Lawyer Hires Internet Tough Guy to Silence Internet-Tough-Guy Lawyers

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Trying to get websites to take down pages that make you look bad is inherently problematic, but it’s even harder when your approach is to go around threatening lawyers who are well-known for not backing down in the face of threats. Florida lawyer Gary Ostrow apparently wanted to put some unfortunate things behind him, like this comical-if-it-weren’t-probably-unethical press release and some mentions of his brushes with the law.

In order to try to clean up his Internet reputation, Ostrow hired an Internet tough guy named Patrick Zarrelli, who spent yesterday threatening Mark Bennett, Scott Greenfield, Brian Tannebaum, and probably others. He’s spectacularly bad at it, and he’s just making things worse for Ostrow. For example, here is the voicemail he left with Tannebaum:

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Of course, Bennett, Greenfield, and Tannebaum just posted Zarrelli’s emails and voicemails — as they should — along with a healthy dose of their own posturing and now the blawgosphere smells like a high-school locker room and I can’t breathe.


Update. It turns out Ostrow is an Internet tough guy, too:

I have a feeling we’ll be hearing about this for a while.

2015-11-10. Apparently, according to TechDirt, Zarrelli has filed a criminal and/or a bar complaint against me:

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2015-11-30. It turns out Zarrelli did file an ethics complaint against Florida lawyer (and blogger and former podcast guest) Brian Tannebaum “and three other attorneys” (of which I assume I am one), but the Florida bar didn’t think it merited further investigation. Here’s the closeout letter:

2015-12-02. Oh look, I got one, too!

I’m sure the other lawyers mentioned above will be getting similar letters from their own state ethics boards. I probably won’t post them all here, but maybe Zarrelli will finally get tired of this after all his complaints have been ignored or rejected by the authorities.

2016-01-22. Zarrelli is a tenacious bugger, I’ll give him that. He resurrected a post on Reddit to take a swing at Keith Lee, and it turns out he is going around buying domains in order to try to ruin the reputations of those he believes have wronged him. has a nice fireplace or something, plus a “take down policy” page that, while blank, leads me to suspect I’m going to be offered a chance to take down the site if I do something for Zarrelli.

I’m in good company, at least. He’s also got (redirected to for some reason),,, and probably others.

(It should go without saying, but if you link to those websites you are playing into Zarrelli’s strategy. If you must link, include rel="nofollow" in the link HTML in order to prevent the “Google juice” from following the link.)

The saga continues …

Featured image: “Portrait of two smiling muscular men flexing biceps” from Shutterstock.


  1. Avatar Paul Spitz says:

    Probably a good idea to write out what you want to say, in case you get voicemail, rather than leave a rambling message that makes you look like a drunk moron!

  2. Avatar Malby says:

    Ostrow should be charged with a crime for murdering the English language.

  3. Avatar Mukushi Legal says:

    English is not going to be dead.

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