Advertising and E-Commerce Law

  • 31 October, 2023
  • 3.03 GB

Coming up on this episode of the Justice Team podcast, host Bob Simon talks with legal influencer Rob Freund about e-commerce advertising, influencer law, and more. They delve into the risks of unsubstantiated claims, the role of influencers, social media for lawyers, law firm marketing, and helping brands mitigate legal risks. Listen now for valuable tips on referral networks and hosting successful social media giveaways from one of the industry’s best and brightest!

Robert Freund, Robert Freund Law


Bob Simon (00:07):
All right, listeners, welcome to this episode of the Justice Team Podcast, and today we’re very honored to have none other than Rob Freund, who we’re going to talk today about advertising in e-commerce. We’re going to talk about some influencer law. I consider Rob to be a pretty prominent legal influencer in the space. Rob, why don’t you just introduce yourself and I’ll give a little of your background, but why don’t you just say hello, I want to hear your voice for our listeners.

Robert Freund (00:32):
Hi, I am Rob Freund. Nice to be here. Appreciate the invite.

Bob Simon (00:35):
And he also has enormous biceps. If you’re watching on YouTube, it’s quite impressive. Well look at that. We made him blush. So Rob went to his undergrad at William and Mary in Virginia, and then to UC Davis, and he went to Greenberg Traurig. Am I saying that right?

Robert Freund (00:50):
Greenberg Traurig.

Bob Simon (00:51):

Robert Freund (00:52):

Bob Simon (00:52):
See I don’t hire those guys, so I don’t know how to pronounce it.

Robert Freund (00:54):

Bob Simon (00:55):
They’re kind of expensive.

Robert Freund (00:57):
They are a bit pricey.

Bob Simon (00:59):
So when did you start your own firm?

Robert Freund (01:01):
I left GT at the end of 2019 and opened in January of, no, I left at the end of 2018. Opened January, 2019.

Bob Simon (01:10):
Probably one of the best decisions you ever made?

Robert Freund (01:12):
I would say so. I mean, it was a long time coming and took a bit of planning and a lot of nervous nights before doing it, but it’s easier now to do that than it’s ever been. And once you have a plan in place and you’ve seen other people do it, becomes less daunting when you have a roadmap to do it.

Bob Simon (01:33):
I actually have a gift for you. I brought you, if you can see on for watching YouTube. Oh yeah. Some Monster Energy Zero Altar, which Rob once told me that is the nectar of the Gods. So much Good.

Robert Freund (01:43):
Yeah, that’s accurate. I mean, this is, I credit all my success to this beverage, so.

Bob Simon (01:48):
So we’re not endorsed by Monster Energy Drink. If you do want to endorse the show, it’s fine. Give us a call. I would tell you if you did endorse this, it is the greatest, most healthiest thing ever. Well, it made you lose a lot of weight. Is that ethical? Can I say stuff like that if I’m endorsing it?

Robert Freund (02:04):
Yeah, I mean, well, right now you’re not endorsing it, so you can say pretty much whatever you want.

Bob Simon (02:09):
So what would be the rule? Just for our listeners, because we see a lot of Instagram folks go out there and endorse products or services. Can I just say that about Monster? What if I’m getting paid and I just start making up a bunch of Hee-Haw?

Robert Freund (02:24):
If you’re not obviously joking and you actually had a connection with Monster and they reached out and wanted you to make some content, then the risk would be on the brand. If you’re out there making claims that Monster couldn’t support with the type of evidence that you need to support it. So if you go out and say, Monster will grow all your hair back, that’s going to be a problem for the brand because they’re not going to have, I don’t believe the scientific data you need to support that.

Bob Simon (02:52):
So what about the influencer saying it? What’s their blowback?

Robert Freund (02:57):
Well, probably they’re violating their contract that Monster would have with them, in terms of making claims that are unsubstantiated or false or misleading or something like that. Most influencer agreements from a sophisticated advertiser are going to have representations about what the influencer should or shouldn’t say or can and can’t say and what the consequences of that are.

Bob Simon (03:19):
So have you seen any type of those, because we see so much on, we see your social media, your LinkedIn, I mean, did they just find you at Rob Freund? I mean, is that your handles and all these things?

