experienced handling the specific type of investigation you are facing, but also one who has worked with similar businesses in the past. The more a lawyer knows about your underlying business, the better they will understand the nature of the potential violation and how to defend against it.
The nature and extent of an FTC investigation will depend, in part, on the type of potential violation, but also on the nature of the business, the FTC is looking in to. When selecting an attorney to represent you in an FTC investigation, it is imperative that you work with a lawyer who has specific experience helping clients who were in a similar situation to the one that you find yourself in. For confidentiality reasons, don’t be surprised if a lawyer cannot give you the specific names of parties they represented, but they should be able to give you details about former clients’ cases, how they were able to help, and what the outcome of the investigation was. If an attorney seems uncomfortable discussing this with you, chances are that they don’t have experience working with similar businesses.
4. Ask About Their Track Record
When meeting with a lawyer, don’t be afraid to ask them about the outcomes of their previous cases. You want to hire a lawyer who is not only experienced, but also who has been able to effectively wrap-up an FTC investigation for their clients. A lawyer may not be able to get into specifics, but they should be able to tell you how they helped other clients in similar situations deal with the FTC investigation, and the outcome of those cases.
5. Make Sure You Get Along
This may go without saying, but you will be working closely with your attorney throughout the FTC investigation process. For many clients, being able to get along with their lawyer is a critical part of this process. Personalities differ, and a successful attorney may be great at handling the FTC lawyers, but, if they are hard to work with, you are losing out on one of the benefits of working with a lawyer: peace of mind. An experienced FTC defense attorney can provide you with much-needed peace of mind through what is invariably a stressful process. If the thought of picking up the phone and calling your attorney causes you stress, you’re already not getting everything you deserve.
If you or your business is facing an FTC investigation, don’t take on the FTC alone. An attorney can make your life much easier, and help you work towards a favorable outcome. When selecting an attorney, take your time, because this is a major decision that is worth devoting as much time as necessary to get right.