Robert Freund (03:30):
Yeah. It’s at Robert Freund Laws, and I’m most active on Instagram and Twitter and yeah, that’s how most people find me. Like 95% of my inbound leads come through Instagram and now Twitter that I’m paying more attention to it. But yeah, I haven’t spent any money on marketing.

Bob Simon (03:47):
Isn’t that crazy? I mean, we talk, well, a lot of us talk this all the time is, social media’s free.

Robert Freund (03:54):
Yeah. I mean it takes time. It’s an investment of your time if you’re going to be in control of it. And a lot of thought goes into creating it and producing the content, but you don’t necessarily, depending on your practice area, you don’t necessarily need to have ad spend to get your message out there and get eyeballs on what you’re doing.

Bob Simon (04:15):
And I’ve seen a lot of your stuff go viral and I’m not talking about the penicillin go viral, I’m talking about your stuff that you do, your social media posts, and a lot of it is just commenting on current news situations or things that’s going on with just selfie videos.

Robert Freund (04:30):
Yeah, so I started doing that probably six months after starting my firm and I was chatting with somebody about what I do and how some of the stuff I do focuses on social media marketing. And that person asked to see my Instagram page, and at the time it was just a placeholder. And he said, well look, if you’re trying to do work in that space, you need to have a better social media presence than this, which is kind of an obvious thing to say, but sometimes it takes someone else to tell you something obvious for it to click. And he said, look at this CPA, there’s this guy, Tyler McBroom, at the time he had a hundred thousand followers. Now he’s got close to a million. And what he was doing then and still does now, is he just takes one minute selfie videos going over issues that come up over and over again.

Can I write off my car? Can I take a deduction from my home office? Stuff he probably answers every single day. And this person I was chatting with was like, you should just do that for common legal stuff. And I thought that’s a good idea. So I was trying to do three to five videos a week and was pretty consistent about that on Instagram and a combination of posting consistently and then having those lucky moments where a big account will reshare it, can start, it gave me that critical mass of followers that then encouraged people to reshare it more and it just sort of snowballed from there.

Bob Simon (05:53):
But are you just putting out willy-nilly content or does it have a purpose for what you do?

Robert Freund (05:57):
Yeah, the thought was- initially I was just sort of following that format. What are the issues that I see come up either in legal blogs that I follow or cases that make the headlines or a lot of filings that I paid attention to, or previous or current clients have asked me multiple times and try to digest that in a way that’s not legalese that can actually, if it’s not just a matter of awareness, hopefully one practical takeaway within a minute, which is kind of a challenge. But that was the idea.

Bob Simon (06:33):
That’s the attention span for many listeners and viewers.

Robert Freund (06:35):
Yeah, it was also the maximum amount of time you could record on Instagram for a while. So the constraints of the platform forced me to figure out how to say stuff in a minute, and then I started mixing in things that were just commenting on cases that involve celebrities or public figures or stuff that’s more shareable because not everybody, very few people are probably intentionally on Instagram to get legal information, but this celebrity was sued for something relevant to my practice area. That stuff does pretty well too. So now that’s what I try to do, a mix of purely legal information, some entertainment stuff, and then some just joke posts.

Bob Simon (07:16):
We talked, ROI, return on investment, not a lot of lawyers. I mean most I didn’t, but a lot don’t have hundreds of thousands of dollars to spend on marketing or advertising, right. So you’re on both ends. So you help companies plan for these type of marketing advertise. Why don’t you tell our listeners about that and then how you do the other side where you do more of a, what do you call it, like a bootstrap type marketing for your firm and how it’s successful?

Robert Freund (07:42):
Yeah. So a lot of what I do is I represent direct to consumer brands who sell stuff online and marketing agencies. That’s probably like 80% of the client base. And a lot of what I do is if a client is about to run an ad campaign or if they already have a website or a sales funnel or something like that, and they want to understand what the risks are in terms of how they’re presenting whatever that marketing material is, I’ll do that assessment, identify what the issues are, identify if competitors in their space or similar entities have gotten in trouble for something similar. And then based on what I understand the client’s risk profile to be, some proposals to if something needs to be changed to bring it in line with what their risk tolerance is.

Bob Simon (08:31):
But who are they afraid of that’s going to come after them? Is this like the FTC? Is this another brand?

Robert Freund (08:37):
Yeah, it could be both of those. It could also be state attorneys general, and it can be consumers, consumer class actions, especially here in California, around false advertising issues are very popular and they’re not going away anytime soon. And oftentimes that’s the most immediate source of exposure for clients like this.

Bob Simon (08:58):
And a lot of that, if we see those class action one’s pop up, I see a lot of direct Instagram ads for it too. Have you bought this product? Blah, blah, blah, blah. I mean, most of those I see generate around false misrepresentations, right, like the product does. We talked about Monster growing hair, like Red Bull grows you wings, might’ve grown me a tail or a [inaudible 00:09:19], but certainly no fucking wings. But where’s the line? I mean obviously that’s parody. If Monster came to you right now and said, we want advertise this as a health drink. Let’s say it’s straight healthy, it has vitamins in it and we’re going to say it’s just the healthiest thing on the planet.

Robert Freund (09:35):
Yeah, healthy is one of those words that’s risky to use. It’s sort of in the same category as natural. And there’s a handful of words that are just targets for consumer class litigation because they’re not-

Bob Simon (09:49):
What are the seven deadly words, or the seven deadly words? What are the ones that George Carlin used to do, you remember that one? The seven? The FTC [inaudible 00:09:57] words. I won’t say them on air. I mean we could say fuck on here, no problem. But some of those other ones are real bad.

Robert Freund (10:01):
Yeah, I mean the bottom line is you have to think very carefully about the claims that you’re making, whether expressly or impliedly about any product or service.

Bob Simon (10:10):
So you clerk doing some consumer protection stuff here in California, right?

Robert Freund (10:18):
Yeah, it was in Alameda County, up in Oakland.

Bob Simon (10:21):
So I just want to pivot a little bit and talk about, because we have a lot of attorneys and young lawyers that listen to this podcast and also law students. When you’re making claims as a lawyer about results or about accreditation, what are some of the guidelines you can give them? We’re talking about these little one minute segments that we’ll probably- listeners are going to see over and over. This might be a good practical, if we have young lawyers on here, lawyers in general, what are some tips for them when they’re advertising their services and bolstering their credentials?

Robert Freund (10:55):
I can’t claim to be an expert on the rules of professional responsibility about advertising in every instance, and fortunately there’s an ethics hotline you can call that’s pretty helpful about answering those sorts of things. But I make sure that my content is not directed to anyone specifically. I couch it as legal information and not advice. I just sort of highlight an issue, things to keep in mind, best practices, things of that nature, and I make sure that I never guarantee any kind of result or if you work with me, you won’t be sued or make any kind of promise like that. As long as you avoid that, then what you’re doing is, my understanding is not really attorney advertising. I’m not making a solicitation by putting information out there on Instagram.

Bob Simon (11:42):
And I think that’s the number one takeaway if people are listening, is be informational educational first. If you get in trouble [inaudible 00:11:50] people, saying I’m a specialist in this and I get the best results.

Robert Freund (11:55):
Yeah, specialist is something you can’t say unless you meet certain criteria. There are certain fields of law where you can get a specialist certification in and then hold yourself out that way. But I never say anything like that. And a lot of times I’ll get people in comments asking very specific questions that are obviously about their scenario. And I’ll-

Bob Simon (12:16):
You’ll say slide into my DMs.

Robert Freund (12:18):
Yeah, or I’ll just DM them and say, you should probably remove that comment and if you do want to discuss that, here’s a link to book consultation.

Bob Simon (12:23):
Interesting. Yeah, I saw on your website, if you go to, is it

Robert Freund (12:28):

Bob Simon (12:30):
Robert Freud. We’re both named Roberts, but I went with Bob or Bobby, not Rob or Robbie.

Robert Freund (12:34):

Bob Simon (12:34):
Oh, my dad was big-

Robert Freund (12:35):
[inaudible 00:12:36] important decision for all Roberts to make.

Bob Simon (12:38):
Yeah, I think you have to make it. I think it was predetermined for me. Was it predetermined for you?

Robert Freund (12:42):
No, I was Robbie when I was a kid, and then I tried to move to Rob in eighth grade and it didn’t stick, and it took until college for me to make that happen.

Bob Simon (12:50):
You know it’s funny, throughout, everybody that knows me growing up, I’m Bobby. And the lawyer, they call me Robert, but all my friends just call me Bob.

Robert Freund (12:57):

Bob Simon (12:58):
It’s just weird because if I hear somebody up here, Bobby, Bobby, I’m like, oh fuck, who from 1998 is [inaudible 00:13:02].

Robert Freund (13:02):
Yeah. I’m the same way with Robbie and Robert and Rob.

Bob Simon (13:05):
[inaudible 00:13:05] interesting. This turned into a palindrome. Well, that was just Bob, but this turned into the Robert Show. Okay, so going back to this issue, sliding into the DMs and advice, so I noticed on your, you have book a consultation, go pick right on the calendar when to do it and the consultation. So what is the workflow? Because we have a lot, again, a lot of people probably trying to promote themselves that are watching on social media. We already told them, best practice give education. If somebody clicks a link on their Instagram, what’s your best practical advice for them to be able to get that lead? If somebody gives you that comment on there or they see something educational, they say, I want to talk to you about a case or this issue that I’m having, what’s the best way?

Robert Freund (13:45):
The way that I’ve set it up, my practice is one where I don’t really need to field a volume of calls and I don’t get, let me put it this way. I initially started not charging for consultations and I just had the link in my bio and I spent a lot of time, wasting time really talking with people who had questions that were completely outside of my wheelhouse or it just, obviously they either didn’t need a lawyer, things that were not good leads. And I realized that that was just taking up so much of my day that it was difficult to get the actual work done. So once I had enough of a client base where this practice was self-sustaining or at least feasible, I started charging for consultations and that was a real game changer because it weeded out the tire kickers. The people who actually had a question they wanted to explore are willing to have some [inaudible 00:14:44].

Bob Simon (14:43):
[inaudible 00:14:44] you can kind of tell based off of the question they ask you in the DM and maybe looking at their profile with the type of person that, right, I mean.

Robert Freund (14:50):
Yes. So if somebody DMs me with a question that’s obviously not something I can help with, I’ll just tell them that. And if it’s something where I think I can make a referral, I’ll try to do that too.

Bob Simon (15:00):
And are you able to- a lot of these people that are DMing you, these are what I call consumers that are looking for help, not other lawyers, or are they lawyers as well looking to retain them.

Robert Freund (15:11):
Sometimes it’s lawyers who are in a different practice area that will ask, “Hey, do you handle this type of thing? Can I make a referral?” And Instagram has been very useful for that actually.

Bob Simon (15:20):
That’s good. That’s very good.

Robert Freund (15:21):
Yeah, so that does happen. Most of the time, through social media, the people who have a question and ask it via DM first are individual creators who maybe a brand is using their image without their permission or, “Hey, this company stole my TikTok, can you help?” I get a lot of that, and oftentimes those are the sorts of questions where I can just point them into the direction of some information and it’s not, I can understand that it’s not something I would take on, that they really just have a quick informational question and I’ll respond to that. The brands and agencies I’ve found typically can find the consultation link in my bio and they’ll fill out the form and book a consultation and mention like, “Hey, love your stuff on social media”, something like that. So for my type of practice, it works well enough for me to just have the link there. Or if someone asks, “Hey, how can I get in touch with you?” I’ll just send them the link.

Bob Simon (16:21):
But your backend is all set up though, as soon as they click the link or you get pinged or your team gets pinged, that type of deal.

Robert Freund (16:27):
Right. Yeah.

Bob Simon (16:28):
And we talked up, you brought up another thing here is, influencers, law influencers. What are some things, a lot of common questions that you’re seeing now that they’re reaching out to you about whether it’s somebody ripping off their brand or they’re concerned about X, Y, Z, what are the common questions that you’re seeing in that arena?

Robert Freund (16:48):
Easily the most common is, “Hey, this brand is using my content without my permission.” And-

Bob Simon (16:53):
I think I hit you about that this weekend. My wife had an issue where somebody was literally taking a selfie video of her that she did for another company under contract, and this other company just said, selling their own product. It’s crazy.

Robert Freund (17:04):

Bob Simon (17:04):
[inaudible 00:17:05].

Robert Freund (17:05):
I had one this morning actually just before we started this, someone’s girlfriend had made a reaction video to her getting into college, and then she’s on TikTok and some online casinos using her reaction as trying to say that it looks like she’s winning money or something. So I mean, it happens all the time. Some of it is intentional by those businesses, then they just don’t care. And sometimes I’ll see that a brand will respond well, somewhere on our website we say that if you buy our product, we can use all the content you ever create, which it is just a misunderstanding crazy from their marketing team, how the law works on a fundamental level.

Bob Simon (17:50):
But you can’t do that?

Robert Freund (17:50):
Yeah, believe it or not, you can’t just write magic words on your website and have it control people.

Bob Simon (17:54):
But they can think they’re under control.

Robert Freund (17:55):

Bob Simon (17:56):

Robert Freund (17:57):
That happens all the time. And then, I mean, that’s easily the most common one. Sometimes it’ll be, “Hey, I granted this, or I created content for this brand and now they’re using it in a way that goes beyond what we agreed on.” So at least there was some kind of arrangement and then something happened where the usage rights were exceeded or the scope of them was exceeded or something like that.

Bob Simon (18:25):
So if you had to split up the pie on the type of clientele or the practice areas that you do, what would it be?

Robert Freund (18:32):
I mean, I was doing commercial litigation. That’s what I did for the first six and a half years at Greenberg Traurig. When I started my practice, I was probably like 80% litigation still, but I wanted to get away from that towards the sort of compliance work that I do now primarily. So probably 90% of what I’m doing is helping brands and marketing agencies understand where their risks are and adjust their campaigns if necessary to bring them into compliance in accordance with their risk tolerance.

Bob Simon (19:09):
Wow, that’s pretty cool stuff.

Robert Freund (19:11):
And then I do the contracts around that too. So if you’re an agency that needs to hire a bunch of influencers for your brand, I can put together the agreements on both sides of that.

Bob Simon (19:22):
Oh wow. Yeah, now we’re cooking with grease. I got some stuff to talk to you about.

Robert Freund (19:26):
Any type of… Any type of-

Bob Simon (19:27):
I actually saw you do a lot of some video game stuff.

Robert Freund (19:30):
Doing what?

Bob Simon (19:31):
Well, not only being a gamer, but you also helped- no you also helped a video game company with some of their stuff as well.

Robert Freund (19:38):
Yeah, I did. I’ve been sort of outside counsel for them for a while. When things come up they wanted to do, they have a pretty popular action sports video game, and from time to time they’ll enter into licensing agreements with skate brands to use the logos in the game or for DLC packs and things like that. They hosted their own eSports event with a contest.

Bob Simon (20:00):
Very cool.

Robert Freund (20:00):
So I set up the contest rules and the judging and the agreements with all the people who were involved with that, but most significantly for them, they were sued for, there was somebody who appeared in one of their games, the only person involved in the game who they did not get a publicity rights release from, and this person was trying to say that… The long and the short of it was in this game, there’s five professional skateboarders you can play as they’re identified by name, they’re recognizable, and then there’s the character that anybody can just create and modify. You can customize their skin color, their face, their hair, everything. And to create that character they did what’s essentially motion capture work with a guy who knows how to skate but is not famous.

That guy, years later after the game, found some success, tried to take a run at a publicity rights claim, and the client was very insistent on. A lot of times you’ll get a client who the beginning of a litigation will say, I don’t care what the expense is, I don’t care if I could settle this [inaudible 00:21:07].

Bob Simon (21:06):
[inaudible 00:21:07].

Robert Freund (21:06):
Yeah, I don’t care if it would go away for 10 grand. I’d rather pay a hundred grand to my team than give him a dollar. Oftentimes clients will change their tune after their first billing cycle and be more open to a settlement, but in this situation, we were able to get it dismissed. It took a while because courts were clogged up during COVID, but yeah, we got the claim dismissed.

Bob Simon (21:32):
Are these state court claims or federal that you’re dealing with?

Robert Freund (21:35):
That was a federal case in the southern district of California and it was [inaudible 00:21:41] false endorsement and false advertising claim, which is why…

Bob Simon (21:45):
See, Rob’s a smart guy. Bob’s are usually a little dumber. So that’s [inaudible 00:21:49].

Robert Freund (21:48):
I’m trying to break that stereotype. It’s a struggle though for me.

Bob Simon (21:53):
Yeah. Above my pay grade here, man. Yeah, so I think, did you ever think about just doing, thinking of lawyers as brands and being their kind of brand ambassador lawyer to help their journey through? Because I think it’d be pretty lucrative. Because I think a lot of these lawyers end up making a lot of coin.

Robert Freund (22:11):
Yeah, I mean it’s an interesting idea. I feel like there’s still some imposter syndrome. Anytime you get- think I have 20,000 followers on Instagram now. When I started Instagram, that number seemed unattainable, but then there’s levels to everything and you sort of always feel like you’re behind the next person. So I kind of feel like I need to be more legit before I offer that kind of service to somebody, but I’d be open to exploring that. I just haven’t really given that much thought in terms of [inaudible 00:22:43].

Bob Simon (22:42):
Yeah I actually find on Instagram the thing, the only thing that I care about, the metric is story views. Because I think that is where I see the most eyeballs. You could see who’s watching and that can kind of tailor based off that audience.

Robert Freund (22:54):
Yeah that’s true. That sort of shows you how many people are consistently looking at your stuff.

Bob Simon (22:58):
And who, like I can go. I actually try to be pretty granular in that kind of stuff.

Robert Freund (23:03):

Bob Simon (23:04):
But yeah, then it’s- because you’re always selling some kind of product. I mean, I always think you have to have, you’re doing a post, don’t just do it for some stupid reason. If you’re creating a funnel to get a specific type of case, make sure it’s worth and you know how to do it.

Robert Freund (23:18):

Bob Simon (23:19):

Robert Freund (23:19):
Yeah definitely.

Bob Simon (23:20):
So what do you do with those? Because you get so many probably outside your wheelhouse type issues or cases. Are you directing those somewhere else? Are you monetizing those? How are you doing it?

Robert Freund (23:31):
What I’m doing is I try to vet as much as I can, whether this is a client that I would want to refer to someone else or the other way to look at it, would I be happy to get this referral if I was someone else, or is this going to be a waste of time or obvious red flags, or some other disqualifier. If it’s a lead that I think could be a benefit to somebody, I have tried to build out my network so that I have somebody who practices in the areas that come up a lot for referrals that I can send to, some of those people I have referral agreements with, which is usually a win-win. Some people, I just know this person’s the expert and I like them and this is who I would want to handle my issue for me, and I’m able to direct them to those people. So it’s been a process of identifying people in different practice areas where I don’t have to waste time, but I can say, okay, you have this issue. This is the person, and I’ll make the intro.

Bob Simon (24:30):
Yeah. And I think what some lawyers are always afraid of is, at some point where you’re reaching a critical mass or you’re- I always think your general counsel for anybody that calls you or DMs, or whatever, and if you are able to direct them somewhere advantageous for them that does good work, a specialist, there’s no problem asking for a referral fee or a ref share. In California, it’s open to do those type of things. It just has to be in writing under rule 151. But I think a lot of people are hesitant about doing that. I’d like to say don’t be hesitant because you’re doing a service for everyone. You’re finding the client the best representation, you’re helping the lawyer because they’re not having to pay to find these types of clients.

You’re being intermarried for them. So it has value because you’ve created a book of business.

Robert Freund (25:12):

Bob Simon (25:12):
I mean, that’s accessory what it is. So for all your listeners out there, don’t be afraid to ask it. Don’t be too greedy. Don’t be crazy with it.

Robert Freund (25:19):
Right. Yeah you definitely shouldn’t be worried to ask. I mean, for many attorneys, the most difficult part of the business is marketing and getting those good leads. So if you’re helping somebody solve part of that, of course a referral fee is appropriate. Some firms are set up where I won’t ask because I know the answer’s going to be no, big law firms are not probably going to pay me referral fees. So it’s [inaudible 00:25:45].

Bob Simon (25:45):
That’s where you find somebody that just left that big law firm.

Robert Freund (25:47):
Exactly. That’s what I try [inaudible 00:25:50].

Bob Simon (25:49):
And I find that’s what then tends to be better because those people that leave big law, that start their own shop, like Eli, who we were talking- I actually hit him up. He just left his firm, thank God, but started a smaller firm. So it’s like he’s helping me with some stuff and it’s like at a price where- with the value, I’m not paying for big laws overhead, right. You’re paying for him.

Robert Freund (26:12):

Bob Simon (26:13):
I think that has significant value. So I try to steer people towards that direction rather [inaudible 00:26:17].

Robert Freund (26:17):
Yeah. Another benefit of building out a referral network of people who are experts that you trust is, I’ve heard from current clients of mine that one of the benefits they see in working with me is that I know specialists that are good when issues come up. They’ve told me, one of the things we like working about you is, let’s say I have an employment law question, you know someone who is good or I have a patent question, I don’t have to waste time trying to figure out or worry if this person’s good. You know someone and they’ve been consistently excellent, so.

Bob Simon (26:47):
Yeah, I think a lot of lawyers make the mistake of trying to do everything inhouse and trying to figure it out themselves, and that hurts everybody. The client has to pay, literally have to pay for your hourly, for you to learn this area.

Robert Freund (26:57):

Bob Simon (26:58):
Come on.

Robert Freund (26:59):
And it’s very risky. There’s insurance issues for you if you’re outside of the scope of what you do. It’s also just very stressful for me personally, if I’m going to attempt to dip my toes into an area that I have to learn, I mean, there’s enough new stuff you have to learn within your practice area to stay on top of it anyway. I don’t feel the desire to try to juggle another practice area.

Bob Simon (27:23):
So who are your favorite content folks on social, stuff that you like to see and follow that either inspires you or help you think of ways to create?

Robert Freund (27:36):
For entertainment value, Matt Margolis easily. He’s consistently funny everyday.

Bob Simon (27:44):
Again, just a lot of selfie videos is him at his computer.

Robert Freund (27:46):
Yeah. But his approach is interesting too because I found out about that platform that he promotes or works for Law Trades because I’ve followed his stuff. It’s funny. And then I think it was just in his bio, because I was like, what kind of lawyer is this? I clicked on his bio and it said something about Law Trades and I was like, this is actually a great platform and a solution that I was looking for at the time, so I hired somebody through there. So it’s a win. Him just being himself and being funny and putting out that sort of content actually did business development for his company. I’m trying to think of other legal influencers that I follow.

Bob Simon (28:26):
Yeah, obviously I think Alex Sue was great. Ashley Herd, her HR stuff is always on point. I always think it very funny. Because we do, I’ve run a bunch of companies and the HR stuff we have to deal with, I’m like holy shit. That’s funny.

Robert Freund (28:38):
Yeah, they’re both consistently great too.

Bob Simon (28:41):
Yeah. So first of all, how do people get ahold of you? You mentioned your website, but is it just best to go to your IG and drop into your DMs? What do you prefer?

Robert Freund (28:49):
Yeah, I see pretty much every DM on Instagram. I see DMs on Twitter or just email. Any of those works. I’m pretty on top of all of it.

Bob Simon (28:57):
Yeah, I’m so bad with Twitter these days. I haven’t been on in months.

Robert Freund (29:00):
The benefit for Twitter that I wish I knew earlier is that all the journalists live on Twitter, and the amount of earned media not asking for it, not working with a PR firm or anything that I’ve gotten in the last four months on Twitter is more press than I got in the last four years combined.

Bob Simon (29:17):
Fuck that’s awesome.

Robert Freund (29:18):
It’s been really incredible.

Bob Simon (29:20):
Yeah I saw you had a dual with Mr. Beast.

Robert Freund (29:22):
Yeah, I mean that was so funny because was I found that if you- like I mentioned in the beginning, if there’s a case that involves a celebrity, but there’s a lesson there that other brands or potential clients run into, it helps to discuss that as an example because people want to read about celebrities anyway.

Bob Simon (29:41):
Yep. And I also found that if you do it quickly, because people are search terming for that issue. It makes you hire the search term for that issue.

Robert Freund (29:48):
Right. The event I was talking about was ongoing, so it got picked up. But Mr. Beast, so many people either are rabid fans or they want him to just not exist anymore. So if you say anything about him, people are going to interpret it on one of the sides of the aisle. And people thought I was trying to cancel him and I was like, well no, he’s running a giveaway and there’s some things that you should pay attention to if you’re going to do something similar that he’s not doing.

Bob Simon (30:15):
Well educate our listeners on that. Generally or specifically, what is the giveaway and what are the takeaways of what we should be doing if we do those types of things? Because I do it sometimes too. We give away tickets to- we do [inaudible 00:30:28], we’ll give away tickets, bourbon proof. We do these things. So what are some ins and outs?

Robert Freund (30:31):
Sure. What Mr. Beast was doing was he was giving away, I think it was $50,000. It was either 10 or 50 grand on Instagram, and the deal was you had to share the post to enter, something like that. There are laws in almost every state, if not every state, that govern what you need to disclose. Some states have registration and bonding requirements. If you’re running a giveaway, that’s where the prize value is more than $5,000. A lot of states have record keeping requirements. There’s requirements that you have a set of official rules that include certain information and so on. And then the platforms themselves in their terms of service have specific requirements about what those rules need to say. You need to say- [inaudible 00:31:20].

Bob Simon (31:20):
I’m not afraid to post anything. I’m afraid.

Robert Freund (31:22):
It’s not burdensome. There’s just a lot to pay attention to or some stuff that’s worth paying attention to. And there have been cases where brands have found themselves in hot water from regulators or consumer class actions even over something they did wrong in the sweepstakes or giveaway process. And Mr. Beast, I think the reason that this happened was, most of the time it’s big creators partnering with some brand to give away a product like, hey, thanks Monster. We’re giving away 20 cases or something like that. And the brand understands maybe we should have legal look into what we have to do and they’ll work with maybe a service provider that will set up the registration and the terms and all that. This appeared to be Mr. Beast just giving away his own personal money. So I think it was probably just an innocent oversight.

He didn’t realize there’s rules to this stuff, but he didn’t include any of it. There were no official rules, there were no terms. He didn’t say how he was going to choose the winner, when they would be notified, eligibility or anything. And so I use that as an example of- because a lot of people will look to big accounts and assume they’re doing it right and then just copy that. Because oh, they did it, they must know what they’re doing. And so there’s risk there. So I was just bringing attention to the fact that, hey, you shouldn’t just copy what he does. Instead-

Bob Simon (32:40):
His best practices.

Robert Freund (32:41):
David Dorich almost always does it correctly when he gives away Teslas and stuff, but people thought that was me trying to stop Mr. Beast from giving away money, which was funny and actually very helpful for me because that- I think that post got half a million views or something and a bunch of press.

Bob Simon (32:59):
Yeah, I was thinking if you go on those polarizing folks handles or, I do some people’s Facebook pages for certain groups and I’ll just put a funny backhanded witty comment, and I get a lot of followers from that kind of stuff, by trollings, kind of trolling. [inaudible 00:33:13].

Robert Freund (33:13):
Yeah. Trolling can work, it’s a little riskier [inaudible 00:33:16].

Bob Simon (33:16):
Troll troll troll.

Robert Freund (33:17):

Bob Simon (33:17):
My wife hates it though because she feels like someone’s just going to ride up on her house and riddle it with bullets. It’s like look, if Honda Motor Corporation or Suzuki [inaudible 00:33:25] sue these folks. If they haven’t done it yet, we’re going to be totally fine.

Robert Freund (33:28):

Bob Simon (33:28):
Whatever. Well, all right, well, we’re about wrapping up here for this half hour. Rob, we want to appreciate you for coming on. Go to, click that tab if you want to have any other questions or practice areas you want to talk about. If you want to go ahold of Rob, you can either go to his handle or go to his website, which we mentioned or his handle at @Robfreundlaw?

Robert Freund (33:48):

Bob Simon (33:48):
Robertfreundlaw. Robertfreund, God damn it. See, we want full circle with the Robert situation. So thanks for listening everybody to this edition of the Justice Team podcast. And Rob, thank you.

Robert Freund (33:59):
Thank you.

Bob Simon (33:59):
Thank you. Crush the Monster Energy drink.

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